North Carolina State Board of Elections after Trump comments: ‘It is illegal to vote twice’
The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) reminded voters that it is illegal to cast a ballot twice after President Trump encouraged people in the state to vote both by mail and in person.
In a statement, NCSBE Director Karen Brinson Bell noted that voting more than once in the same election is a felony and that audits are conducted after each election to catch anyone violating the law.
“It is illegal to vote twice in an election,” she said. “Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law.”
The remarks come a day after the president suggested his supporters in North Carolina, one of the most hotly contested swing states in the country, should vote twice to test the integrity of the state’s election 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,” he told reporters in the state Wednesday.
Trump has repeatedly attacked mail-in voting as potentially ripe for widespread fraud, though minimal evidence exists to support the claim. He has also often drawn a line between mail-in and absentee voting, though many states do not make such a distinction.
Bell urged North Carolinians to not vote by mail and then arrive at a polling station in November to check that their ballot has been tallied, saying doing so could lead to problems amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“If you request an absentee by-mail ballot but decide later that you would like to vote in person instead, you may. You should discard your absentee ballot. Do not send it back in,” she said.
“The State Board office strongly discourages people from showing up at the polls on Election Day to check whether their absentee ballot was counted,” she added. “That is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.”
Bell also defended the safety of North Carolina’s voting system, saying stringent measures are in place to prevent double voting.
“If a voter tries to check in who has already voted, they will be prevented from voting a regular ballot. A voter will be offered a provisional ballot if they insist on voting, and this ballot will be researched after Election Day to determine whether it should be counted,” she said.
“Also, the State Board conducts audits after each election that check voter history against ballots cast and would detect if someone tries to vote more than once in an election. Because absentee ballots and early voting ballots are retrievable, if someone tries to get around the system, their ballot can be retrieved and not counted, so it will not affect the outcome of an election,” she added, noting that cases could be referred to prosecutors in cases of double voting.
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