Arizona, Michigan GOP ask voters to mail in ballots and use drop boxes as candidates and officials blast the practice
The Arizona and Michigan state Republican Parties are calling voters urging them to return their ballots by mail or to drop boxes in those battleground states, despite their candidates promoting false claims that such practices are rife for voter fraud.
Calls to voters’ phones in the last week from both state parties have urged voters to take advantage of early voting and make sure to return their ballots by the appropriate deadlines, as did a call from Arizona Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake on the behalf of a ballot initiative.
Both states are considered battlegrounds with tight races in Arizona for governor and Senate and in Michigan for the governorship and multiple competitive US House seats as Republicans seek to take back control of that chamber. In one day, the calls combined were made to nearly a million different cell phones, according to data from the anti-robo tracking company NoMoRobo.
Gustavo Portela, the communications director for the Michigan Republican Party, said the call was part of their “absentee chase program,” calling it “something the party has done for decades and will continue to do because we believe in reminding Republican voters who pulled absentee ballots they should return them and have their voices heard in the midterm elections.”
The Arizona Republican Party and Lake did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
The Arizona Republican Party sent calls to voters’ cell phones asking them to return mail-in ballots after the group lost a lawsuit over the summer that sought to end no excuse for mail-in voting in the state – the most popular and widely-used form of voting in the state.
“Please vote Republican from top to bottom in every race as soon as your ballot arrives and return it by mail or drop it off in person at an early voting center starting Wednesday, October 12,” the Arizona call says. “The longer you wait, the more time Democrats have to build up a lead. Do not rest your vote by waiting to return their ballot.”
Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, has baselessly suggested voting by mail is insecure and said the practices should only be used by the military or disabled voters.
“Security of elections far outweighs convenience,” she wrote in a tweet. “All mail in voting is a recipe for abuse, fraud, and the loss of election integrity,” she said in another.
There is no widespread voter fraud in US elections and there are safeguards in place to prevent fraud. In Arizona, even sham audits have shown President Joe Biden did indeed beat then-President Donald Trump in the state.
Similarly, Lake, who has endorsed vote-by-mail conspiracy theories and said the 2020 election was stolen and that Biden is “illegitimate,” voiced a call on the behalf of Arizonians for Voter ID asking voters to return their mail-in ballots.
“By mail or on November 8,” Lake says. “Join me, Kari Lake, in voting yes on Proposition 309.” Proposition 309 would increase voter identification requirements for both mail-in ballots and in-person voting.
On Twitter in September, Lake endorsed a claim from Trump’s spokeswoman that Democrats rig American elections using mail-in ballots.
In Michigan, multiple calls from the state party ask voters to return their ballots either by mail or at drop boxes – two voting methods regularly decried by some of the Republicans who are on the ballot.
“You can return your ballot in person at your local clerk’s office or return through the postal service or deliver it to a drop box,” the call in Michigan says.
Tudor Dixon, the party’s nominee for governor, says on her campaign page she wants to ban drop boxes and has called for reforming vote by mail.
Kristina Karamo, the secretary of state nominee, is also part of the America First Secretary of State Coalition, a group of election deniers seeking state election posts who have made election conspiracies the centerpiece of their platform. Arizona secretary of state nominee Mark Finchem is also a member of that coalition.
The group’s platform calls to eliminate mail voting, implement an “aggressive voter roll clean-up” and move to single-day voting.