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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Trump finds new twist on "vote early, vote often"

Trump Tells NC Residents to Vote Twice, Openly Encouraging Voter Fraud
Pic of the MomentIt is a felony under North Carolina law to vote more than once or "induce" others to do so, but that didn't stop President Donald Trump from openly encouraging residents of the state to attempt to cast two ballots in the November election in an interview with a local reporter Wednesday.

They are going to have to 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," Trump said, apparently urging residents to test their state's mail-in voting system. 

"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 [on Election Day]. If it isn't tabulated, they will be able to vote. So that's the way it is, and that's what they should do."

"I'm not happy about it," Trump said of expansions of mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic. "At the same time, we're in court with a lot of it. We're going to see if it can be stopped. But send your ballots, send them in strong, whether it's solicited or unsolicited. The absentees are fine. But go to vote and if they haven't counted it, you can vote. That's the way I view it."

"The president just committed a felony," Marc Elias, an attorney and voting rights advocate, tweeted in response to Trump's remarks, which come after the president spent weeks fearmongering over virtually nonexistent voter fraud in what critics dubbed a blatant effort to preemptively cast doubt on the results of the November election.

Under election law in North Carolina, where an estimated 600,000 voters have requested absentee ballots for November, it is illegal for "any person with intent to commit a fraud to register or vote at more than one precinct or more than one time, or to induce another to do so, in the same primary or election, or to vote illegally at any primary or election."

"So he's trying to make his conspiracy theories about voter fraud come true even if it means urging his supporters to commit a felony?" asked Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) following the president's comments.

Sean Eldridge, founder and president of advocacy group Stand Up America, tweeted late Wednesday that "voter fraud is nearly nonexistent."

"And the only one encouraging it is Donald Trump," Eldridge added, "in a desperate attempt to create chaos and sow doubt."


And Barr is clueless about legality of voting twice

Leading Constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe, Harvard comments
Pressed late Wednesday to respond to Donald Trump's remarks encouraging North Carolina residents to try to cast two ballots in the November election, Attorney General William Barr—the top law enforcement official in the U.S.—repeatedly claimed to not know whether it's illegal to vote twice.

"I don't know what the law in the particular state says," Barr said in a CNN appearance when host Wolf Blitzer told the attorney general that it is, in fact, illegal to vote twice.

"Well, I don't know what the law in the particular state says," Barr repeated.

Democratic lawmakers and other critics quickly slammed Barr for what they characterized as feigned ignorance in defense of Trump's open encouragement of voter fraud. In an interview with a North Carolina reporter Wednesday, Trump said residents of the state should attempt to vote by mail and in person to test the ballot-counting system.

If the mail-in ballot "isn't tabulated," the president said, "they will be able to vote [in person]. So that's the way it is, and that's what they should do." Under North Carolina law, it is a felony to vote twice or "induce" others to do so.

In response to Barr's remarks Wednesday, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) pointed to federal law, tweeting: "As the attorney general, you are expected not to be an idiot when it comes to basic legal principles. Federal law prohibits voting more than once in the same election. 52 U.S. Code § 10307."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said "Barr once again made clear today that he is not serving as the attorney general for the American people."

"He is serving as the personal henchman for Donald Trump," Jayapal added.

During the same CNN appearance Wednesday, Barr floated the claim that new expansions of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic leave "open the possibility" that either someone in the United States or a foreign nation could counterfeit ballots. Asked to provide evidence for that claim, Barr said he is basing it on "logic."

"The president's chief propagandist is still at it," tweeted Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics.