TRUMP has accused Democrats in California of trying to 'steal another election' after it was announced that mail-in ballots are to be sent to every registered voter in the state.
The president's latest outburst comes before a small, but significant election on Tuesday to replace former Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill in the state's 25th Congressional District, called CA25.
The mailing ballots also precede November's presidential election which has taken a back seat to the coronavirus, which has drawn heavy criticism of Trump's leadership.
California Governor Gavin Newsom (Dem) announced Friday that the state will also send every voter a mail-in ballot for the November presidential election.
California is the first state to create a widespread mail-in ballot plan for the presidential election.
Health officials have also warned that there could be a coronavirus resurgence around the time when voters would be heading to the polls in November.
Mail-in ballots are now seen as the safest way to vote as they allow for social distancing and those in isolation, or who are vulnerable or unable to reach a polling station on a Tuesday, to have their say given the ongoing pandemic that has ravaged the US.
California is still under stay-at-home orders so Newsom said sending postage-paid ballots was the best solution to addressing the anxiety felt by many people about gathering in large groups that are breeding grounds for the virus.
"There’s a lot of excitement around this November’s election in terms of making sure that you can conduct yourself in a safe way, and make sure your health is protected." Newsom said, according to SF Gate.
For the CA25 election, Newsom has mandated all-mail voting.
Focused on the upcoming congressional election, Trump kicked off by alleging that Democrats have somehow rigged it.
He provided no evidence to back his claims.
Trump wrote: "So in California, the Democrats, who fought like crazy to get all mail-in only ballots, and succeeded, have just opened a voting booth in the most Democrat area in the State.
"They are trying to steal another election. It’s all rigged out there. These votes must not count. SCAM!"
Trump has previously been a harsh skeptic of mail-in voting in spite of recently using it himself.
He previously said "a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting", again, without any evidence.
Historically, and in spite of multiple investigations, there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud through mail-in voting. In the state's March primary, more than 75 per cent of California voters received a vote-by-mail ballot too.
Trump continued his Twitter tirade to announce his formal endorsement of US House candidate Mike Garcia, who will facing off against Democratic candidate Christy Smith for Hill's Congress seat.
Trump then ironically encouraged his supporters to mail-in ballots, but warned to "check that they are counted."
"Mike has my complete & total endorsement. We need him badly in Washington. A great fighter pilot & hero, & a brilliant Annapolis grad, Mike will never let you down. Mail-in ballots, & check that they are counted" he wrote.
20 minutes later Trump retweeted Garcia's Twitter attack against Democrats, who he said tried to change the rules by reportedly opening a polling booth after advocating for mail-in ballots.
Garcia wrote: "[Christy Smith] and her liberal Dem allies didn’t say anything for weeks even though the polling places were in full view of the public.
"Even after every voter received a ballot, they are desperate and trying to change the rules to steal an election. We can’t let them succeed!!"
Then he all caps tweets "Transition to greatness!".
Trump seemed to summarize his grievances by tweeting "CA25 is a Rigged Election" before taking a swing at Newsom.
"Governor [Gavin Newsom] of California won’t let restaurants, beaches and stores open, but he installs a voting both system in a highly Democrat area (supposed to be mail in ballots only) because our great candidate, [Mike Garcia], is winning by a lot." he wrote.
Christy Smith later engaged in the twitter flap saying: "This president doesn’t want a majority African American, Latino community to vote"
"Is this the official position of his chosen candidate [Mike Garcia]? In CA we believe in expansive voting rights. We also believe in states’ rights. Why don’t you Mr. President?"
Under Newsom's latest move, in-person voting places will remain available for those who might need them. Strict social distancing measures would be used at those locations.
Newsom's decision was praised by Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who said there is "no safer way to exercise your right to vote than from the safety and convenience of your own home.
"But the prospect of mailing more than 20 million ballots to voters was already raising the possibility of a courtroom fight."
The decision sets up a potential legal showdown over California's presidential election, as the move has been criticized by national Republicans as a pathway to possible large-scale abuse.
The Republican National Committee said its reviewing its "legal options to ensure the integrity of the election."
Jessica Millan Patterson, who heads the California Republican Party, pointed to problems with voting rolls and the so-called "motor voter" program to register new voters.
While generally deemed the safest move, the full mail-in ballot is a huge undertaking and has logistical issues to overcome.
Newsom said in a statement that mail-in ballots "aren´t a perfect solution for every person" and he hoped election officials and health experts would continue to "create safer in-person opportunities for Californians who aren´t able to vote by mail."
A state audit last year identified technical difficulties that led to hundreds of thousands of discrepancies in voter registrations sent to the Secretary of State.
However none of the discrepancies in roughly 3million voter records reviewed by auditors resulted in major voter registration errors, such as allowing someone to vote who should not have been allowed to cast a ballot, as Trump has repeatedly claimed.
But the audit only examined a set of registrations between April and September 2018 and did not rule out the possibility of major errors in other registrations.
With the move to statewide mail-in ballots, California hopes to avoid the problems that plagued last month's Wisconsin presidential primary, where thousands of voters without protective gear were forced to wait for hours in long lines, while thousands more stayed home to avoid the potential health risks.
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