Though they repeat the false claim that voting by mail invites rampant fraud, President Donald Trump and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany may have both cast illegal mail-in ballots in Florida.
The president and his top spokesperson have both listed residential addresses on their Florida voter registration cards which were not their legal residences, HuffPost recently reported. Punishable by up to five years in prison, it is a felony in Florida to use false information on voter registration forms.
McEnany cast votes in 2018 from her parents’ address in Tampa, Fla., according to the report. The Republican owned a home less than two miles away, and she also lived in Washington at the time. The same year, McEnany’s car registration and driver’s license were linked to an address in Edgewater, N.J. The state only grants those documents to people who prove residency.
Trump’s press secretary has voted by mail in every Florida election in which she has participated — 11 times in the last decade.
Trump, who views Florida as a critical swing state, announced last November that he would change his official residential address to Mar-a-Lago, citing “tax purposes.” He cast his ballot under that address in the state’s March presidential primary, voting by mail even though he reportedly drove by a polling place in person at least six times that month.
“It’s illegal,” Reginald Stambaugh, a Palm Beach County lawyer currently involved in a dispute with Trump over a dock the president recently tried to build at Mar-a-Lago, told HuffPost.
According to the report, Trump tried to vote last fall as a Floridian while claiming 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. as his residence. Palm Beach County elections officials rejected his registration, because the White House is outside of the county.
Trump subsequently filed a new registration listing his residence at Mar-a-Lago, affirming with a signature that it was true. (“I live in Manhattan,” Trump told governors in a conference call last week.)
However, Trump and the town of Palm Beach reached an agreement in 1993 allowing him to turn his Mar-a-Lago estate into a club in return for his promise to never live there, as the Washington Post reported last month.
Florida law does not allow residents to register to vote from a place of business. It states that registered voters must be “Florida residents,” and one of the documents that can be provided as proof is a state driver’s license.
Though she worked in Washington, McEnany told a Tampa radio station last summer that she traveled back to Tampa “pretty much every weekend.” She changed her legal residence to her own address in 2019.
The press secretary has nonetheless sided with Trump’s false claims that proposals to expand mail-in voting will “substantially” increase voter fraud and result in a “rigged election.” Those false claims led Twitter to flag the president’s tweets with a fact-check label for the first time.
“Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed,” Trump wrote in one of the flagged tweets.
McEnany vilified mail-in ballots in tweets of her own one week prior.
“Will the media, and @Twitter, acknowledge these real concerns with mass mail-in voting?” she asked, claiming in one tweet that the practice necessarily leads to “ballot harvesting.”
She kept up her attacks on the practice even after reports revealed she had cast mail-in ballots for a decade. “They are subject to fraud, and that is extremely troubling,” she said at a White House press briefing last week.
McEnany defended her personal choice as necessary.
“Absentee voting has the word absent in it for a reason: It means you’re absent from the jurisdiction or unable to vote in person,” she told the Tampa Bay Times last month, after the outlet broke news of her mail-in voting record.
She defended the president’s choice the same way, claiming that “the president is, after all, the president, which means he’s here in Washington. He’s unable to cast his vote down in Florida, his state of residence.”
(Trump, of course, was in his Florida voter precinct when polls were open.)
However, Florida does not have “absentee voting.” Any registered voter can cast a mail-in ballot without having to provide a reason.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared to come to McEnany’s defense by comparing voting on Election Day to waiting in line at Georgetown Cupcake. Conway cast her New Jersey 2018 midterm ballot by mail.
Salon recently reported that RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who claimed in April that mail-in votes “vastly expand opportunities for fraud,” repeatedly voted by mail before suing California for expanding that very practice.
An extensive voter fraud investigation in Florida ended in May with zero prosecutions.