Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen and numerous aides of President Donald Trump voted by mail, according to election records obtained by the Associated Press. In recent weeks, the administration has continued to push debunked conspiracy theories about the practice.
Pence and his wife voted earlier this year using their old address at the Indiana governor's mansion, Business Insider first reported. The couple voted using the address when they submitted their absentee ballots in the state's June primary, even though they have not lived there since December 2016.
A spokesperson for Pence said the governor's mansion remains their "legally correct" address.
And they're not alone. According to the AP, multiple other administration and campaign officials have voted by mail, as well.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has permanent absentee voting status in Michigan, according to the outlet. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale voted absentee in Texas in 2018, though he did not vote in the 2016 general election when Trump was on the ballot.
Michael Glassner, the chief operating officer of the campaign, and Bill Stepien, the deputy campaign manager, have repeatedly voted by mail in New Jersey, according to the report. And senior adviser Nick Ayers, Pence's former chief of staff, has repeatedly voted by mail in Georgia.
There is nothing suspicious about absentee voting, which is already the primary method used in five states and open to everyone in most others. But Trump has repeatedly pushed baseless conspiracy theories alleging that mail voting is rife with fraud and favors Democrats, despite no evidence to support those claims.
"These are people who are taking advantage of — which is perfectly legal — their right to vote absentee," former John McCain presidential campaign aide Trevor Potter, who now runs the Campaign Legal Center, told the AP. "But they don't want other people to do the same thing."
Trump, of course, voted by mail himself in Florida earlier this year. He claimed that absentee voting is OK if you're "sick" or "you're away." But Trump voted by mail even though he had ample opportunity to cast his primary ballot in person during his trip to Florida in March.
Attorney General William Barr, who has repeated Trump's evidence-free conspiracy theories, voted by mail in Virginia in 2012 and 2019, according to The Washington Post.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who has echoed Trump's false claims about mail voting, voted by mail 11 times in 10 years, according to her voting records.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway also voted by mail in the 2018 midterms.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, which is leading a lawsuit against California over the state's mail voting expansion, has also repeatedly voted by mail, according to her voting records.
Despite the administration's extensive record in casting absentee ballots, Trump has demanded that states limit the practice as he faces a double-digit deficit in the polls.
Trump falsely claimed on Monday that "millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries" and that mail voting would "lead to a rigged election," even though one in four ballots were already cast by mail in 2016.
"There's simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail causes fraud," Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said. "None."
Trump acknowledged last week that he viewed mail voting as the "biggest risk" to his re-election chances.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge questioned why Trump would stoke conspiracy theories rather than urge his own supporters to vote by mail amid a pandemic.
"You're the incumbent president of the United States. You have a bully pulpit, you've got this massive war chest and you've got a huge electronic following," he told the AP. "Why would you not encourage them to vote, number one, and say, 'Well, if you can't get to the polls for whatever reason, make sure you fill out that absentee ballot and vote for me?'"