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Trump adviser states support for absentee voting

Eric Branstad says he uses absentee ballots

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Eric Branstad, right, a son of former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and a senior adviser to President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, talks Friday morning with Jim Kersten, of Fort Dodge. Tana Goertz, another senior adviser to the Trump campaign, listens at left.

The re-election campaign of President Donald Trump isn’t actually opposed to Americans voting absentee, according to a prominent Iowa Republican who visited Fort Dodge Friday.

Eric Branstad, a son of former Gov. Terry Branstad and a senior adviser to the Trump campaign in Iowa, said what the campaign opposes is universal mail ballots that are being proposed in Nevada and seven other states. Such ballots, he said, could be returned by anybody, creating the chance that someone could vote fraudulently.

”What we are promoting and what we are supporting is exactly the way we have been voting absentee for many cycles,” Branstad said during a visit with a handful of local Republicans Friday morning at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites.

”Where the concern lies is in some states like Nevada, where there is this push for universal mail ballots that are live ballots, some of which are not requiring the personal identification or even a signature,” he added.

That kind of balloting is not done in Iowa, Webster County Auditor Doreen Pliner said Friday.

”That’s not the way we do it,” she said.

The president has sent contradictory messages on the subject. He has tweeted his support for absentee ballots, many of which are returned by mail, while complaining about ”mail-ins” which he asserts will lead to a ”rigged election.”

The subject came up during the Friday morning meeting when Branstad said the campaign was focused on putting together an absentee ballot program for Trump supporters.

”I’m the first to request an absentee ballot and the first to mail it in,” he said.

Branstad also talked about a boat parade of Trump supporters scheduled for Lake Okoboji today, which he said will involve 1,000 boats.

”We are going to absolutely take over the lake,” he said.

To receive an absentee ballot in Iowa, a voter must request one, according to Webster County Auditor Doreen Pliner.

”It has to be requested first before we mail it out,” she said.

An absentee ballot request form that includes an original signature must be submitted to her office, she said. Those forms can be downloaded and printed from the auditor’s section of the county government’s website, www.webstercountyia.gov.

The auditor’s office will begin mailing out absentee ballots on Oct. 5 and will continue to send them out until Oct. 24.

Completed ballots can be mailed or placed in the drop box in the lobby of the Webster County Courthouse.

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