Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that U.S. elections have been falsified through mail-in voting.
“In the United States, previous elections were falsified through postal voting … they bought ballots for $10, filled them out, and threw them into mailboxes without any supervision from observers, and that’s it,” Putin said, according to Reuters.
Putin, who is running for reelection in Russia, did not offer evidence to back his claims, Reuters reported.
If he were to win in Russia’s March election, which is expected, he would become the Kremlin’s longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin, who died in 1953.
Putin, who warned in his televised comments Tuesday that the war against Ukraine could see an “irreparable blow,” has worked to eliminate what little political opposition remains ahead of the election. The president in Russia is elected in a two-round system through secret ballots.
In recent years, mail-in ballots have become an extremely popular format for voting for many Americans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the years since, many politicians have contested elections, pointing to fraud in mail-in voting. Republican voters tend to show up at the polls on Election Day, while Democratic voters have gravitated to the mail-in processes.
Former President Trump has supported the claim, without evidence, that there is fraud in early and absentee voting, which has become a theme in both his 2020 and 2024 presidential campaigns.
In May 2020, Trump increased his attacks on mail-in voting systems as more states looked to increase absentee ballot access due to the pandemic. He targeted Democrat-run states over their expansion to ensure safety, although experts noted there was minimal evidence that mail-in voting causes fraud.
In this more recent campaign, Trump encouraged Republicans to vote early, his strongest support for absentee voting, ballot collection and in-person early voting ever. In the video, published by the Republican National Committee in July, Trump said “we must defeat the far left at their own game.”
–Updated on Jan. 17 at 6:30 a.m.