Donald Trump requested a mail-in ballot for Palm Beach county’s municipal election in Florida earlier this week, despite a long record of attacks against what he has labeled a “fraudulent” voting method.
The local election marked the third instance of the former president voting by mail since changing his residency from New York to Florida in October 2019.
Trump’s private resort and club, Mar-a-Lago, is in Palm Beach and he flew there from the White House on his last day in office on 20 January, before his successor, Joe Biden, was even inaugurated.
His latest action further undermines the talking point, advanced by him and others, that mail-in ballots cost him the November election.
The local election took place in Palm Beach county on Tuesday and that same day Trump was cited as being in New York, according to Getty Images. So he reportedly voted by mail instead of in person in Florida.
In July last year during the presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic, Trump tweeted: “With Universal Mail-In Voting, 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA.”
But during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, it was clear voters would choose an alternative to in-person voting, and the number of voters by mail soared.
The November election was ultimately described by officials at all levels as the most secure in US history.
There was a particular surge of mail-in voters in swing states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where the system was not used before, and which Trump ultimately lost.
The Trump administration made several attempts to undermine the presidential election through limiting postal service for mail-in ballots to reach counting centers in time, as well as challenged several states in lawsuits over election results.
But apart from his own voting habits, Trump has also been contradictory in his pronouncements.
He encouraged other Floridians to vote by mail, tweeting last summer: “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!”
Trump, of course, has since been banned from Twitter by the social media platform.
Meanwhile, Trump joined at least 126,000 voters in Palm Beach county who requested mail-in ballots as of last Friday for the local election, more than one-third of eligible voters, according to the Palm Beach Post. Trump’s ballot was received and counted Tuesday.
The Palm Beach Post reported that, last year, almost 42% of the 212,914 Palm Beach county voters cast a ballot by mail for the presidential primary elections, and that number “skyrocketed” as the general election neared.
When asked about the apparent contradictions, Trump has implied Republican-led states with existing mail-in voting systems were secure, while Democratic-led states establishing or expanding mail-in systems were not.