Kayleigh McEnany voted by mail 11 times in 10 years, but claims mail-in ballots invite rampant fraud

McEnany has been trying to undermine the process she has chosen in every Florida election she has voted in.

Published May 27, 2020 10:51PM (EDT)

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Though she defends President Donald Trump's false claims that mail-in ballots invite widespread fraud, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has voted by mail 11 times in the last 10 years.

McEnany, who like President Donald Trump is a resident of Florida, has cast ballots by mail in every election in the state in which she has participated, according to the Tampa Bay Times. That tally includes the March 2020 Republican primary, in which Trump also voted by mail.

The press secretary has nonetheless attempted to defend Trump's false claims that proposals to expand mail-in voting will "substantially" increase voter fraud and result in a "rigged election."

Those false claims led Twitter to flag the president's tweets with fact-check labels for the first time.

"Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed," Trump said in one of the flagged tweets.

The week before, McEnany vilified mail-in ballots in a Twitter thread of her own.

"Will the media, and @Twitter, acknowledge these real concerns with mass mail-in voting?" she asked, claiming in one tweet that the practice necessarily leads to "ballot harvesting."

However, McEnany defended the president's personal choice to cast a mail ballot, saying that "the president is, after all, the president, which means he's here in Washington. He's unable to cast his vote down in Florida, his state of residence."

(Trump, however, was actually in his Florida voter precinct when polls were open.)

McEnany attempted to explained her own record in a similar fashion, telling The Times in a statement that "absentee voting has the word absent in it for a reason. It means you're absent from the jurisdiction or unable to vote in person."

However, The Times pointed out that Florida does not actually have absentee voting. Any registered voter can cast a mail-in ballot without having to provide a reason.

An extensive voter fraud investigation in Florida ended with zero prosecutions last week.

Despite what is essentially a complete evidentiary absence of wrongdoing, Trump and Republican allies have gone all-in on their efforts to suppress voter turnout, focusing heavily on restricting access to mail-in ballots.

White House counsel Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday appeared to come to McEnany's defense, comparing voting on Election Day to waiting in line at Georgetown Cupcake.

Trump demanded earlier this month that votes in a heavily-black California precinct "must not count." In what was seen as posing an "existential threat" to mail-in voting, the president also forced out the top official at the U.S. Postal Service.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel claimed in April that mail-in votes "vastly expand opportunities for fraud." Fox News host Tucker Carlson said a vote by mail expansion would "destroy Democracy" only one week later.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has led even red states to expand vote by mail options. A federal judge in Texas ruled last week that the pandemic justifies allowing all voters in the state to apply to vote by mail, saying that the "Grim Reaper's scepter of death" is "far more serious than an unsupported fear of voter fraud."

Trump has sowed doubt about the voting process for years, falsely claiming that 2 to 3 million illegal votes had been cast in California after he lost the 2016 popular vote by 3 million ballots.

Trump gave the game away in a March 31 interview on "Fox & Friends" when he claimed that increased voter access would mean "you'd never have another Republican elected in this country again." Two months later, Republicans began a campaign to recruit 50,000 volunteers to police the polls for fraud in November.

Voter fraud is exceedingly rare, as well as not nearly as pervasive as Trump has suggested. However, the coronavirus pandemic might play into the GOP's hands. There are already hints that turnout could be exceedingly low in some pockets of the country, especially among heavily minority populations.

By Roger Sollenberger

Roger Sollenberger was a staff writer at Salon (2020-21). Follow him on Twitter @SollenbergerRC.

MORE FROM Roger Sollenberger

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Brief Donald Trump Kayleigh Mcenany Mail Voting Republicans Voter Supression