As Trump attacks mail ballots, Republicans see their own prospects damaged

Trump attacks voring by mailThe U.S. president’s unsubstantiated attacks on mail voting as vulnerable to fraud have soured many of his supporters on this alternative to in-person balloting as coronavirus sweeps the country, more than two dozen Republican officials from six politically competitive states told Reuters. Democratic voters, meanwhile, are embracing mail ballots at rates well ahead of their Republican counterparts, according to data from recent state and local elections.

The trend has alarmed them, the Republican officials said. They worry Democrats will bank significantly more mail votes by November, a deficit that may be tough to overcome if the pandemic depresses turnout on Election Day.

Fearful of losing the White House and getting thumped in down-ballot races, party operatives quietly are taking matters into their own hands. Local Republican candidates are recording phone messages promoting mail balloting as safe and reliable, officials said, while volunteer door knockers have memorized talking points to persuade skeptical voters that their state’s system is fraud-proof.