North Carolina elections chief pushes back on Trump's illegal voting scheme

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Karen Brinson Bell said that Trump himself may have broken state law on Wednesday.

The head of the North Carolina State Board of Elections on Thursday pushed back on Donald Trump's advice to commit voter fraud in the state. In a message to voters posted on social media, Karen Brinson Bell, the board's executive director, said that Trump himself may have broken state law on Wednesday when he told voters to vote twice in the presidential election in November.

"Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law," Bell wrote.

Trump had said during an interview about the state's absentee voting system: "Let them send it in, and let them go vote, and if the system is as good as they say it is, then obviously they won't be able to vote. If it isn't tabulated, they won't be able to vote. So that's the way it is. And that's what they should do."

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In her message to voters, Bell said that there is no need to physically go to the polls to check whether their mail-in ballot was received. "There are numerous checks in place in North Carolina that prevent people from double voting," Bell said, adding that if voters want to see if their absentee ballot was accepted, they can do so online. Going in person to check, Bell said, would "lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19."

Trump doubled down on his advice for North Carolina voters, tweeting Thursday morning that voters should "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)."

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News that Trump was "not suggesting anyone do anything unlawful."

However, Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine School of Law and an expert on election law, wrote on Wednesday night, "I think a case could be made" that Trump broke the law.

"He was encouraging people to vote both by mail and in person," Hasen wrote. "I don't expect Trump to be prosecuted for this statement but it is a terrible thing to encourage voter fraud—especially by someone who consistently makes claims that it is rampant in the U.S. (it's not)."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.