President Trump on Wednesday morning threatened to withhold federal funds to Michigan and Nevada if the states proceed in expanding vote by mail efforts, an escalation in his often fact-challenged assault against mail voting.
Posting on Twitter, the president falsely accused Michigan's Democratic secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, of mailing ballots to all of the state's registered voters. Ms. Benson had announced Tuesday that she would send absentee ballot applications to the state's voters, not ballots themselves, replicating an effort that elections officials across the country have made during the pandemic.
Ms. Benson said on Twitter on Wednesday that the state had "sent applications, not ballots. Just like my G.O.P. colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia."
Georgia's Republican secretary of state and municipal officials in Milwaukee have also said they will send vote-by-mail applications to registered voters in hopes of easing stress on in-person voting locations.
Mr. Trump's threat came as severe flooding struck central Michigan on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of thousands of residents and raising fears of virus risks in shelters after two dams were breached and days of heavy rainfall.
The failures on Tuesday of the Edenville Dam and the Sanford Dam, about 140 miles northwest of Detroit, led the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood warning for areas near the Tittabawassee River. Residents in nearby towns, including Edenville, Sanford and Midland, were evacuated.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said at a news conference on Tuesday that downtown Midland, with a population of more than 41,000, could be under nine feet of water by Wednesday morning.
While imploring residents to take the threat seriously and evacuate immediately, Ms. Whitmer said they should continue to observe precautions related to the coronavirus, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. She acknowledged that distancing would be difficult in shelters that had been set up in the area.
There have been at least 52,337 cases of coronavirus in Michigan, and at least 5,017 people have died.
"To go through this in the midst of a global pandemic is almost unthinkable," she said. "But we are here, and to the best of our ability we are going to navigate this together."
New York Times, May 20, 2020
May 20, 2020
Voices4America Post Script. #SOBinWH threatens Michigan as floods endanger its citizens. Michigan which is Blue is mailing ballot applications, just as Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia which are Red are doing. He Has also threaded Nevada which is taking action to give voters a chance to vote and is a possible Blue State. #RememberInNovember #VotingRights4RedorBlue