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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.

Go deeper

Special report on virus-era voting: Prepare for unprecedented threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With rare, if not unprecedented, agreement, President Trump, Joe Biden, intelligence officials and Big Tech CEOs are all warning of threats to accurate and trusted vote counts before, on and after election day. 

American elections face a triple threat in 2020: 

  • Foreign governmentsespecially Russia, China and Iran — are actively spreading misinformation via social platforms.

Trump's final days: Sweepstakes on who'll get fired

President Trump was enraged by a Wall Street Journal scoop that Attorney General Bill Barr worked "for months" during the campaign to conceal the federal investigation of Hunter Biden.

The state of play: The president is re-exploring options for replacing Barr, and Saturday morning tweeted this rebuke: "Why didn’t Bill Barr reveal the truth to the public, before the Election, about Hunter Biden[?]"

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Why we struggle with the election expectations game

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Joe Biden appears close to an electoral win that will likely be narrower than election forecasts projected, and the initial sense that he underperformed expectations, which were themselves off base, could color his election and perhaps his presidency.

The big picture: We can't help but judge events based on whether they exceed or fall short of our expectations for them — but those expectations often aren't grounded in reality.