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Attorney General William Barr repeated the false claim on Wednesday that foreign countries could manipulate mail-in ballots during the 2020 election and create widespread voter fraud.
Barr refused to cite any evidence when asked to back up his claims.
“You’ve said you’re worried a foreign country could send thousands of fake ballots” to US voters, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said to Barr. “What are you basing that on?”
“As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m basing that on logic,” the attorney general replied.
“Pardon?” Blitzer asked.
“Logic,” Barr said.
“But have you seen any evidence?” Blitzer pressed.
“No,” Barr responded.
This isn’t the first time the attorney general has floated the theory that hostile foreign powers could interfere in the election by mass producing counterfeit ballots.
In a June interview with The New York Times magazine, Barr said the idea was “one of the issues that I’m real worried about.” He added, “There are a number of foreign countries that could easily make counterfeit ballots, put names on them, send them in,” and that “it’d be very hard to sort out what’s happening.”
But as Insider’s Grace Panetta reported, it’s very unlikely that foreign countries could interfere with the mail-in voting process for several reasons.
Election administration in the US is not centralised, meaning there is no single national ballot that a foreign state could replicate and send to voters. Moreover, as Panetta wrote, most ballots and the envelopes they’re mailed in are difficult to mimic because they contain specific information about barcodes, precincts, and voter ID numbers.
Last week, senior government officials said the US intelligence community has found no evidence of foreign interference with mail ballots.
“We have no information or intelligence that any nation or state actor is engaging in any kind of activity to undermine any part of the mail-in vote or ballots,” a senior federal official told reporters at a Wednesday briefing, according to The Washington Post.
Nonpartisan experts and multiple studies have seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and millions of Americans vote by mail every year.
Trump and many of his top staff and family members have voted by mail or tried to in recent years. And the president’s campaign and Republican officials are also quietly encouraging absentee and mail-in voting amid fears that the president’s claims will hurt Republicans by depressing turnout among his own voters.
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