trump barr pence mcenany split
Lemon lays out times Trump admin has used mail-in ballots
06:09 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Attorney General William Barr dismissed the possibility of a predominantly mail-in election being secure, echoing a stance promoted by President Donald Trump and dismissed by nonpartisan election experts.

When asked during an interview with NPR if he thought an election conducted mainly by mail could be secure, Barr said, “Personally, no.”

“We just mailed out checks under this program. And what is it? I heard something like 20% or something were misdirected,” Barr said, referring to a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday that stated more than $1 billion in stimulus funding was sent to people who are deceased.

The process for mailing absentee ballots and stimulus checks differs in key ways. The stimulus checks were sent automatically to people who had direct deposit information on file with the US Treasury and those who didn’t have that information on file were sent their checks in the mail. Absentee ballots are not simply sent to individual voters; most people who vote by mail have to apply to vote absentee before receiving a ballot.

“I know things can happen like that,” Barr added when asked if he thought the same thing could happen with mail-in ballots. “Because I know people move, a very high percentage in the United States, people move all the time. And I also know that you can easily take things out of mailboxes.”

There are also not widespread reports of individuals removing absentee ballots from mailboxes, as Barr suggested was possible.

Barr’s comments come as public health experts in Trump’s own administration have encouraged voting by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic and in the absence of any evidence of widespread or rampant fraud in US elections.

The President has claimed, without evidence, that there is systemic cheating with mail-in ballots and has made false accusations against states that are expanding absentee and mail-in options, despite voting by mail himself. Numerous studies suggest that voter fraud is all but nonexistent in the US, and the President’s own voter fraud commission disbanded without finding any evidence to back up his claims.

The most blatant recent example of voter fraud happened in another swing state, North Carolina, when in 2018 a Republican operative working for a GOP House candidate was accused and later indicted of illegally collecting absentee ballots. The election was investigated and thrown out, prompting a special election in 2019.

Barr said his concerns are not about limited mail-in voting but instead the scale required for a general election.

“I’m not talking about a mail-in ballot for a limited number of cases where somebody, you know, is going to be traveling around the world, and the way that the state has provided for that is, you mail in your ballot,” he said. “I’m talking about a comprehensive rule where all the ballots are essentially mail-in, and there’s so many occasions for fraud there that cannot be policed.”

Barr added, “I think it would be very bad. But one of the things I mentioned was the possibility of counterfeiting.”

When asked whether he had evidence to support that specific concern, Barr replied, “No, it’s obvious.”

“Why do you think we go to the problems we do in crafting single dollar bills?” he said, adding, “because, make it hard to counterfeit.”

When pressed on whether mail-in ballots did not go through similar vetting procedures, Barr said that “they’re pretty primitive.”

CNN’s Michael Warren, Manu Raju and Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.