U.S. President Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday that voters in the state of North Carolina should vote twice in the November election, once by vote and once by mail, to make sure their vote was counted.
“So, let them send it in and let them go vote,” Trump said in an interview with WECT-TV in Wilmington, North Carolina, when asked about the security of mail-in votes. “And if the system is as good as they say it is then obviously they won’t be able to vote” in person.
Voting more than once in an election is illegal.
Activists raised concerns over Trump’s remarks, saying what he suggested was in violation of law and urging the public not to listen to his suggestion.
“Casting two ballots is illegal. Don’t listen to the president”, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Twitter.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Wednesday that mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election could be vulnerable to fraud, echoing an argument Trump has made to denounce the use of voting by mail.
When asked about comments he’s made that foreign countries could use mail-in ballots to commit fraud, Barr didn’t cite any specific examples of countries that would do so, instead saying simply, “Logic.”
He also wouldn’t refute Trump’s comments about voting twice, citing ignorance of North Carolina’s voting laws.
“I don’t know what the law in that particular state says and when that vote becomes final,” he said. “Maybe you can change your vote up to a particular time, I don’t know.”
Trump has previously said the voting method is susceptible to large-scale fraud, though experts say voter fraud of any kind is extremely rare in the United States.
Voting by mail is not new in the United States — nearly one in four voters cast presidential ballots in 2016 that way. At least five states have voted exclusively by mail for years, including Hawaii, Washington and Utah.
A record number of mail-in ballots are expected for the Nov. 3 election due to concerns about in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump has accused Democrats of trying to steal the election by pushing the use of mail-in voting. The re-election campaign of Trump has recently sued states like New Jersey and Nevada for expanding access to mail-in voting.
Democrats have said Trump and fellow Republicans are attempting to suppress the vote to help their side.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
—With files from Global News