Ohioans receiving mixed messages about voting by mail

A flyer mailed by the Ohio Republican Party touts absentee voting by President Trump, despite his attacks on mail-in voting.
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 8:51 PM EDT
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SWANTON, Ohio (WTVG) - Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about the operations of the U.S. postal service, voters across the country are tasked with a presidential election this year, and wondering how they’ll be doing their civic duty.

Mark Pahl is just one voter, who received a flyer in the mail he found to be pretty ironic.

The flyer, sent by the Ohio Republican Party, reads: “Join President Trump and vote absentee ballot!”

On the bottom, a quote from the president is included: “I will be an absentee voter. We have a lot of absentee voters. It works, so we are in favor of absentee.” That quote is also dated on the document from July 30th, 2020.

Also on the 30th, at a White House news conference, President Trump said mail-in voting would make voter fraud easier. “This election will be the most rigged election in history if that happens.”

Pahl emailed his concern to the station, simply telling us, he’s confused by the messaging, given President Trump’s other comments on voting by mail.

“I work in long-term care, and we have residents in our skilled nursing facilities who have always voted absentee, and it’s worked in the past,” explains Pahl. “Now we obviously have the COVID pandemic and with everything that’s going on I don’t understand why he’s against it.”

The mailer also came with two tear-off applications to receive an absentee ballot, which Pahl says he and his mother both applied for.

Local marketing expert BJ Fischer says mailing such advertisements is very common for political campaign staffs to do, but does not come across as persuasive when the message contradicts their own candidate.

“Both parties try to get people to vote early that’s just solid fundamental politics,” says Fischer. “You want those votes in the bank, that makes total sense, but if you’re going to turn around and then have the president giving an opposite message, you could have people who don’t vote by mail because they heard it was bad.”

To keep voters safe, especially those who are still avoiding exposure to the coronavirus, more and more states are looking to expand their vote-by-mail options.

The postal service warning at least 46 states, including Ohio, that mail-in ballots may not be returned in time to be counted.

For more information about voting absentee in Lucas County, click here.

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.

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