MIAMI — If President Donald Trump plans to vote by mail in the general election as he did in Florida’s August primary, he’ll have to act fast.
Neither the president nor first lady Melania Trump have requested a mail ballot, the Palm Beach County elections website shows, and they only have until Saturday to request one.
Trump spent months criticizing the legitimacy of mail voting — even as states expanded vote by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic — before reversing course earlier this summer when he tweeted an endorsement of the process, calling Florida’s vote by mail system “tried and true.”
If the Trumps plan to vote by mail, the way 226,523 of their fellow Palm Beach County residents already have, they must request a mail ballot 10 days before Election Day — and that means by Oct. 24. If the Trumps miss the deadline and would still like to vote by mail, they would have to visit one of the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections’ offices to have a ballot printed. The last day supervisors can send out mail ballots to those who request them is Oct. 24. Requests for mail ballots made online, by phone or in person are processed instantly.
The Trumps also have the option to vote in person. Their Election Day voting location is the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center in Palm Beach. Or, during early voting, they can cast their ballots at a number of locations in Palm Beach County.
Their ballots will include four judicial retention questions, six constitutional amendment ballot questions and 14 races — including, of course, the presidency.
If requested in time, the Trumps’ ballots must be returned to the Palm Beach County’s elections office by 7 p.m. on Election Day, when all mail-in ballots must be submitted. The Palm Beach County supervisor’s office recommends voters allow at least one week for the ballot to reach their office.
More than 2.5 million Floridians have voted by mail this year so far and another 3.2 million mail ballots have been requested by Floridians but not yet returned. About 1.2 million Democrats and 757,696 Republicans have already voted by mail. An additional 1.3 million Democrats and 1 million Republicans have requested ballots.
Trumps’ campaign this month launched social media ads aimed at encouraging his supporters to vote by mail, which he tweeted was “safe and secure.”
The advertisements, which have run throughout the month of October, according to Facebook’s ad library, appear on Facebook in Florida and in North Carolina and say “VOTE LIKE PRESIDENT TRUMP!” with text: “TIME IS RUNNING OUT! Request your ballot today.” The image shows a close-up of an absentee ballot.
The Trumps have voted by mail in Florida twice before: once in the March presidential primary and again in the August primary. In August, the Trumps’ ballots were dropped off in person, not sent back to Palm Beach County by mail.
©2020 Miami Herald