During President Donald Trump’s town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday, the 45th president revealed that he would embrace early voting and legal ballot harvesting in 2024.
Democrats have aggressively used early and mail-in voting, and ballot harvesting, since the Covid-19 pandemic began, resulting in wins for candidates like Joe Biden and Katie Hobbs who did minimal campaigning.
Hannity commented on Republicans’ reluctance to embrace early voting, mail-in voting, and ballot harvesting, which he said “Democrats have mastered, which is why they can hide in their basement, run hundreds of millions of dollars in ads, and never answer a press question, or shake a hand, or kiss a baby, or do a town hall.”
“Do you now encourage and embrace early and voting by mail, and legal ballot harvesting?” he asked Trump.
“I do, but I also have to say something else because the one thing a lot of people—including you—don’t talk about: they also create phony ballots, and that’s a real problem,” Trump responded.
Democrats have embraced early and mail-in voting, as well as ballot harvesting, during the last two election cycles. Many have speculated that this led to Republicans’ narrow losses in states like Arizona or Nevada in 2022, of which Democrats had been casting ballots in the months leading up to the election, while most Republicans voted on Election Day.
Issues such as long lines and broken voting machines, such as the case in Arizona, could have played a role in the GOP’s losses in states they were expected to win, as Election Day shenanigans may have constituted voter suppression.
In 2020, 58 percent of Biden voters voted by mail or absentee, according to Pew Research Center, while just 38 percent of Trump voters voted absentee or by mail, which gave Democrats a major leg up over Republicans before Election Day.
Hannity reiterated that Republicans have been down hundreds of thousands of votes before Election Day during the last two election cycles due to Democrats’ early voting tactics, urging Trump to use these tactics himself in 2024.
Trump went on to accuse Democrats of trying to “cheat” by not supporting in-person voting with “voter ID,” suggesting that mail-in and early voting give them the opportunity to create “phony ballots.”
“For some reason, Republicans always wanted to go out on Tuesday and they wanted to vote, and I respect that. I think it’s great, and it would be great if we could get back to one day,” Trump responded, “with voter ID.”
Trump continued, “[Democrats] don’t want voter ID because they want to cheat. Even the Democrats—regular Democrat people want voter ID, but the leaders don’t because they can’t cheat.”
Trump added that he would be okay with using ballot harvesting and early voting to combat the Democrats in 2024, and promised to encourage his supporters to utilize early and mail-in voting, but cautioned that Republican ballots would still “get lost” because the country has “very corrupt elections.”
“A lot of bad things happen to those ballots also. They’re sent in early, and all of a sudden where are they?” said Trump.
“We have very corrupt elections. We have no borders. If you don’t have borders, and if you don’t have good elections, you don’t have a country, and that’s where we are, but I’m okay with it,” he added.