The difference between when President Donald Trump is joking and when he’s serious is often a question the establishment media has to ask themselves. It’s not surprising that they do, although it can lead to moments of unintentional levity.
One of these was last week, when Trump tweeted that he wanted people to test the robustness of the system by casting ballots twice — once through the mail and once in person.
“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 wrote.
“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). If your Mail In Ballot arrives after you Vote, which it should not, that Ballot will not be used or counted in that your vote has already been cast & tabulated.”
If not, the president advised, “after you Vote, which it should not, that Ballot will not be used or counted in that your vote has already been cast & tabulated. YOU ARE NOW ASSURED THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED, it hasn’t been ‘lost, thrown out, or in any way destroyed’. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!”
…..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). If your Mail In Ballot arrives….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2020
….after you Vote, which it should not, that Ballot will not be used or counted in that your vote has already been cast & tabulated. YOU ARE NOW ASSURED THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED, it hasn’t been “lost, thrown out, or in any way destroyed”. GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2020
This was specifically about North Carolina and it wasn’t about voting twice. It was about an inefficient way to determine if your ballot had been counted.
But, hey, if you wanted to talk about taking on the vote-early-and-often crowd, a better place to start may have been Georgia, where roughly 1,000 people are being investigated for allegedly voting twice in a June 9 primary.
The date is important, considering the fact this was well before Trump’s comments regarding checking your ballot at the polling place. So, alas, he can’t be blamed for this. Not that others didn’t try, but more on that later.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced Tuesday that the probe into the alleged double-voting was underway, a charge that was made just eight weeks before the general election.
“The investigation follows a chaotic primary where record numbers of voters cast absentee ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. Some voters who weren’t sure whether their absentee ballots would be received before election day decided to vote in person to ensure their votes would count,” The AJC reported.
“Voters are allowed to cancel their absentee ballots and then vote at polling places as long as their ballots haven’t yet been received by election officials. It’s unclear whether the voters under investigation attempted to do so.”
“A double-voter knows exactly what they’re doing, diluting the votes of each and every voter that follows the law,” Raffensperger said at a state capitol news conference. “Those that make the choice to game the system are breaking the law. And as secretary of state, I will not tolerate it.”
Raffensperger is a Republican who was endorsed by Trump. Given that context, consider if you would see this quote appearing in any story about a Democrat endorsed by Stacey Abrams:
“They only did what they thought was right to make sure their vote was counted,” said Aklima Khondoker, Georgia director for All Voting Is Local, a group that aims to expand absentee voting. “Voters are not criminal.”
One reason for this line: 60 percent of those being investigated who cast a partisan ballot requested a Democratic ballot, while only 40 percent requested a Republican one.
Another reason is the fact that, according to The New York Times, at least one man in Long County, Georgia, was “bragging” about voting twice, Raffensperger said.
However, the 1,000 people being investigated represent a small percentage of those who showed up at a polling place while still having requested an absentee ballot. There were 150,000 of those, many of whom didn’t receive the absentee ballot they requested.
“Those voters’ absentee ballots were supposed to be canceled, but that didn’t always happen,” according to The AJC.
The penalty for double-voting, if convicted, is up to 10 years behind bars and/or $100,000 in fines.
The alleged fraud in Long County is perhaps the most distressing, where a close race and “irregularities” lend more credence to the idea that double-voting may not have been entirely accidental.
“It was a complete breakdown,” Jake Evans, attorney for Probate Judge Bobby Harrison Smith, said late last month. “It’s a crazy story. I don’t even know how it happened. I didn’t even think double-voting was possible.”
Smith lost by nine votes to his challenger, Teresa Odum, 1,375-1,366.
“But that vote count is inaccurate because of many election irregularities, including double-voting, said Evans, who is also chairman of the state ethics commission,” The AJC reported.
“Election officials accepted at least nine votes from people who no longer live in the southeast Georgia county, and they turned away people who were incorrectly told they had already voted, according to Smith’s lawsuit.
“In addition, election officials mailed ballots to voters who never signed absentee ballot request forms as required to verify their identities, Evans said. Sixteen additional votes were found when conducting a recount.”
However, Long County officials insisted the findings wouldn’t change any of the results.
There’s the other side to this, of course — the idea that fraud is rare and that those who would even investigate it are carrying water for the GOP.
“It is clear that rather than do his job of promoting the safety and security of our voting process, the secretary of state is instead pushing the GOP’s voting conspiracy theories and disinformation,” Democratic Party of Georgia Executive Director Scott Hogan said following Raffensperger’s announcement.
Meanwhile, The Times expressed its skepticism by positing that Raffensperger and Trump are both Republicans and that the latter endorsed the former in 2018. Do the math, America:
“Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly criticized the nation’s voting system by claiming it is insecure and riddled with fraud — contentions that experts reject — endorsed Mr. Raffensperger in the 2018 election for Georgia secretary of state,” The Times article read.
“There is little evidence supporting the president’s contention that mail-in voting is prone to voter fraud — in fact, a number of studies have concluded that in the United States, all types of voter fraud are rare.”
Elections like this are also rare and our country’s electoral infrastructure is ill-equipped to handle mail-in voting on a nationwide scale, however, so I’m not entirely certain what the point is.
It’s worth noting again that Trump originally made his statement about voters casting their ballots twice specifically in reference to North Carolina, a major swing state.
“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,” Trump told WECT-TV last week.
“So let them send it in, and let them go vote. And if their system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they will be able to vote.”
To the left, when the president isn’t disenfranchising our voters, he’s encouraging his supporters to vote twice in order to test the system. Seriously, this is voting early and often! Catch that man!
It was explained, in an expeditious manner, that Trump meant nothing of the sort.
Instead, he was asking voters to verify that the system works.
“The president is not suggesting anyone do anything unlawful. What he said very clearly there is make sure your vote is tabulated and if it is not, then vote,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a Fox News appearance, according to The Hill.
“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 has been counted. He wants verification,” McEnany added.
Without a vigorous way to ensure verification takes place, you’ll see situations like Georgia’s happening all over the country.
How rare they are (and how often the individuals in question are caught) will be in question. It’ll also be something we’ll have to muddle through in the chaos that election night is bound to produce.
If only there had been a way to avoid it.
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