Biden campaign calls on GOP to drop lawsuits over mail ballots, citing Trump's new fondness for it

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FILE - A person drops off a vote-by-mail ballot at a dropbox in Pioneer Square during primary voting on May 21, 2024, in Portland, Ore. The Biden campaign is calling on the Republican National Committee and Trump campaign to drop their many lawsuits around the country targeting mail voting.(AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

DENVER – President Joe Biden's reelection campaign on Thursday called on top Republicans to drop litigation seeking to curtail aspects of mail balloting now that Donald Trump has begun to embrace the method.

Trump for years falsely claimed voting by mail was riddled with fraud, but his 2024 campaign began a program this month to encourage mail voting if convenient for people. It is part of Republicans' attempt to increase mail voting among their supporters.

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At the same time, the Republican National Committee, newly under the former president's control, has sued or joined lawsuits seeking to limit certain aspects of mail voting. That includes laws in some states, including Nevada, that allow late-arriving mailed ballots to be counted as long as they are sent by Election Day.

“If Donald Trump is serious about finally recognizing that mail voting is a great option for voters to utilize this November, he should demand the RNC and his MAGA allies drop every one of these lawsuits throughout the country,” Biden's campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, said in a statement, referring to Trump's “Make America Great Again” movement.

Republicans said there is no contradiction between supporting mail voting and suing to make it more secure. In their Nevada challenges, they contended that the state’s procedures for counting mail ballots received after Election Day opened the door to possible fraud.

“Democrats are playing dumb about a very simple concept: We support mail voting, but we also support safeguards to make mail voting secure,” said Danielle Alvarez, a spokeswoman for the RNC and the Trump campaign. “It's really not hard: The left should stop its assault on the foundation of our election system and accept that Americans don't agree with their extreme attempts to make voting less secure.”

The Biden campaign noted that in the weeks before Trump announced a “Swamp the Vote” campaign to encourage voting by mail, the RNC filed two lawsuits attacking that method in Nevada, a pivotal swing state. One challenged the ability of Nevada — and any state — to accept ballots that arrive after Election Day; the second targeted Nevada's acceptance of mail ballots lacking a postmark for up to three days after Election Day.

The litigation follows an RNC case seeking to prohibit Mississippi from accepting post-Election Day mail ballots, as well as several other cases in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump's lies regarding mail ballots were a centerpiece of his false claims that voter fraud cost him the 2020 election, a falsehood that helped spur the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Since then Republicans have added new restrictions to mail balloting in several states.

Trump also has taken direct control of the RNC, appointing his daughter-in-law Lara Trump as its co-chair along with a North Carolina Republican who echoed the former president's false claims of fraud in 2020.

Before Trump's attacks, GOP voters cast mail ballots at comparable rates to Democrats, but since 2020 they have fallen sharply behind. Many Republican operatives have expressed frustration at Trump's criticism because it is considered an advantage for campaigns to get supporters to vote early.

That is part of what pushed Trump to embrace mail balloting, though it has been a contradictory effort. He still falsely claims that mail ballot fraud cost him reelection against Democrat Joe Biden.

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