Trump threatens federal funding for Michigan over mail-in voting push

The president’s social media post — which was followed up by another message mentioning the official Twitter accounts for acting White House budget director Russ Vought, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and the Treasury Department — was in reference to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s announcement Tuesday that all of the state’s 7.7 million registered voters would be mailed absentee ballot applications.

Those applications would allow Michiganders to participate in the state’s August primary and November’s general election without fear of contracting the highly infectious disease which has endangered polling places and election workers across the country.

Responding to the president later Wednesday morning, the secretary tweeted that “I also have a name, it’s Jocelyn Benson,” and noted that her office “sent applications, not ballots” to Michigan voters. “Just like my GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia,” Benson, a Democrat, added.

A spokesperson for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, also a Democrat, did not immediately return a request for comment on Trump’s tweet.

Although numerous states have delayed their primary contests as a result of the ongoing public health crisis, Wisconsin controversially proceeded with its election on April 7 after the state Supreme Court blocked Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ last-minute executive order postponing in-person voting.

At least three dozen Wisconsin voters and poll workers have since tested positive for Covid-19, state health officials reported late last month.

Still, Trump has fought fiercely in recent weeks against efforts to expand mail-in voting, suggesting that such a shift in ballot-casting practices would yield unfavorable electoral results for the Republican Party and result in widespread corruption at the polls.

Although election experts acknowledge there are slightly higher levels of voter fraud perpetrated through mail-in voting than in-person voting, they agree overall cases of voter fraud are rare and that local officials can take steps to thwart illegal activity.