While President Donald Trump has continuously railed against voting by mail, a Republican National Committee robocall in April voiced by his daughter-in-law Lara Trump said voting by mail could be done “safely and securely.”
The call was sent in support of Republican Mike Garcia in California’s 25th US House District special election, the race for the seat previously held by Democratic Rep. Katie Hill. California’s election was done almost entirely by mail after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in March that required every voter to be mailed a ballot.
It was one of three RNC robocalls identified by CNN’s KFile in which Lara Trump and the President’s son Donald Trump Jr. urged voters to vote by mail in special elections since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic
“Nancy Pelosi and liberal Democrats are counting on you to sit on the sidelines this election, but you can prove them wrong. You can safely and securely vote for Mike Garcia by returning your mail in ballot by May 12,” Lara Trump said in the April robocall following a disclaimer it was sponsored by the Republican National Committee. Garcia went on to win the special election, defeating Democratic State Assemblywoman Christy Smith.
A copy of the call was found by CNN’s KFile archived on the website of Nomorobo, an application that blocks robocalls and also tracks them online.
“He’s counting on you to return your ballot by Election Day, Tuesday, May 12. Don’t let him down. Remember your mail-in ballot is arriving soon. Make your vote count for Mike Garcia and get it in the mail by Tuesday, May 12,” Lara Trump adds in the call.
Since March, the President has continuously opposed efforts to increase voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic while making false claims that mail-in voting is rife with fraud. He repeatedly also alleged, without evidence, Democrats were trying to rig the special election in California by adding an additional in-person voting location for Election Day.
As recently as Friday, he tweeted, “Mail-In Ballots will lead to massive electoral fraud and a rigged 2020 Election.”
Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens told CNN’s KFile in an email on Monday the RNC was against Democratic attempts to eliminate “existing safeguards,” saying that automatically mailing ballots to voters would result in inactive and dead voters receiving ballots.
“We want every eligible voter to vote, which is why we register thousands of voters every month and encourage them to vote lawfully. What we have consistently opposed are Democrats’ attempts to eliminate existing safeguards and automatically mail ballots to inactive voters, including people who have died or moved away,” he said.
Democrats and Republicans are engaged in heated legal battles around the rules for mail-in voting, fighting over everything from voter rolls to the rules for verifying ballots. For instance, the RNC and other groups sued California in May saying that an order from Newsom mailing absentee ballots to all voters ahead of the 2020 general election would lead to fraud because inactive voters automatically receive ballots, which “invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting.”
California codified vote-by-mail for November into law in June, but ensured that inactive voters would not receive ballots.
Multiple studies have confirmed that there is no widespread voter fraud in this country, and millions of Americans vote by mail each year without systemic problems.
Lara Trump’s robocall was not the only pitch from a member of the Trump family urging vote-by-mail in the May California special election. In a separate call also sponsored by the RNC, Donald Trump Jr. urged voters to mail in their ballot for Garcia.
“Don’t let us down, remember to return your ballot now. Make your vote count for Republican Mike Garcia and get it in the mail by Tuesday, May 12,” Trump Jr. says.
Additionally, in another robocall in late June, again sponsored by the RNC, Lara Trump urged New Yorkers to vote by mail for Chris Jacobs, who was running to replace New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins, the first sitting congressman to endorse Donald Trump in 2016 who resigned last year before pleading guilty to federal charges in an insider trading case.
“Don’t wait, return your ballot now, make your vote count for Republican Chris Jacobs and get your ballot in the mail by Monday, June 22,” Lara Trump said.