President Donald Trump on Thursday reiterated a call to his supporters, urging Pennsylvania voters to cast their ballot twice in the upcoming elections after making a similar suggestion in North Carolina a day earlier.
“These mail-in ballots are a disgrace and they know it. Sign your mail-in ballot, OK? You sign it and send it in and then you have to follow it. And if on Election Day or early voting, that is not tabulated and counted, you go vote,” Trump told a crowd in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. “And if for some reason after that — it shouldn’t take that long — they’re not going to be able to tabulate it because you would have voted.”
The advice — which promotes an illegal act that is a felony in some states — was an expansion on an attack on the electoral process from just a day before when Trump suggested at an event in North Carolina that voters test the elections system by attempting to vote twice. Those remarks compelled an elections board official in North Carolina to issue a statement on Thursday alerting voters that it is illegal to cast a second vote after submitting an absentee ballot.
His remarks to voters in North Carolina and Pennsylvania appear to be attempts to portray himself as something of an advocate in a cause against shifty Democrats who he suggests are trying to steal votes from his supporters in what he has repeatedly described as a “fraudulent” election.
But the President has repeatedly sought to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the elections and has consistently made efforts to suppress voters’ access to the ballot box by going after mail-in voting.
“They are not going to be able to tabulate it because you will have voted. But you have to make sure your vote counts,” Trump continued on Thursday. “Because the only way they are going to be able to beat us is by doing that kind of stuff.”
Trump’s comments in Pennsylvania reiterated those made in a damage control mission by White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany during a Fox News interview on Thursday. McEnany attacked Democrats and suggested that Trump was not advising people “do anything unlawful.”
Following McEnany’s lead, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also backed the President, saying Thursday that Trump was only suggesting that voters cast a ballot in-person if the mail ballot had not been tabulated.
But executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, Karen Brinson Bell explained in a statement earlier on Thursday that appearing at the polls after casting a mail-in ballot is “not necessary” and likely to cause further delays on Election Day.
“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 wrote. “That is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.”
Trump’s remarks in both states mark a fresh assault on the electoral process as he continues efforts to sow doubt about the validity of the results in an election that is just two months away.
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