It 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.
"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?"
—Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi "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," the president 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."
Pres. Trump appeared to suggest that his supporters should commit voter fraud by attempting to vote both by mail and in person pic.twitter.com/zcvdzYCY8x
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 2, 2020
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"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."