As Trump continues to attack the United States Postal Service, his campaign is sending out absentee ballot request forms. The irony is not lost on voters.
In North Carolina, a certain group of voters received absentee ballot request forms in the mail with United States President Donald Trump's face plastered all over them. This would not be newsworthy had Trump not dedicated the past few weeks to defaming mail-in voting and the United States Postal Service (USPS). According to officials from the Trump campaign, absentee ballots are markedly different from voting by mail, but the irony is not lost on the state's voters. While more voters receive the absentee ballot request forms, clearly a way to rope in more Republicans to vote for the incumbent President, the USPS continues to face several challenges.
While Trump is railing against vote by mail, his campaign sends out absentee ballot request forms here in NC. (Something he complained about that governments in some states were doing) pic.twitter.com/48TIBRgVog— tay (@Taylor_Leanne2) August 12, 2020
John Herter, a resident of North Carolina, is only one of many Republican voters who did not expect to receive an absentee ballot request form in the mail with Trump's face on it. "Is this a joke?" He asked his wife as he opened up the mailer, Herter told CNN. The mailer read in bold font, "Are you going to let the Democrats silence you? Act now to stand with President Trump." He is not the only one to receive such a form. Chandler Carranza, who was also mailed a similar form, said he laughed when he opened it. "The irony is very thick and definitely not lost on me," the voter shared. "Trump has been saying mail-in ballots will bring fraud to the election but absentee ballots are legit. Which is it? It can't be both ways. I laughed because if the campaign actually took information from other times they have reached out to me, they'd know I won't vote for Trump despite being a registered Republican."
Got my mail in absentee ballot request form from @realDonaldTrump that will allow me to mail in my vote if I need to... but I can’t remember if this is a good thing or bad thing. Mail in is bad but absentee is good??? 🙄🙄🙄 pic.twitter.com/fbdgiq4hwc— Chandler Carranza (@ChandlerC226) August 13, 2020
However, Trump campaigners have argued that absentee ballots could not be more different from voting by mail. Thea McDonald, the administration's deputy national press secretary, claimed the mailer simply shows the campaign "is working to ensure voters in every state know how their state's sorting system works so that every eligible voter can cast their ballot and have their vote counted." She alleged, "President Trump has consistently and rightly said that where a voter cannot make it to the polls, they should request an absentee ballot. The President has also correctly distinguished between chaos-ridden universal mail-in voting systems, like the one that led to California's train wreck primary, and traditional absentee mail voting systems, like the tried and true system in North Carolina—a distinction Democrats and many in the mainstream media purposely ignore to sow confusion." North Carolina Republican Party press secretary Tim Wigginton also stood by this statement.
Voters, nonetheless, are not convinced. President Trump has spent the last few weeks raining down harsh criticism against mail-in voting and the USPS both. Though the pandemic has admittedly led to higher than usual levels of voting by mail, Trump himself has posed several funding and logistical challenges to the system, arguing that the process is rife with fraud and abuse - claims which have been debunked by several fact-checking organizations on multiple occasions. Additionally, the USPS has released numerous letters warning of slowdowns in delivery in nearly every state. These delays could cause ballots to show up late and not be counted. Democrats are thus ramping up their investigation into the matter and, as per CNN's source, could forbid the Postal Service from changing sorting devices, prevent the closure of facilities, and stop any effort to end overtime pay or change the timing of mail delivery.
In the meantime, Republican voters continue to receive absentee ballot request forms with Trump's grinning face on them. For Taylor Alexander, the irony was laughable. "My initial reaction was that I was kind of shocked, and laughed because of the irony of it, because Trump had been railing against mail-in voting, but here his party was, promoting it, and sending out an absentee ballot request form," she said. "I think it's ridiculous that the funding is being cut and processes are being changed in the post office. People's life-saving medication are days late, bills aren't being paid on time, and all for what? It's rigging the election."