In apparent reversal, Trump encourages Floridians to vote by mail

After repeatedly seeking to discredit mail-in voting, President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed Florida’s election system is “safe and secure” and encourages Floridians to vote by mail.

This comes days after Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said on a Trump campaign conference call that he had no concerns about mail-in voting in his state.

“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail! MAGA,” he tweeted.

The President has recently begun laying the groundwork for the doubt and suspicion he could cast on election results if counting mail-in ballots — which are expected to be more widely used as a result of the pandemic — ultimately delays the declaration of a winner.

“I want to have the election. But I also don’t want to have to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing and the election doesn’t mean anything. That’s what’s going to happen,” Trump said at a Thursday news conference, during which he also called vote-by-mail a “disaster” and argued people should have to cast their votes in person.

“Mail-in ballots will lead to the greatest fraud,” he said, without evidence.

But some administration officials and Republican allies have expressed frustration at Trump’s rhetoric behind closed doors — acknowledging that mail-in voting will likely be necessary and perhaps even helpful for the President in some places.

“We’ve been doing it a long time. I can’t speak for every state, I mean there are some states that are automatically mailing everybody a ballot, but our system is well established, it’s been used for a long time, we’ve frankly never had issues with it generally speaking,” Rubio told reporters on Monday.

Asked if he was the concerned the President’s rhetoric about mail in voting will discourage his constituents, Rubio said: “I don’t think it will discourage them from voting. I know they might just end up voting on Election Day. That’s what we saw in 2016.”