White House tries to walk back Trump's call for supporters to try and vote twice

'The President has laid it out very clearly you should verify your vote,' press secretary says

Kayleigh McEnany refuses to confirm whether it’s illegal to vote twice
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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany sought to do damage control after Donald Trump told his supporters in North Carolina to vote twice in the 2020 elections if they're worried their mail-in votes will be subject to tampering.

Study after study has shown mail-in voting fraud is extraordinarily rare, as most states prepare to collect and process an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots this fall to reduce voters' exposure to Covid-19.

"First, a lot of states have what are called electronic poll books. And what this means is that in real time this is updated — so if your vote is counted, they check the electronic poll book, and you will not be able to vote in person because your vote has been counted," Ms McEnany said.

She explained what voters should do in a "secondary situation" in states that do not have electronic polling books where voters can check to see if their mail-in ballots have been accepted.

"[In] every single state in the country, you can cast a provisional ballot. And that is a ballot that is there, and if your vote that you have mailed in is not counted, they will then count the provisional ballot. And that is exactly what the president's referring to," Ms McEnany said.

That's a much more nuanced plan for how voters ought to make sure their votes are counted than the one the president offered at a campaign stop in North Carolina on Wednesday, where he urged voters to put the mail-in voting system to the test by voting a second time.

Asked by a reporter if he was confident in the state’s absentee voting system, Mr Trump said people should vote both by mail and in-person to check if their ballots are tabulated or if they’re able to vote a second time.

"Let them send it in, and let them go vote. And if the system is as good as they say it is, then they obviously won’t be able to vote,” he told WECT 6 News.

“If it isn’t tabulated, they will be able to vote. So that’s the way it is, and that’s what they should do.”

It is illegal to vote more than once in an election, meaning a successful attempt at voting twice would constitute voter fraud.

Ms McEnany defended the president's comments on Thursday by indicating that the sentiment underlying them — that Americans should not cast their ballots and automatically trust they will be counted — is a necessary consideration.

"The President has laid it out very clearly you should verify your vote," Ms McEnany said.

Hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots have been tossed out by election officials so far this primary season due to various mistakes: missing signatures, signatures that don't match the ones on voter registration rolls, and postmarks that are too late.

NPR reported last month that studies show voters of colour and young voters are more likely than others to have their ballots tossed. Those two blocs of voters tend to overwhelmingly support Democratic candidates.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has accused Mr Trump of attempting to undermine Americans' faith in the 2020 election by questioning the mail-in voting process.

“This president is going to try to indirectly steal the election by arguing that mail-in ballots don’t work,” Mr Biden said at a fundraiser in July.

Mr Biden led Mr Trump by an average of 7.2 percentage points nationally in polls released from 26 August through 1 September, according to RealClearPolitics.

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