Trump’s response was that people should vote twice, once absentee and another time in person: “If you get the unsolicited ballots, send it in and then make sure it counted. And then if it doesn’t tabulate, you vote. You just vote,” he said indicating people go and vote in person.
Trump’s comments sparked outrage, especially since he has accused Democrats and Democratic candidates of voter fraud on multiple occasions.
The last high-profile case of voter fraud in North Carolina occurred when Republican candidate Mark Harris was accused of hiring someone to harvest ballots for him during the 2018 midterms; he was charged with election fraud, the New York Times reported.
Trump Tells North Carolinians ‘You Can’t Let Them Take Your Vote Away’
Trump was in North Carolina to designate Wilmington, North Carolina as the “first American World War II Heritage City.” During his remarks, Trump said, “With this designation, we proudly declare that, in America, we don’t tear down the past, we celebrate our heroes, we cherish our heritage, we preserve our history, and we build a future.”
During the ceremony, Trump recognized several World War II veterans and also lauded upholding “the rule of law.”
That made his statements to the press about voting so much more ironic, when — on that same trip — he encouraged North Carolinians to vote twice, just in case their absentee ballots do not go through, which is voter fraud and a felony violation of the law. Here are Trump’s remarks in full:
They had some interesting polls. I don’t know, do I like it? Do I not like it? I guess I probably do. But they say no matter what it is, there are more votes for Trump because a lot of people say, “Just leave me alone I am going to vote the way I want to vote and then they go in and vote for Trump.”
On your ballots, if you get the unsolicited ballots, send it in, and then go and make sure it counted, and if it doesn’t tabulate, you vote. You just vote. And then they if they tabulated very late — which they shouldn’t be doing — they’ll see you voted, end it won’t count. So, send it in early, and then go and vote. And if it’s not tabulated, you vote and the vote is going to count.
You can’t let them take your vote away. These people are playing dirty politics, dirty politics. So, if you have an absentee ballot, or as I call it, a solicited ballot, you send it in. But I (would) check it, in any event, I would go and follow it and go vote. And everybody here wants to vote. We all vote the old-fashioned way. You know, we voted in World War I. We voted in World War II. We’re going to see some great World War II heroes right now. But we voted in World War II.
And today, they want to give everybody ballots. And every place where they’ve done it, it’s been a mess. They don’t know where they are. They do not know who they’re sending them to. It’s a terrible thing. Follow your ballot and vote. It’s very important. I think everybody understands. Take care, North Carolina. We have to win it big. So, we just got a pool: we are up seven (points) in Georgia. We are up a lot everywhere; I think, (by) a lot, everywhere.
After winning the previous presidential election, Trump claimed that “millions of people voted illegally,” which earned him four Pinocchios from Washington Post fact-checkers and later, his same claim received a “Pants-on-fire” rating from PolitiFact.
According to NPR, he’s made the same comments before during the mid-terms, stating that millions of people voted illegally in California by voting twice: “In many places, like California, the same person votes many times — you’ve probably heard about that,” Trump said. “They always like to say ‘oh that’s a conspiracy theory’ — not a conspiracy theory folks. Millions and millions of people.”
As reported earlier by Heavy, voting by mail has both advantages and disadvantages. It can be disenfranchising for rural voters as well as voters on tribal lands and it can also create longer wait times for results. Several studies, however, have found that voting by mail has increased voter turnout among ethnically and economically diverse voters and that it also saves states money in the long run.
Can You Vote Twice If You Think Your Original Vote Might Not Be Counted?
Even if you are unsure your original ballot was counted, you cannot simply vote twice just to “make sure”; you must reach out to a member of the state board of elections (a list is available here) and/or check with your state’s website (North Carolina voting website) to confirm that an absentee ballot was received. The proper way to vote absentee in North Carolina is described here.
Voting twice, however, is both illegal and can unnecessarily increase the burden on poll workers if they receive a surge of duplicate ballots, making the process of tabulation take longer – just like Trump said it should not in his earlier comments.
Trump’s comments have come under fire because it is illegal to intentionally vote twice, under both state and federal law. Here is what the federal law is on voting twice, according to Cornell’s Law University: “Whoever votes more than once in an election referred to in paragraph (2) shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”
That statute goes on to state that this prohibition is regarding any presidential and Congressional election, including delegates from the territories, such as Puerto Rico. It does note, however, that “the term ‘votes more than once’ does not include the casting of an additional ballot if all prior ballots of that voter were invalidated.”
North Carolina state law, as spelled out on the Jones County webpage, is even more explicit: “For any person with (the) intent to commit a fraud to register or vote at more than one precinct or more than one time, or to induce another to do so, in the same primary or election, or to vote illegally at any primary or election.”