Despite Trump’s criticism, Republicans also count on mail-in voting: NPR

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A voter in Delray Beach, Florida during last month’s primary elections. More voters are expected to request postal ballots for the August primary and November general elections.

Lynne Sladky / AP

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Lynne Sladky / AP

A voter in Delray Beach, Florida during last month’s primary elections. More voters are expected to request postal ballots for the August primary and November general elections.

Lynne Sladky / AP

With an election year pandemic, postal ballots can become an increasingly popular means of voting, especially in states like Florida that allow any voter to use them.

While these newsletters accounted for almost 1 in 4 of all newsletters tabled in 2018, President Trump said this week that he was not in favor of expanding the practice during the current health crisis, even if he had used one himself during his vote (probably for himself) in the Florida presidential primary last month.

Trump said in a White House coronavirus briefing on Tuesday that “I think postal voting is a terrible thing” and followed the next day with several tweets calling on Republicans to oppose mail voting at statewide, claiming without evidence that the practice had harmed. GOP candidates and was susceptible to widespread fraud.

“At least in Florida, I think he’s a bit misguided,” said Mac Stipanovich, a longtime Republican strategist in Florida who recently left the GOP because of Trump. Postal ballots have also been a key tool in other Republican-friendly states such as Arizona and Utah.

For over 40 years, Stipanovich has helped Republicans win campaigns and dominate Florida politics. “The absentee ballots,” he said, “are generally friends of Republicans in Florida.”

In 2002, Florida began allowing anyone who asked for a mail-in ballot to receive one, said Stipanovich, a Republican strategist and campaign managers who immediately kissed them.

“People have recognized that it is a gold mine that you can … control. He says campaign strategists could “determine who got the ballots, contact them” [and] try to make sure they got their ballot. ”

A woman wearing a mask and protective gloves leaves after voting in the Florida Democratic primary election in Miami last month. Postal voting is becoming more popular in Florida and should be more so in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Eva Marie Uzcategui / AFP via Getty Images

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Eva Marie Uzcategui / AFP via Getty Images

A woman wearing a mask and protective gloves leaves after voting in the Florida Democratic primary election in Miami last month. Postal voting is becoming more popular in Florida and should be more so in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Eva Marie Uzcategui / AFP via Getty Images

In Florida, a state divided almost equally between Republicans, Democrats and independents, elections are often decided by the narrowest margins. In many races, local and national, postal ballots provided Republican candidates with the votes to win.

For many years, it was the Republicans who pushed the vote by mail, said Daniel Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Florida, who studied the use of postal voting in the state.

“Their electorate happens to be on average older than the Democrats, happens to be better off. It turns out that he has a more permanent residence in terms of a less transient and less mobile population, which makes it easier to deliver and return absentee ballots, “said Smith. .

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