President Donald Trump last week said North Carolinians could submit mail-in ballots and then show up to the polls to vote in person, suggesting that the felonious act of voting twice would be a good way to test the security of mail-in voting systems. Trump’s remarks were immediately condemned. On Monday, Colorado’s secretary of state, a Democrat, outright threatened to refer the president to the state attorney general for inducing others to vote illegally.
President Trump, who has long claimed without evidence that voting by mail will lead to “massive fraud,” told the crowd that attempting to cast two votes in November’s presidential election would help ensure the security of the electoral process.
“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. You can’t let them take your vote away,” Trump said.
“If the system is as good as they say it is, then they obviously won’t be able to vote (in-person). 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.”
Trump doubled-down on those comments the next day in a series of tweets directing his supporters to send in their ballots through the mail, then turn up at their local polling station to make sure their vote had been “tabulated.”
“If it has, you will not be able to Vote & the Mail-In System worked properly,” the president falsely claimed, as some mail-in ballots may be counted after polls close. “If it has not been Counted, VOTE (which is a citizen’s right to do),” he added.
…..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
The tweets were latter tagged by Twitter as violating their Civic Integrity Policy.
We placed a public interest notice on two Tweets in this thread for violating our Civic Integrity Policy, specifically for encouraging people to potentially vote twice. https://t.co/UU9kJfqptz— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) September 3, 2020
Jena Griswold (D), the secretary of state for Colorado, a perennial swing state that Trump lost by less than five points in 2016, initially decried the president’s comments as “encourag[ing] illegal behavior intended to undermine confidence in elections,” and promised that violators would be prosecuted.
Griswold upped the ante on Monday, threatening a criminal referral against the president.
“In Colorado, we take double voting seriously and refer all suspected cases for legal enforcement,” Griswold tweeted. “If it makes sense, I will include [President Trump] in the referral for prosecution. He may not have presidential immunity anymore depending on the election.”
In Colorado, we take double voting seriously and refer all suspected cases for legal enforcement. If it makes sense, I will include @realDonaldTrump in the referral for prosecution. He may not have presidential immunity anymore depending on the election.— Jena Griswold (@JenaGriswold) September 7, 2020
Responding to Griswold’s mention of immunity, George Washington University law professor Paul Rosenzweig said that such immunity may not prevent a prosecution of Trump regardless of the election results.
“There is a good argument a) that presidential immunity doesn’t exist at all; and b) if it does it is a matter of prudential deference by DOJ that doesn’t bind a State AG,” he wrote, also offering to provide Griswold’s office with free consultation on the matter.
There is a good argument a) that presidential immunity doesn't exist at all; and b) if it does it is a matter of prudential deference by DOJ that doesn't bind a State AG.— Paul Rosenzweig (@RosenzweigP) September 7, 2020
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