After 2020 fraud claims, Donald Trump requests mail ballot in local election

By Hannah Morse
The Palm Beach Post/TNS

PALM BEACH, Fla. - Former President Donald Trump is set to fulfill his civic duty as a private citizen and vote in the town of Palm Beach's municipal election.

Despite his false claims about mail voting during the 2020 election cycle, Trump requested a mail ballot on Friday for the third time in his Palm Beach County voter history.

The request was made nearly a week after the deadline to have a ballot be sent by mail. Mail ballots can be requested through Tuesday but must be picked up in person by the voter or a designee.

It is likely that Trump had an associate pick up the ballot in person on his behalf, as he did for the presidential primary last March and for the August primary.

Trump's ballot had not been recorded as counted as of noon Monday. Former first lady Melania Trump had not requested a mail ballot. She had opted to vote on Election Day in November at the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center in Palm Beach.

At least 140 of the voters in Trump's precinct had returned their mail ballots to the Supervisor of Elections Office as of noon Monday. More than 41,000 voters in 19 municipalities across Palm Beach County had cast their mail ballots ahead of Tuesday's election.

Casting a ballot by mail remains popular as the coronavirus pandemic hits the one-year mark. Palm Beach County elections chief Wendy Sartory Link said that as of Friday, her office issued 126,136 mail ballots, more than one-third of the 349,099 residents who are eligible to vote in the municipal elections.

While running for reelection last year, Trump blasted universal vote-by-mail, where elections offices automatically mail ballots to registered voters.

When a Florida voter requests a mail ballot, the request "covers all elections through the end of the calendar year for the second ensuing regularly scheduled general election," unless specified otherwise, according to the state's Division of Elections.

In an August tweet, Trump lauded Florida's vote-by-mail system.

“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!” Trump wrote.

In the weeks following the November election, Trump and his team would file, and judges would dismiss, dozens of lawsuits that attempted to challenge the results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and other states over claims of voter fraud.

The former president has voted in person only once as a Palm Beach voter, casting his ballot at the Summit Boulevard library across the street from his West Palm Beach golf club during the early voting period in October for the general election. He was the first incumbent president to vote in person as a Florida resident.

"It was very secure, much more secure than when you send in a ballot," Trump told reporters after voting on Oct. 24.

"When you send in your ballot, it could never be like that," he added.

The Trumps changed their residence from New York to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in October 2019. The town's attorney last month said it was likely Trump could maintain his Palm Beach club as his residence because he could be considered an employee.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrivie at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 20, 2021.