Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak: Trump’s Threat to Withhold Funds over Mail-in Voting ‘Outrageous’

Clark County Commission member and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, center, votes in a primary election Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Las Vegas. Sisolak and Christina Giunchigliani, each hoping to be Nevada's first Democratic governor in two decades. Both candidates have pledged to stand up to Trump and the National …
AP Photo/John Locher

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) on Wednesday afternoon responded to President Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal funding over his state’s vote-by-mail plan, calling his warning both “inappropriate and outrageous.”

“Nevada is widely recognized as being a national leader in election administration, and we will continue to support the safest, most accessible election possible under these unprecedented circumstances,” wrote on social media.

“For the President to threaten federal funding in the midst of a pandemic over a state exercising its authority to run elections in a safe and legal manner is inappropriate and outrageous,” he added.

Earlier Wednesday, President Trump said Nevada’s mail-in voting plan for the upcoming primary election was “illegal.”

“State of Nevada ‘thinks’ that they can send out illegal vote by mail ballots, creating a great Voter Fraud scenario for the State and the U.S. They can’t! If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State. Sorry, but you must not cheat in elections,” the president tweeted.

Earlier May, a federal judge ruled against blocking state’s vote-by-mail primary in a previous ruling due to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to Nevada, President Trump also threatened to pull funding away from Michigan over its mailing absentee ballot applications for its upcoming election in August and November.

“Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” the president wrote.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced Tuesday that all Michigan voters will receive an application to vote by mail, citing possible health concerns stemming from the pandemic.

“By mailing applications, we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote,” Benson said. “Voting by mail is easy, convenient, safe, and secure, and every voter in Michigan has the right to do it.”

“We appreciate that some clerks are proactively protecting public health by mailing applications to all their registered voters, and we are fulfilling our responsibility to provide all voters equal access,” the Michigan official continued. “We know from the elections that took place this month that during the pandemic Michiganders want to safely vote.”

The Michigan Department of State’s Bureau of Elections will send voters a letter containing instructions on how to vote via mail and require applicants to mail back a signed application. Conversely, voters can email a photo of their signature to a local election clerk.

“The vast majority of voters across the political spectrum want the option to vote by mail,” added Benson. “Mailing applications to all registered voters is one of the ways that we are ensuring Michigan’s elections will continue to be safe, accurate, and secure.”

Presently, roughly 1.3 million Michigan voters out of the state’s 7.7 million registered voters are on the permanent absent voter list.

Recent data has not shown a compelling public health justification for vote-by-mail. Wisconsin is one of the only U.S. states that held its primary election with in-person voting after the nation’s coronavirus lockdowns began. Only a few dozen people at maximum were confirmed to have contracted the virus after participating either as voters or poll workers, and none of those cases were fatal. Out of the 413,000 participants, that equals an infection rate below two-hundredths of one percent. Just days later, South Korea held national elections which did not result in any new coronavirus cases.

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