Sep 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Jimmy Carter says he's used absentee ballots for more than five years

Jimmy Carter stands at a podium

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in Plains, Georgia on April 28, 2019. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter released a statement in support of absentee ballots on Thursday, saying that he has "been using them for more than five years."

Driving the news: Attorney General Bill Barr in a CNN interview on Wednesday referenced a 2005 report from the Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by Carter, that said absentee ballots "remain the largest source of potential voter fraud," to argue that concerns about mail-in voting predate President Trump's push against it.

  • Barr also said in the interview that the Justice Department had indicted someone in Texas for collecting 1,700 ballots and using them to vote, which was inaccurate, a DOJ spokesperson later confirmed to the Washington Post.

What they're saying: The former president addressed the 2005 report in his May endorsement of mail-in ballots, the Carter Center said Thursday.

  • The report "found that where safeguards for ballot integrity are in place — for example in Oregon, where the entire state has voted by mail since 1998 — there was little evidence of voter fraud," the Center said.

The big picture: Election experts say there's a good chance the presidential race won't be decided on election night, and could drag on for days or more, because so many people plan to vote by mail to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

  • States that allow mail-in voting generally have a wide variety of security measures in place, including requirements that people request ballots with personal information like driver's license numbers.

The bottom line: Trump has made unsubstantiated claims suggesting that mail-in voting leads to widespread voter fraud.

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