President Donald Trump suggested Wednesday during a trip in battleground North Carolina that voters should vote twice, once by mail and once in person, to test the protections intended to guard against double voting.
Trump, who has claimed the 2020 election will be rife with fraud and rigged against him, was asked by a local television reporter if he had confidence in the vote-by-mail system.
“Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote,” Trump said.
Intentionally voting twice is illegal, and in many states, including North Carolina, it’s a felony.
The president also greeted supporters on the tarmac upon landing in Wilmington, N.C., and made nearly identical comments, encouraging them to send in their ballot “and then go in and vote.”
“So send it in early and then go and vote,” Trump said. “You can’t let them take your vote away, these people are playing dirty politics. So if you have an absentee ballot … you send it in, but I’d check it, follow it and go vote.”
Trump has insisted, without evidence, that widespread mail-in voting, expanded in many states to accommodate fears around the coronavirus pandemic, will result in corruption, miscounting and delays, making it impossible to know who won the November election.
Attorney General William Barr was asked during a CNN interview to respond to Trump’s comments in North Carolina, particularly the suggestion that voters partake in illegal activity. Barr skirted the question, saying he didn’t know the election laws in every state. He then echoed Trump’s rhetoric, claiming that widespread vote by mail “is very open to fraud and coercion, is reckless and dangerous, and people are playing with fire.”
The data in states that already have universal mail-in voting doesn’t back up Trump or Barr’s claims. A Washington Post analysis of three vote-by-mail states found that officials identified just 372 possible cases of double voting or voting on behalf of deceased people out of about 14.6 million votes cast by mail in the 2016 and 2018 general elections, or 0.0025 percent.’
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who was asked broadly about voting issues on Wednesday during a local Atlanta television interview, accused Trump of “trying to delegitimatize” the election results and urged people to”vote as early as you are permitted to be able to do.”
“The way to overcome this is to vote. Vote vote vote. And there’s not a shred of evidence not a shred of evidence that mail in voting is fraudulent,” Biden said. “Not a shred.”