North Carolina’s election system has checks to prevent double voting, which is a Class I felony, a top state election official said on Thursday. The message comes less than a day after President Donald Trump urged his supporters to vote by both mail and in-person while he was in North Carolina.
Trump was in North Carolina for his daily news briefing on Wednesday, announcing that Wilmington has been designated as the first American World War II heritage city.
While at the airport, Trump told supporters: “If you get the unsolicited ballots, send it in, and then go – make sure it counted. And if it doesn’t tabulate, you vote. You just vote. And then if they tabulate it very late, which they shouldn’t be doing, they’ll see you voted, and so it won’t count. So, send it in early, and then go and vote. And if it’s not tabulated – you vote. And the vote is going to count,” NPR reported.
The president’s advice is illegal, according to Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
“There are numerous checks in place in North Carolina that prevent people from double voting,” Bell said. “Electronic pollbooks with information about who has already voted are used at every early voting site. If a voter tries to check in who has already voted, they will be prevented from voting a regular ballot. A voter will be offered a provisional ballot if they insist on voting, and this ballot will be researched after Election Day to determine whether it should be counted.”
Voters who mail in their ballots are removed from the pollbook on Election Day, which is updated at 6:30 a.m., she said.
“Absentee ballots that are received on Election Day are not counted until after the election, and this prevents double voting,” Bell said.
State election officials also conduct an audit after each election that checks voter history against cast ballots.
“Because absentee ballots and early voting ballots are retrievable, if someone tries to get around the system, their ballot can be retrieved and not counted, so it will not affect the outcome of an election,” she said, adding that double voting is “referred to prosecutors when warranted.”