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Donald Trump weighs in again to question reliability of mail-in votes

Democratic nominee Joe Biden has met the family of Jacob Blake, who was shot by a white police officer.

Foam sculpture depictions of President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden along Dixie Highway in Florida.
Foam sculpture depictions of President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden along Dixie Highway in Florida.
Image: Joe Cavaretta/AP/Press Association Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said people who vote early by post should turn up at polling stations and vote again if their ballots have not been counted.

The comments are a slight walk back from his comments a day earlier when he suggested people vote twice to test the mail-in system.

Trump claims, without evidence, that the 3 November presidential election will be awash with fraud because so many voters will mail in their ballots to avoid being exposed to coronavirus at polling sites.

The president said people could mail in their ballots as early as possible and then follow up with a trip to the polls to see whether their mail-in vote was tabulated.

A top election official in North Carolina, where Trump initially broached the topic yesterday, discouraged voters from following the president’s advice.

“If it has you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly,” Trump said in a lengthy tweet.

“If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do).”

If the mail-in ballot gets to election officials after a person votes at the polls, the in-person vote will be ignored, he said.

“YOU ARE NOW ASSURED THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED, it hasn’t been ‘lost, thrown out, or in any way destroyed’.”

Voting by mail is meant to replace voting in-person during the pandemic, but Trump does not trust the mail-in system.

Having mail-in voters turn up at polling places could also create more confusion for election workers.

North Carolina’s attorney general, Democrat Josh Stein, said it was outrageous for the president to suggest that people “break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election”.

“Make sure you vote, but do NOT vote twice!” Stein tweeted.

“I will do everything in my power to make sure the will of the people is upheld in November.”

It is a felony under North Carolina state law to vote twice.

Once someone has cast an absentee ballot, that person may not change or cancel it, or decide to vote in person on Election Day, according to the state election board’s website.

Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, noted in a statement that it is illegal to intentionally vote twice.

Trump first made the suggestion during his trip yesterday to Wilmington, North Carolina.

She said there are numerous measures in place to keep people from double voting, including electronic poll books at every early voting site with records of who has already cast a ballot.

Bell urged people not to show up to the polls on Election Day if they have questions about the status of the ballot they have already mailed.

“That is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading Covid-19,” she said.

Instead, voters should check the board’s website to find out if their ballot was accepted, use a tracking tool that will soon become available or contact the county elections board with questions about the status of their ballot.

States that have relied on mail-in ballots say there is little evidence of fraudulent activity.

Multiple studies have debunked the notion of pervasive voter fraud in general and in the vote-by-mail process.

election-2020-biden Source: Carolyn Kaster/AP/Press Association Images

Wisconsin

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has met the family of Jacob Blake, who was shot by a white police officer, during a visit to the battleground state of Wisconsin.

Biden’s trip to Kenosha, the first of his general election campaign against US President Donald Trump, is testing his pitch that he is a unifying figure, able to lead the country through a national reckoning with systemic racism along with the pandemic and its economic fallout.

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Travelling two days after Trump visited Kenosha, Biden is expected to follow his private meeting with a public discussion with community representatives in a city still reeling from Blake’s shooting and the sometimes violent protests that followed.

Biden did not take questions as he left his plane after arriving in Milwaukee, but he has said that the trip is an effort to help Wisconsin and the nation heal.

“This is about making sure that we move forward,” Biden told reporters. He added that he is “not going to tell Kenosha what they have to do” but instead encourage a community to “talk about what has to be done”.

Among those in the meeting with Biden were Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr, his siblings, and one of his lawyers, B’Ivory LaMarr.

Blake’s mother Julia Jackson and another lawyer, Ben Crump, joined by phone. Blake remains in hospital after being shot seven times in the back by a white Kenosha police officer as authorities tried to arrest him.

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