The president’s suggestion would constitute a felony under North Carolina law as well as voter fraud, which is precisely the kind of problem he claims he wants to avoid.
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday encouraged residents of North Carolina‘s to test the security of their state’s electoral system by trying to vote twice in the November election, once by mail and once in person.
Trump’s suggestion would constitute a felony under North Carolina law in addition to voter fraud, which is precisely the kind of problem that the president claims to want to avoid by all means in the November 3 elections, in which he seeks re-election.
“Let them send it (vote by mail) and let them vote, and if their system is as good as they say it is, then they obviously won’t be able to vote. If it’s not tabulated, they will be able to vote,” Trump said in statements to reporters during a visit to Wilmington, North Carolina.
The president repeated this idea directly to some of his supporters waiting for him when he landed in that city, saying, “Send (your vote by mail) early and then go and vote (in person). They can’t let them take their vote, these people are playing dirty politics.”
Trump has insisted, without evidence, that widespread vote-by-mail, which many states are expanding because of the pandemic – to avoid large crowds on Election Day – can lead to fraud, even though numerous studies show that this is extremely unlikely.
The president only justifies voting by mail when citizens are going to be far from the state where they are registered on Election Day, and has thus defended the fact that he himself has used this method to practice suffrage in the territory where he has his main private residence, Florida.
According to The New York Times, Trump has recently spoken privately with his advisers about that idea of urging people to vote twice, precisely because his environment is concerned that the president’s campaign against mail voting might deter his own supporters from voting.
During an interview Wednesday with CNN, US Attorney General William Barr dodged the question of whether Trump was inciting illegal activity by asking for a vote twice, ensuring he was not aware of North Carolina state election law.
A spokesman for North Carolina’s state electoral board, Patrick Gannon, told the New York Times that the state’s electoral system would prevent a person from voting twice, because workers at the ballot box would have access to records showing that that citizen has already exercised his right by mail.
“Voting twice intentionally is a felony,” Gannon stressed.
North Carolina is one of the states where polls show a tighter contest between Trump and his rival in the November election, Democrat Joe Biden, who gives the president an advantage of just 1.6 percentage points in that territory, within the margin of error.