The White House appeared to support a statement made by President Donald Trump on Wednesday urging his supporters to vote twice — a move that would be illegal.
“The president is not suggesting anyone do anything unlawful,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted in a Fox News interview early Thursday, even as the President repeatedly said at an event in North Carolina on Wednesday that voters should send in an absentee ballot early “and then go and vote.”
Executive director for the state’s board of elections, Karen Bell, quickly issued a statement on Thursday warning voters not to follow calls to try to submit a second vote.
“It is illegal to vote twice in an election,” Bell said. “Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law.”
McEnany tried, as she often does, to recast Trump’s clear call for voters to commit an illegal act that is a felony in some states, including North Carolina, by instead suggesting that the President’s true message was for voters to ensure that their vote was “tabulated.”
“If it is not, then vote,” McEnany said. She also said that voters should send in absentee ballots and then go to the polls to check poll books, which record a vote has been counted.
“He wants verification,” McEnany said in defense of Trump’s statement. “Democrats want a whole new fraudulent system of mail-in voting, never tried before in American history, and what Democrats are saying to you, is trust us, but don’t verify.”
Bell also highlighted there are “numerous checks” that have been put in place to prevent double-voting and advised against McEnany’s claim that voters needed to check in person that their vote had been tabulated.
“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.”
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