Trump threatens funding after Michigan absentee ballot move

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WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he wants to hold up coronavirus funding for Michigan, saying erroneously that the state had mailed absentee ballots to millions of voters.

Michigan used federal coronavirus relief funding to mail applications for absentee ballots, not the ballots themselves.

Shortly after Trump's tweet, Michigan's Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson responded correcting the president saying the state sent out applications for absentee ballots.

She added that it is the same thing her GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia are doing.

The application comes with instructions and voters just need to mail it back to their local clerk to receive their ballot for the election.

Trump has been vocal in his opposition to voting by mail.

He claims the practice is ripe for fraud even though there is scant evidence of wrongdoing with mail-in votes.

Trump says he'll ask aides about holding up the funding, though it's unclear what authority he has to do so.  

Up in Midland today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded to the president's tweets.

"To see Twitter this morning and to see rhetoric like that is disheartening because I think at first it shows you that there maybe was a lack of understanding of what the secretary of state was doing," Whitmer said. "She said we're going to mail applications, not mail ballots, mail applications. I would appreciate any federal partnership that wants to stay focused on solving problems and not get into politics. We gotta take politics out of this."

In an earlier Coronavirus relief bill, Congress included $400 million dollars to go toward election funding.

The application is also available online at Michigan.gov/vote where voters can also opt in to always have the option to vote by mail.

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5/20/2020 9:19:52 AM (GMT -4:00)