White House chief of staff Mark Meadows argued for more than 20 minutes with host Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday over the viability of "universal" mail-in voting, arguing that states that are sending ballots to all registered voters are "just asking for a disaster."

Why it matters: The issue of mail-in voting during the pandemic has quickly become one of the most contentious debates in U.S. politics, especially in light of recent operational changes made to the U.S. Postal Service that have caused widespread delays and backlogs.

  • President Trump and others in the administration have led a campaign to undermine the credibility of universal mail-in voting ahead the election, though they have repeatedly said they have no problem with absentee ballots.
  • Fraud from mail-in voting has historically been rare, according to the Brennan Center. Oregon — a state that votes primarily by mail — has documented only about a dozen cases of fraud out of more than 100 million ballots since 2000.

Driving the news: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump last week received their absentee ballots to vote in Florida. The White House and Trump campaign argue that absentee ballots and mail-in voting are different, but election experts say there is no real distinction.

Key exchange:

MEADOWS: "The problem that we have here is that a lot of people are looking at just sending out ballots. California is sending out ballots. When they just send out ballots, my home state of North Carolina —"
TAPPER: "California already did that for about 75% of its population. Now it's 100%. But Utah has done it for years. Oregon has done it for years. Washington has done it for years. Now there are four states that are adding to the sending out ballots to every registered voter. I understand that that's a concern that you're claiming. "
MEADOWS: "Isn't it a concern to you? Do you realize how inaccurate the voter rolls are with just people just moving around? Let alone the people that die off. But sending ballots out based on a voter roll registration? Any time you move, you change your driver's license but you don't call up and say, by the way, I'm reregistering for -- "
TAPPER: "But there's no evidence of widespread voter fraud. "
MEADOWS: "There's no evidence that there's not either. That's the definition of fraud, Jake."

What to watch: Meadows suggested that the White House would be open to passing a standalone bill — separate from coronavirus stimulus negotiations — to fund the U.S. Postal Service.

Go deeper: The 2020 election will be like no other because of mail-in voting

Go deeper

Judge extends deadline for Wisconsin ballots postmarked by Election Day

A polling location in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Photo: DEREK R. HENKLE/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Wisconsin on Monday extended the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots until up to six days after the Nov. 3 election if they are postmarked by Election Day, AP reports.

Why it matters: The ruling, unless overturned, "means that the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin likely will not be known for days after polls close," according to AP.

N.C. election officials agree to accept absentee ballots a week after Election Day

Absentee ballot election workers work on ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images

The North Carolina State Board of Elections on Tuesday announced it will tentatively count mail-in ballots received by Nov. 12 — up to nine days after the election — so long as they're postmarked on or before Election Day.

Why it matters: If approved by the court, the agreement — which settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees — could see scores of additional votes counted in the crucial battleground state.

FBI: Foreign actors likely to sow disinformation about delays in election results

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released a public service announcement on Tuesday warning that mail-in ballots "could leave officials with incomplete results on election night," and that foreign actors are likely to spread disinformation about the delays.

The bottom line: The agencies called on the public to "critically evaluate the sources of the information they consume and to seek out reliable and verified information from trusted sources," including state and local election officials.

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