On Thursday, President Donald Trump said that voters sending their ballots by mail should go to polling places and vote again if their ballots haven’t been counted. Trump shifted from his comments the day before that people should vote twice to test the mail-in system.
While speaking in Wilmington, NC, Trump claimed that the Nov. 3 presidential election could be fraudulent. Since many citizens would be voting by mail to avoid COVID-19 exposure at the polls, Trump worried about election fraud.
The president encouraged people to mail in their ballots as early as possible. Additionally, he told voters to head to the polls to see whether their mail-in vote was counted. There is no evidence that mail-in votes would cause widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly,” Trump said in a lengthy tweet. “If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do).”
He said when the mail-in ballot gets to election officials after a person votes at the polls, the in-person vote will be ignored.
“YOU ARE NOW ASSURED THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED,” Trump said emphatically. “It hasn’t been lost, thrown out, or in any way destroyed.”
Donald Trump Draws Criticism For His Statements
A top North Carolina election official discouraged voters from taking Trump’s suggestions following his comments. And others came out against Trump’s remarks as well, reminding voters that they could be prosecuted for voting twice.
Dana Nessel, Michigan’ attorney general, took to Twitter to remind voters to only cast their ballot once.
Josh Stein, North Carolina’s attorney general, said it was outrageous for the president to suggest that people “break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election.” Stein also took to Twitter to get his message across.
It is a felony under North Carolina state law to vote more than once in an election. Once voters have cast an absentee ballot, that person can not change or cancel it. The voter can not decide to vote in person on Election Day instead, according to the state election board’s website.
Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, addressed the situation in a statement. She stated it is illegal to intentionally vote twice, and there are measures in place to stop double voting. The measures include electronic poll books at early voting sites with records of who has already cast their ballot.
Bell urged people not to travel to polling locations on Election Day if they’ve already mailed their ballot. “That is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19,” said Bell.
Instead, voters are encouraged to check the board’s website to find out if their vote was counted. Voters can use the online tracking tool that will soon be available. Also, voters can contact the county elections board with questions about the status of their ballot.