North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein directed people against voting twice in the November election after President Donald Trump tweeted that North Carolina voters should go to a polling location after voting by mail.
As a reply to the president, Stein tweeted: “NORTH CAROLINA: Do NOT do what the President directs. To make sure your ballot COUNTS, sign and send it in EARLY. Then track it ONLINE with BALLOTTRAX. Do NOT vote twice (it’s a felony), or waste your time, or unnecessarily risk exposure to more people.”
“FOLLOW THE LAW: NC law PROHIBITS voters from VOTING TWICE,” he added. “It’s simple – just vote ONCE! Also do NOT take a photo of your marked ballot; you can take a picture of the envelope or the blank ballot, but not once you’ve filled it out.”
Stein followed up with multiple resources to help North Carolina residents vote appropriately and assist on Election Day, including how to see the status of a mailed-in ballot; where to find polling locations; and how to apply for an election official position, which the state needs due to older people choosing to stay home during the pandemic.
The tweet was shared as a reply to Trump, who wrote on Twitter Saturday morning instructing supporters to visit polling locations after voting by mail in order to ensure their votes have been counted.
“NORTH CAROLINA: To make sure your Ballot COUNTS, sign & send it in EARLY. When Polls open, go to your Polling Place to see if it was COUNTED,” the president tweeted. “IF NOT, VOTE! Your signed Ballot will not count because your vote has been posted. Don’t let them illegally take your vote away from you!”
A little over an hour after Trump’s tweet, Twitter flagged it as violating Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.
“We placed a public interest notice on this Tweet for violating our Civic Integrity Policy, specifically for encouraging people to potentially vote twice,” the platform shared on their Twitter Safety page.
North Carolina will allow its over 7 million voters to cast absentee ballots by mail, vote at an early-voting site, or vote at an assigned polling place.
Concerns over voting in this year’s presidential election during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been a much-debated issue for the last few months, with Democrats pushing for alternatives to in-person voting while Trump circulated the potential for mail-in voting fraud. The president has made multiple claims that mail-in voting during the presidential race will lead to “massive electoral fraud and a rigged 2020 election.“
Members of the Trump administration as well as the president’s supporters have also helped in pushing the rigged election debate. U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr told CNN’s The Situation Room in September that elections that have held mail-in voting resulted in “substantial fraud and coercion.” In July, Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chair, tweeted that Democrats “are trying to legalize ballot harvesting nationwide.”
However, election experts have repeatedly said that while voting by mail is more vulnerable to fraud than in-person voting, all voter fraud is extremely rare in the United States. Since state officials follow specific safety measures to verify ballots, both methods are considered reliable.
Stein is certainly not the first to go against Trump’s rigged election claims. Several lawmakers, both Democrat and Republican, have encouraged voters to vote-by-mail during the election, citing safer conditions as the coronavirus continues to spread. Last month, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy fired back at Trump for filing a lawsuit against the state’s plan to hold vote-by-mail elections in November.
“As the president and his team try to delegitimize our election and impact the health and safety of millions of New Jerseyans, we will defend our rights vigorously, and we will not back down,” Murphy said in a press conference on August 19. “So as they say, ‘Bring it on.'”
Newsweek reached out to the White House, who deferred a request for comment to the Trump campaign. The campaign has not responded in time for publication.
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