US President Donald Trump has said that universal mail-in voting would be “catastrophic” and make the country “a laughing stock”, in his latest opposition to postal balloting, the media reported on Sunday.
Addressing the media on Saturday evening, the President said he had no issue with absentee voting, which he himself uses, reports the BBC.
“Universal mail-in voting is going to be catastrophic, it’s going to make our country the laughing stock of the world.
“The problem with the mail-in voting, number one, is you’re never going to know when the election is over,” he said.
The President further said that the result of November’s vote might not be known “for months or for years, because these ballots are going to be lost, they’re going to be gone”.
He also blamed the Democrats for failing to reach a deal on funding for the US Postal Service (USPS).
He has previously told Fox News he was blocking additional funding for the financially troubled agency, because he opposes mail-in voting.
“Now they need that money in order to make the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots.
“Now, if we don’t make a deal, that means they don’t get the money. That means they can’t have universal mail-in voting, they just can’t have it,” the BBC quoted the President as saying.
Trump’s remarks came after the USPS, which currently carries about $160 billion in debt, sent letters to states across the country, notifying them of possible delays in the delivery of mail-in ballots, which will result in the not counting of those votes in the November 3 presidential election.
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The letter was sent late last month to as many as 46 states and Washington, D.C., warning them that “certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards”, Xinhua news agency reported.
The warnings came at a time when the USPS found itself in a dire financial situation, and a sweeping organizational overhaul by Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy for deliberately increasing mail wait times and sabotaging mail-in voting.
The President on August 14 threatened to block additional funding for the USPS backed by the Democrats, citing his opposition to mail-in ballots.
In the $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed in the House in May, $25 billion were appropriated for the USPS.
The bill also included $3.6 billion in election funding to address the sudden shift to mail-in voting and early in-person voting due to the pandemic.
Democrats have strongly criticised the President’s stance towards the USPS, with veteran party members Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer accusing Trump of “sabotage tactics”, the BBC reported.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, meanwhile, has sought to reassure voters, tweeting on Friday: “Voting by mail is safe and secure. And don’t take my word for it: Take it from the President, who just requested his mail-in ballot for the Florida primary on Tuesday.”