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Donald Trump seemed to ask voters to cast a ballot twice in North Carolina during a visit to the state yesterday, as he continues to tour around the US. The President’s recent claims added to others he has made over the last few months which suggest the postal ballot system – which most Americans will use this year – is untrustworthy. However, on the surface, his latest assertion seems more sinister than the others.
Can you vote twice in an election?
Voters have an array of options available to them when they cast a ballot during an election.
The most common way is to vote in person, but those unable to make it to a polling station will need to cast their ballot by proxy or post.
Postal votes may make up a significant portion of ballots in 2020, as people look to avoid surging queues at polling stations.
Mr Trump has cast doubt on their legitimacy, however, and yesterday told North Carolinians to vote twice and test the system.
He told local station WECT-TV: “Let them send it in and let them go vote.
“And if the system is 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.”
“That’s the way it is. “And that’s what they should do.”
Voting twice violates both state and federal law, and is listed as a felony crime.
Depending on the state, anyone caught doing so could spend years in prison if caught in the act.
The President has drawn harsh criticism for his claim, including condemnation from state attorney general Josh Stein.
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He wrote on Twitter: “Today, President Trump outrageously encouraged NCians to break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election.
“Make sure you vote, but do NOT vote twice!
“I will do everything in my power to make sure the will of the people is upheld in November.”
While an outrageous claim, US attorney general William Barr told CNN the President was “trying to make a point”.
Speaking on CNN yesterday, he said Mr Trump was “trying to make the point that the ability to monitor this system is not good”.
But the AG claimed ignorance when asked about the state’s local laws, saying: “I don’t know what the law in the particular state says.”
The President’s aides have recently warned him against making claims about postal votes, as fears he might discourage his voter base grow.
Mr Trump will likely count on support from older voters this year, who rank as the most at risk of death from COVID-19 and as such may feel apprehensive about casting their ballot in person.
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