Trump asks Americans to try to vote twice

Published September 4, 2020
It was the latest assault by Trump on the credibility of mail-in voting, which is being rapidly expanded across the country in response to fears of Covid-19. — AFP/File
It was the latest assault by Trump on the credibility of mail-in voting, which is being rapidly expanded across the country in response to fears of Covid-19. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump renewed a call on Thursday for supporters to try to vote twice on Nov 3, claiming that only this way can they be sure their ballot is counted.

Trump said Americans should first try to vote by mail, if that option is offered in their state, then also go to the polling station on election day to check that their ballot has been counted — and, if not, vote again.

“YOU ARE NOW ASSURED THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED,” he said in a Twitter thread.

It was the latest assault by Trump on the credibility of mail-in voting, which is being rapidly expanded across the country in response to fears of Covid-19 contagion for voters going in person to polling stations.

Despite Trump’s relentless challenges, the mail-in practice is already widespread and largely trouble-free in the United States.

He himself uses the absentee mail-in option to vote in Florida while living in the White House.

While Trump says that increased mail-in voting will generally allow ballot tampering and rigging of the result, elections experts say there is no evidence of significant danger.

Polls show Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to vote by mail.

Trump first aired the idea of casting a precautionary second vote on Wednesday during a trip to North Carolina.

“If you get the unsolicited ballots, send it in, and then go -- make sure it counted. And if it doesn’t tabulate, you vote,” he said. “So, send it in early, and then go and vote.”

The recommendation prompted the election board in the state, which Democrat Joe Biden hopes to snatch from Trump, to issue a statement pointing out: “It is illegal to vote twice in an election.

“Soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law,” the board’s director, Karen Brinson Bell, added.

Polls currently show Biden on course to defeat Trump.

However, experts warn that the country faces a confusing and potentially tense aftermath of the voting on Nov 3, due to the unusual circumstances.

Given the larger than ordinary number of mailed-in ballots, few expect there will be a clear-cut result that evening.

Under one scenario, Trump could be shown to have won on the basis of ballots cast during the day, but mail-in ballots, once counted days later, would then put Biden over the top.

Trump has repeatedly refused to declare he will accept the results.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2020

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