Trump on Thursday sought to clarify remarks in which he suggested voting twice, saying in a series of tweets that he was instead urging those who vote by mail to follow up at their polling place to make sure their mail-in ballots have been counted.
During a trip to North Carolina on Wednesday, Trump suggested that those who vote by mail “then go and vote” in person as well. Intentionally voting twice is illegal, and in many states, including North Carolina, it is a felony.
“Based on the massive number of Unsolicited & Solicited Ballots that will be sent to potential Voters for the upcoming 2020 Election, & in order for you to MAKE SURE YOUR VOTE COUNTS & IS COUNTED, SIGN & MAIL IN your Ballot as EARLY as possible,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “On Election Day, or Early Voting, go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted). If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly. If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do).”
Following his advice, he said, would assure “THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED, it hasn’t been ‘lost, thrown out, or in any way destroyed.’”
His tweets came shortly after a television appearance in which White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted Trump was not calling on voters to break the law.
“The president is not suggesting anyone do anything unlawful,” McEnany said during an appearance on Fox News. “What he said very clearly there is make sure your [mail-in] vote is tabulated, and if it is not, then vote.”
“Basically, when you get an absentee ballot and you send it in, there are poll books, and it is recorded that you have in fact voted, and if you show up at a polling site, they look at the poll book and say your vote’s been counted,” she continued. “He wants verification. 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.’ What this president is saying is verify your vote.”
Trump, who has claimed the 2020 election will be rife with fraud and rigged against him because of greater mail-in voting during the pandemic, was asked Wednesday by a television reporter in North Carolina whether he had confidence in the system.
“Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote,” Trump said, adding, “So send it in early and then go and vote.”