President Trump raged on Wednesday that he wants "all voting to stop." But emails obtained by The Daily Beast and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed Friday that it was Republican Party officials in Wisconsin who have allegedly been urging their volunteers to call Pennsylvanians and implore them to send in late — and therefore illegal — votes. "That would be exactly what the president and his campaign are accusing Democrats of doing," one legal expert observed to The Daily Beast.
The email was sent by a group called Kenosha For Trump around 5 p.m. on Thursday. "Trump Victory urgently needs volunteers to make phone calls to Pennsylvania Trump supporters to return their absentee ballots," the email read. The scheme seemed aimed to take advantage of a ruling in the state that said absentee ballots received by 5 p.m. on Friday must be counted — so long as they were properly postmarked by Election Day.
"[B]allots received by that point without postmarks, or with illegible postmarks, will be considered to have been mailed in time 'unless a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that it was mailed after Election Day,'" the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, adding that "in Pennsylvania, postage is prepaid on some ballot envelopes. These prepaid envelopes are not automatically postmarked." The idea appeared to be to slip votes through by the Friday deadline in order to swing margins in the state back in Trump's favor, although Ben Geffen, an attorney at the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia, mused to The Daily Beast, "I wonder if they’re doing this in hopes of slipping one through and then waving it around as an example of the flawed process."
Either way, experts agreed the plan was exceedingly dumb. "This seems deeply stupid as it seems to be a solicitation to commit voter fraud," Richard Hasen, an elections law specialist, told the Journal Sentinel. "It's hard to believe this is real."