For a week, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has defended President Donald Trump’s assault on vote-by-mail, insisting, like her boss, that it invites election fraud.
But, also like her boss, McEnany has taken advantage of its convenience time and time again.
In fact, the Tampa native has voted by mail in every Florida election she has participated in since 2010, according to a Tampa Bay Times review of her voting history. Most recently, she voted by mail in the state’s March 2020 presidential primary, just as Trump did after he made Florida his new permanent home.
Last week, McEnany, 32, said vote-by-mail was OK for Trump because "the president is, after all, the president, which means he’s here in Washington. He’s unable to cast his vote down in Florida, his state of residence.”
Meanwhile, McEnany, a graduate of South Tampa’s Academy of the Holy Names and a Davis Islands homeowner, has voted by mail 11 times over the last 10 years.
In a statement emailed after the story published, McEnany said: “Absentee voting has the word absent in it for a reason. It means you’re absent from the jurisdiction or unable to vote in person. President Trump is against the Democrat plan to politicize the coronavirus and expand mass mail-in voting without a reason, which has a high propensity for voter fraud. This is a simple distinction that the media fails to grasp.”
However, Florida does not have absentee voting. Anyone can vote by mail here without a reason. The Times asked McEnany if Florida should change its law to restrict voting by mail to those unable to vote in person. The story will be updated if she responds.
The coronavirus has complicated voting in states that held primary elections, causing a shortage of poll workers, closed polling places, long lines to vote and lower turnout. With the pandemic expected to continue through the November election, Democrats and activists have called for universal vote by mail to ensure people can safely cast a ballot.
But on Tuesday, McEnany doubled down against that idea in a series of Twitter posts meant to imply voting by mail is beset with problems.
While there are isolated incidents of voter fraud, it is rare and it is not nearly as pervasive as Trump has suggested in his latest conspiratorial accusations. A months-long probe into voter fraud in Florida — where vote-by-mail is a popular option among both Democrats and Republicans — recently ended without any prosecutions.
Times staff writer Langston Taylor contributed to this report.