Hours after once again denouncing states which are mailing ballots to all active registered voters for November, President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged his supporters to not only vote by mail or by absentee ballot, but also then to show up to the polls on Election Day to vote a second time, which theoretically could put voters in legal jeopardy.
“Double voting is easily detectable and people have been prosecuted for it,” said Michael McDonald, a University of Florida professor who focuses on elections.
Some election experts said the President himself broke the law by suggesting people should vote both by mail and in person.
“I don’t expect Trump to be prosecuted for this statement but it is a terrible thing to encourage voter fraud — especially by someone who consistently makes claims that it is rampant in the U.S. (it’s not),” wrote Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California Irvine.
In an interview with WECT-TV during a stop in Wilmington, North Carolina, the President was asked about the big increase in absentee-by-mail ballot request in the Tar Heel State, which dramatically favor Democrats over the GOP.
In his answer, the President quickly suggested that people should both cast a ballot by mail, and then vote again at the polls.
“Well, they’ll go out and they’ll vote, and they’re going to have to go and check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way, because if it tabulates then they won’t be able to do that. So, let them send it in, and let them go vote, and if their 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. So, that’s the way it is. But send in your ballots, send them in strong, whether it’s solicited or unsolicited, the absentees are fine - we have to work to get them - you know, it means something. And you send them in - but you go to vote - and if they haven’t counted it, you can vote. So, that’s the way I view it.”
Democrats found the President’s statement hard to fathom.
“Don’t try this at home. I will prosecute you,” tweeted Dana Nessel, the Attorney General of Michigan.
“The President just committed a felony,” said Marc Elias, a well known Democratic Party election lawyer.
“Voting twice is illegal. Don’t do it,” tweeted Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA).
“The President publicly encourages his supporters to commit crimes,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA).