WASHINGTON (WR) — In an abrupt reversal, President Donald Trump now’s encouraging voters within the crucial swing state of Florida to vote by mail after months of criticizing the follow, and solely days after threatening to sue Nevada over a brand new vote-by-mail regulation.

His encouragement follows a surge in Democratic requests to vote for mail in Florida, a state that Trump virtually actually should win to safe a second time period. Democrats at present have about 1.9 million Floridians signed as much as vote by mail this November, virtually 600,000 greater than the Republicans’ 1.Three million, based on the Florida Secretary of State.

In 2016, either side had about 1.Three million signed up earlier than the final election.

“Whether or not you name it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Protected and Safe, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats makes an attempt at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Poll & Vote by Mail!,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.

White Home press secretary Kayleigh McEnany rejected the notion that the president has modified his views. She mentioned he helps absentee voting by mail for a purpose, versus states mailing out ballots to all voters no matter whether or not they requested them. Most election officers say there’s little efficient distinction between absentee voting and voting by mail.

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Trump elaborated on why he helps voting by mail in Florida, however not elsewhere.

“They’ve been doing this over a few years they usually’ve made it actually terrific,” Trump mentioned.

“This took years to do,” he added. “This doesn’t take weeks or months. Within the case of Nevada, they’re going to be voting in a matter of weeks. And you’ll’t do this.”

But Florida hardly has a historical past of flawless elections, most notably in 2000 when the state’s disputed vote depend needed to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court docket, delivering the presidency to George W. Bush over Al Gore.

Trump cited a New York race for example of what can go unsuitable, claiming nobody might know the winner. In that race, a choose dominated Monday that about 1,000 disputed ballots must be counted. That may probably not have an effect on the end result because the incumbent, longtime Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney is main her closest challenger by about 3,700 votes.

“I believe they must do the election over. That election is not any good,” Trump mentioned.

Extra voters throughout this yr’s major elections opted to vote by mail, and several other states relaxed restrictions for voting absentee via the mail. Trump himself voted by mail within the Florida major earlier this yr.

5 states have relied on mail-in ballots since even earlier than the coronavirus pandemic raised issues about voting in particular person, however there isn’t any proof to help Trump’s assertion that voting by mail results in widespread fraud.

Trump has gone as far as to counsel by tweet that the November election must be delayed “till folks can correctly, securely and safely vote.”

States that use mail-in votes completely say they’ve needed safeguards in place to make sure that a hostile international actor doesn’t disrupt the vote. Election safety specialists say voter fraud is uncommon in all types of balloting, together with by mail.

With Florida’s massive retirement inhabitants, voting by mail is predicted to grow to be a extra standard choice this November. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was requested Saturday if he had issues concerning the choice. “No, I’m not involved about mail-in voting in Florida,” he mentioned tersely.

Florida GOP officers welcomed Trump’s tweet.

“Thanks for the clarification Mr President! That is very useful,” mentioned Joe Gruters, the chair of Florida’s Republican Occasion. “Florida will ship you the 29 electoral votes!”

Florida is taken into account a must-win state for Trump’s reelection prospects. Its presidential contests are often shut, with Trump successful by simply 1.2 proportion factors in 2016, and George W. Bush successful Florida by simply 537 votes in 2000.

Nevada lawmakers have lately handed a invoice that might add the state to a rising checklist of U.S. states mailing lively voters ballots forward of the November election.

The invoice, which was handed Sunday, was signed into regulation Monday by Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat. Nevada joins seven states that plan on mechanically sending voters mail ballots, together with California and Vermont, which moved earlier this summer time to undertake computerized mail poll insurance policies.

Trump known as the invoice’s passage “an unlawful late night time coup” in a tweet Monday morning. He accused Sisolak of exploiting COVID-19 to make sure votes in Nevada would favor Democrats.

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Related Press writers Bobby Caina Calvan in Tallahassee, Florida, and Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.