Video screenshot, WECT-TV

Something possessed Donald Trump to tell his supporters yesterday that it would be a really great idea to vote twice this year: once by mail, and a second time in person, just to make sure, you know. In North Carolina, where Trump made the recommendation while being interviewed by local TV, it's a felony to intentionally vote twice. But the Leader of the Free World has a bug up his ass about the integrity of mail-in voting, so he went ahead and urged people to give it a shot. In fact, just to make sure the message got across, he said it a couple of times.

Just look at this dipshit.



WECT-TV reporter Jon Evans asked Trump if he was "confident" in the absentee voting system, considering that some 600,000 North Carolinians are expected to vote by mail this year, which prompted a repetitious spew of weirdness from President Stable Genius:

They will vote and then 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. So let them send it in, and let them go vote. And if the system is as good as they say it is, then they obviously won't be able to vote (at the poll). 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 don't like the idea of these unsolicited votes. I never did. It leads to a lot of problems. [...]

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.

But that's not all! Trump also said pretty much the same thing while meeting fans on the tarmac, because a great idea like felony voter fraud needs to be spread as widely as possible:


If you get the unsolicited ballot, send it in, and then go make sure it counted, and if it doesn't tabulate, you vote! And then if they tabulate very late, which they shouldn't be doing, they'll see you voted and so it won't count. So send it in early and then go and vote, and if it's not tabulated, you vote, and the vote is gonna count. You can't let them take your vote away; these people are playing dirty politics, dirty politics. So if you have an absentee ballot, or as I call it, a solicited ballot, you send it in, but I would check it in any event, I would go and follow it, and go vote.

Now, just to be completely clear, Trump is suggesting that people break the law. Election law scholar Rick Hasen points out that not only is voting twice a felony in North Carolina, you could also argue that Trump committed a felony by urging people to do it, not that he's likely to be prosecuted. The relevant North Carolina statute reads,

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.

Hasen says "a case could be made" that Trump's comments amount to "inducing" voters to vote twice, though he concedes that proving his intent was fraudulent could be difficult. Trump's go-to defense that he was "joking," Hasen says, isn't likely to prevent chaos, since

many people may hear his comments and think he is serious. At the very least, this is now going to create a headache for election administrators in North Carolina (and potentially elsewhere) to admonish voters not to try to do this and muck up the system

And North Carolina voting officials are already doing just that. Patrick Gannon, a spokesperson for the state's Board of Elections, told the New York Times that the state's system will only record one vote per person; if someone votes by mail and then shows up at the polls, poll workers will have a record that the person already voted. Or if they vote in person and mail in a ballot, the in-person vote would count and the mailed ballot would be considered "spoiled" and not counted. He added — while sighing and pinching the bridge of his nose, we'd like to think — that "Intentional willful double voting is a felony."

Gannon also pointed out that people who request an absentee ballot can actually track its status without even committing a felony, at the election board's website. We'll add that such ballot tracking systems are actually becoming standard in many states, as the Brennan Center for Justice notes (save that link for the next time someone tells you mail-in voting has no security measures).

This isn't the first time Trump has urged people to do a little voter fraud for him; in 2016, he encouraged double voting in Colorado, which does its elections by mail, but also allows in-person voting on Election Day. After asking a crowd if they thought their mail-in ballots were really counted (they all shouted "NO!" because they're as smart as Trump), he suggested they "check" their votes, illegally:

"You can check on your ballot to make sure it's counted properly," Trump said. "You can go to [Greeley voting location] University Center and they'll give you a ballot, a new ballot. They'll void your old ballot and give you a new ballot. And you can go out and make sure it gets in," Trump said.

Colorado's secretary of state later found 10 cases of double voting in the state, but didn't necessarily consider them fraudulent.

But in Iowa in 2016, one Trump supporter, Terri Lynn Rote, was arrested after she deliberately voted twice, because she feared her vote would be changed to go to Hillary Clinton. She told Iowa Public Radio "the polls are rigged," so that only made sense. Gee, where could she have gotten that idea?

Just to add to all the idiocy, Attorney General William P. Barr went on TV and said aw jeez, he really has no idea whether voting twice is illegal. (It is! In both state and federal law!) But he knows for sure that it's simply a matter of logic that voting by mail is dangerous, dangerous stuff:

Barr insisted Trump was merely making the point that "the ability to monitor this system is not good" (a lie — see that Brennan Center piece again). You see, when Trump says something batshit crazy and seems to advocate breaking laws, you should filter his dishonest statements through the dishonest White House talking points instead. When Wolf Blitzer pointed out that voting twice would be illegal, Barr dodged, saying he didn't know the particulars of North Carolina's laws (again, voting twice in a federal election violates federal law, period).

Barr went on to claim that the only reason there's been no widespread, systematic fraud with voting by mail is that "So far we haven't tried it." When Blitzer pointed out that five states already conduct virtually all their elections by mail, including Republican states, Barr cut him off angrily. We like his very detailed discussion of why voting by mail will be rife with fraud: It's simply a "matter of logic."

This is playing with fire [...] We're a very closely divided country here. And if people have to have confidence in the results of the election and the legitimacy of the government, and people trying to change the rules to this methodology, which, as a matter of logic, is very open to fraud and coercion, is reckless and dangerous. And people are playing with fire.

Mind you, at the same time that Trump and his cronies are all over TV claiming voting by mail is bad and fraudulent — and now, encouraging supporters to hurry out and do some fraud themselves — the Trump campaign has been urging supporters to make sure they request their mail-in ballots, spending $650,000 on Facebook ads encouraging mail-in voting. Lookie these recent ads!

You'll note that the ads don't urge people to vote twice, just to make sure.

There are 60 days left until the election. Still plenty of time for Trump to call for people to go armed to the polls and shoot anyone they think is an antifa vote frauder.

[NBC News / WECT-TV / Election Law Blog / WaPo / NYT / Mediaite / NYT]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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