We hope everyone will vote, in whatever way they wish, come Election Day in November. Just not twice.
President Donald Trump is drawing fire for his statement Wednesday in Wilmington, North Carolina, urging Americans to vote twice.
“If you get the unsolicited ballots and go and make sure it’s counted, and if it doesn’t tabulate, you vote,” he said. (In a statement that followed, he called them “solicited ballots” and said that’s what he calls mail-in ballots.)
“If it’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” he added, noting this move will “help fight dirty politics.”
There are many problems with this vote-twice theory.
1. Study after study has shown no substantial, if any, evidence of fraud in mail-in voting. In fact, five states have mail-in-only voting and there has never been any evidence of fraud.
There is no reason to “fight dirty politics” by voting in person. Trump repeated his suggestion on Thursday, saying Democrats would try to steal the election by manipulating mail-in votes. Even if that were true, how voting twice will alleviate that problem wasn’t explained.
2. Attempting to vote twice will muddy the entire election process by putting an undue burden on the states, which conduct elections. It ultimately works against democracy and, in fact, could create the very inaccurate election results the president said he’s trying to avoid.
3. In most states, it’s a felony to vote twice in the same election. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, it is a Class D felony to vote twice in Kentucky. A Class D felony is punishable by up to four years in prison, or one year in jail. The court also can impose a fine up to $10,000. In North Carolina, where the president made the statement, voting twice is a Class 1 felony, which allows for even harsher punishments.
Elections officials in North Carolina also hinted the president himself could have committed a crime, stating “attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law,” the New York Times reported.
If for no other reason, avoid double-dipping in the ballot box for your own good; don’t take a chance on paying a hefty fine or going to jail to cast your ballot. It’s not necessary, as mail-in ballots have been shown to be safe and fair, time and time again.
We urge everyone to vote, either in person or through the mail, but not both.