Trump escalates, breaks voting laws, and encourages others to as well; North Carolina officials outraged

North Carolina officials condemned President Trump for encouraging North Carolinians to try to vote twice, an attempt to “sow chaos” in the state’s election, according to the state attorney general.

On Wednesday, Trump told supporters in the state they should try to vote twice, once by mail and once in person, as a test of the security of the election process — and incidentally a way to have their vote counted twice if election officials mistakenly allow it.

Voting twice is illegal — as is encouraging others to do so.

“So let them [mail] 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 when asked about the mail-in system in the swing state, adding, “So that’s the way it is. And that’s what they should do.”

Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, issued a statement Thursday reminding residents that voting twice is a Class I felony.

“Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law,” said Bell. “There are numerous checks in place in North Carolina that prevent people from double voting. Electronic pollbooks with information about who has already voted are used at every early voting site. If a voter tries to check in who has already voted, they will be prevented from voting a regular ballot.”

Trump’s comments Wednesday generated enough confusion that the N.C. Board of Elections issued a statement saying that it is a Class 1 felony to intentionally vote twice. The board also noted that it is illegal to solicit someone to vote twice.

In a statement, Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the board, also discouraged voters from coming to the polls on Election Day to verify that their mail-in ballots had been counted.

“The State Board office strongly discourages people from showing up at the polls on Election Day to check whether their absentee ballot was counted,” Bell said. “This is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.”

Separately, Facebook announced that it would delete a video of Trump’s original comments.

“This video violates our policies prohibiting voter fraud and we will remove it unless it is shared to correct the record,” the company said in a statement.

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