U.S. President Donald Trump has doubled down on comments urging residents in North Carolina to cast their vote for the U.S. federal election by mail and in person.
“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. IF NOT, VOTE!” Trump wrote in a tweet on Saturday. “Your signed Ballot will not count because your vote has been posted.”
“Don’t let them illegally take your vote away from you!”
Shortly after Trump tweeted, Twitter added a “public service notice,” to the post, saying it had violated the company’s Civic Integrity Policy for “encouraging people to potentially vote twice.”
Voting more than once is prohibited in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and all of the country’s territories.
“To protect people on Twitter, we err on the side of limiting the circulation of Tweets which advise people to take actions which could be illegal in the context of voting or result in the invalidation of their votes,” Twitter Safety wrote in a tweet explaining its decision.
What’s more, North Carolina’s Attorney General Josh Stein, urged residents not to follow Trump’s advice.
“NORTH CAROLINA: Do NOT do what the President directs,” he wrote in a tweet. “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,” Stein continued.
This is is not the first time Trump has made this suggestion.
In an interview with WECT-TV in Wilmington North Carolina earlier this month, Trump suggested that voters in the state of North Carolina should vote twice in the November election, once by vote and once by mail, to make sure their vote was counted.
“So let them send it in and let them go vote,” he said.
Trump said if the mail-in voting system is “as good as they say it is” then “obviously they won’t be able to vote” in person.
Trump’s comments prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to issue a tweet urging Americans not to heed his advice.
“Casting two ballots is illegal,” the ACLU said. “Don’t listen to the president.”
Trump has repeatedly claimed that voting by mail amid the novel coronavirus pandemic would open the U.S. up to large-scale fraud, and would lead to a “rigged election,” however, experts say the practice is safe and voter fraud is rare.
In a previous interview with Global News, Matthew Lebo, chair of political science at Western University, said mail-in voting does not substantially increase voter fraud, and if it does at all, it would be by a “tiny, tiny amount.”
“It happens a few dozen times in the United States, over a billion ballots cast in the 21st century,” he said. “It’s a crime that does nothing for the criminal.”
Lebo said voting by mail is “very safe,” like voting in person, and noted that five U.S. states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — have been voting by mail for years.
All states allow at least a portion of the population to vote by mail.
— With files from Reuters
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