President Donald Trump has doubled down on his statement promoting mail-in voting exclusively in the swing state of Florida, saying its recent Republican governors have helped build a strong infrastructure secure from fraud.
"And over a long period of time, they've been able to get the absentee ballots done extremely professionally. Florida is different from other states,"
After months of casting doubt on the integrity of mail-in ballots — which most governors and state parties have promoted as an alternative to in-person voting to mitigate health risks during the coronavirus pandemic — Mr Trump announced his support for Florida's mail-in system in an abrupt reversal on Tuesday via Twitter.
"Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail! #MAGA," the president tweeted.
The president's press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, later clarified that when Mr Trump said the mail-in voting system had been "cleaned up" in Florida, he was referring to a settlement between a consortium of voting rights groups and state officials to expand early voting and voting education initiatives while also taking steps to secure the results of the election.
Both progressive voting rights groups and Republican politicians in the state claimed victory after the settlement.
Despite the settlement, the vote-by-mail process in Florida does not appear to substantially differ from the systems in other states that Mr Trump and his press team have antagonised, such as Nevada and New York.
One distinguishing feature separating Florida from other states is that "the [US Postal Services] are built up there", Mr Trump claimed on Tuesday.
"Florida has been working on this for years, and they have a very good system of mail-in," he said.
Mr Trump has called for New York to re-do several close congressional primary races as the state continues to struggle counting mail-in and absentee ballots more than a month after Election Day.
"Nobody's ever seen anything like it. It's a disgrace," Mr Trump said on Monday of the state's ongoing struggles to count every voter's ballot in contests like the Democratic primary race for New York's 12th District, between House Oversight chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and challenger Suraj Patel.
Mr Patel trails Ms Maloney by roughly 3,700 votes at the moment, though officials disqualified more than 12,000 ballots for missing postmarks and other small errors, the New York Times has reported.
While the ballot-counting process has rankled state officials and prompted lawsuits from candidates like Mr Patel, the president made unsubstantiated claims that some people had submitted "fraudulent ballots".
While the Trump administration has continued to challenge the integrity of mail-in voting systems across the country, it has so far rejected Democrats' proposals to bolster election security.
The coronavirus response package House Democrats passed in May includes $3.6bn to send to states to help them secure their election processes and expand mail-in voting. Senate Republicans' bill negotiated with the White House does not include any such money.
"Perhaps now that Donald Trump has endorsed mail-in voting, Senate Republicans will actually fund it, along with early voting and safe polling locations," said Sean Eldridge, president of Stand Up America, a progressive voting rights group that has been advocating for billions of dollars in federal funding for election security.