Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

People wait to cast their votes at a polling station in Santa Clarita, California on May 12, 2020. (Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

"He Doesn't Want You to Vote": Trump Threatens to Block Funding to Michigan for Sending Absentee Ballot Forms to All Voters Amid Covid-19

"Blackmailing states to prevent them from holding a fair election in November."

Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning threatened to block federal funding to Michigan over the state's decision to send absentee ballot applications to all 7.7 million registered voters to ensure they can vote in August and November elections without risking the spread of Covid-19.

"Breaking: Michigan sends absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election," Trump tweeted. "This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!"

In a follow-up tweet, Trump tagged the U.S. Treasury Department, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Office of Management and Budget acting director Russ Vought.

Critics noted that while withholding funds in such a way would likely be illegal, the president's threat shows the lengths to which he is willing to go to stop an expansion of voting rights and ballot access amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has already killed nearly 5,000 Michiganders. Trump has repeatedly voiced opposition to mail-in voting—for everyone but himself—and warned that expanding it would mean "you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again."

"Michigan wants to help people vote safely, so they're sending absentee ballot applications to every voter there," tweeted advocacy group Swing Left. "This is legal. Trump just doesn't like it because he doesn't want you to vote."

Sean Eldridge, founder and president of advocacy group Stand Up Amerca, said in a statement that "these attacks on mail-in voting by Donald Trump are not only inaccurate, they are incredibly dangerous."

"By trafficking in debunked conspiracy theories and lying about the impact of voting by mail, Trump is clearly attempting to undermine our elections and suppress the vote in the middle of a pandemic," said Eldridge. "Americans should not be forced to risk their lives to cast their ballots—and Congress must intervene immediately."

On Tuesday, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that all of the state's registered voters will receive absentee ballot applications in the mail ahead of the state's August congressional primaries and the November general election.

"By mailing applications we have ensured that no Michigander has to choose between their health and their right to vote," said Benson.

The Washington Post's Abby Phillips pointed out that Trump's tweet misrepresents Benson's decision.

"The president is wrong here: Michigan is not sending absentee ballots to all voters in the general—just applications," Phillips tweeted. "Other Republicans secretaries of state have done this already for upcoming primaries, but the real concern for Trump here is what happens in November."

This story has been updated to include comment from Stand Up America.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

UN Agency Condemns 'Homophobic and Racist' Monkeypox Reporting

"Stigma hurts everyone," says one ranking UNAIDS official. "Shared science and social solidarity help everyone."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Tax the Rich,' Say Millionaire Activists Protesting at Davos Amid Record Wealth, Inequality

"As someone who has enjoyed the benefits of wealth my whole life I know how skewed our economy is and I cannot continue to sit back and wait for someone, somewhere, to do something," said one demonstrator.

Brett Wilkins ·


Rights Group Urges Civilian Safeguards as Biden Sends Troops Back to Somalia

"A culture of impunity for civilian loss breeds resentment and mistrust among the population and undermines efforts to build a more rights-respecting state," Human Rights Watch's regional director asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·


Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·


Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo