Florida officials encourage voting by mail while Trump denounces it

As President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to use his bully pulpit to criticize the use of mail-in ballots in the 2020 elections, election officials in his home state of Florida are sending a much different message than the President, openly encouraging voters to cast their vote by mail.

"Consider requesting a vote-by-mail ballot," the Sarasota County, Florida Supervisor of Elections office tweeted on Tuesday just a few minutes after the President again denounced mail-in voting.

"If you haven't requested #VoteByMail for the upcoming elections yet, we're making it really easy!" tweeted Craig Latimer, the Supervisor of Elections in Hillsborough County, Florida.

"Vote from home this fall!" the Orange County, Florida Supervisor of Elections office tweeted last Friday. "Request your vote-by-mail ballot today."

"Do something patriotic to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice," tweeted Jennifer Edwards, the Supervisor of Elections in Collier County, Florida. "Request your Vote-by-Mail ballot."

Vote-by-Mail in Florida - which is the same as Absentee-by-mail in other states - accounted for 2.7 million of the over 9 million votes cast in the 2016 elections by Florida voters, and has been highly encouraged by leaders of both parties in the state.

"We figured out how to do it in a safe manner," said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) Sunday on CNN's State of the Union.

But while President Trump uses Vote-by-Mail in Florida, he has repeatedly charged using the mail for voting is susceptible to election fraud.

"There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent," the President tweeted on Tuesday.

The most recent high profile example of fraud involving mail-in absentee ballots was in 2018 in North Carolina, where a Republican victory for the U.S. House was overturned after evidence of fraud involving a man hired by the GOP candidate.

In 2018, Republicans - led by President Trump - made repeated claims of possible election fraud in Florida as the votes were counted after Election Day - but a recent investigation found no evidence of vote tampering.

Only five states have all vote-by-mail elections - Colorado, Hawaii, Utah, Oregon and Washington State - but most states have expanded their absentee-by-mail voting options in 2020 because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

President Trump signed into law a bill which included $400 million to help states prepare for increased numbers of mail-in ballots, but he has said he would block any additional funding for that purpose.

A federal government report said that in 2016, 23.7 percent were cast using by mail absentee voting - that should increase dramatically this year.

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