Despite President Donald Trump’s tiresome statements about the need to “restore law and order,” the president is also encouraging some U.S. residents to, uh... break the law. During an interview on Wednesday, the president suggested that people living in North Carolina should vote twice in the upcoming presidential election, both in person and by mail.
According to Trump, voting twice should prove whether the election systems are secure. “Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if the [mail-in] system is as good as they say it is then obviously they won’t be able to vote” in person, the president told WECT-TV in Wilmington.
But, of course, like most things Trump says, this isn't actually true. In fact, it's so not true, it's very illegal: If you vote twice on purpose, you could end up facing felony charges.
Election officials in Michigan and North Carolina were quick to respond to Trump’s suggestion, reminding voters that voting twice is illegal, and voters could be prosecuted for doing so. “Don’t try this at home. I will prosecute you,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote on Twitter. Nessel added, “Also, this might be a good time to remind people not to drink bleach,” a jab at the president’s previous dangerous claims that injecting disinfectants can treat COVID-19.
The executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, Karen Brinson Bell reminded residents in a statement that voting twice and “soliciting someone to do so” violates state law. Meanwhile, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein offered some useful advice to voters: once you mail your ballot, “you can track it online, and it will show on the website that your ballot has been received.”
Trump has pushed misleading and downright false information about voting since he first ran for office in 2016, when he repeatedly claimed the election would be rigged against him. Over the last few months, as states prepared to expand vote-by-mail to avoid long lines and crowded polling places amid a global public health crisis, Trump is sowing doubt in the election process with claims that voting by mail is rife with fraudulent activity.
Previously, the president falsely claimed California was sending ballots to anyone, “no matter who they are or how they got there.” He has also pushed a war on the U.S. Postal Service, refusing to fund the agency because millions of people will rely on it to vote this Fall. Most recently, the president seemed to imply, again falsely, that the Democratic Party knows there will be “fraud and abuse” in the upcoming election because a handful of states will automatically send ballots to residents by mail.
But while Trump incessantly harps on about the (unfounded) risks of widespread voter fraud in the upcoming election, he is also now encouraging people to vote twice. But please — and I cannot stress this enough — do not listen to our commander-in-chief and attempt to vote twice. I promise it won't work out well for you!