- President Donald Trump on Saturday asked voters in North Carolina to cast a ballot twice, which is illegal, to make sure their vote got counted.
- His tweet comes a day after North Carolina released an app to help voters monitor the status of their absentee ballots.
- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein refuted Trump's message, advising voters to not "do what the President directs."
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A day after North Carolina released an app to help voters track the status of their absentee ballots, President Donald Trump urged people in the state to vote twice, which is illegal.
"NORTH CAROLINA: To make sure your Ballot COUNTS, sign & send it in EARLY. When Polls open, go to your Polling Place to see if it was COUNTED. IF NOT, VOTE!" Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday.
"Your signed Ballot will not count because your vote has been posted. Don't let them illegally take your vote away from you!"
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 12, 2020
Twitter flagged Trump's tweet, placing a "public interest notice" on it for "violating our Civic Integrity Policy, specifically for encouraging people to potentially vote twice."
North Carolina on Friday unveiled an online service called BallotTrax that allows voters "to keep tabs on their mail-in absentee ballot from the comfort of their home," Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said in a statement.
"By tracking their ballot, the voter can have peace of mind that their ballot was received by their county board of elections," Brinson Bell added.
The president, in videos that circulated on Facebook, previously urged voters in North Carolina to vote first by mail-in vote, then go to the polling station and vote again if the mail-in vote has not yet been counted. The social media platform vowed to take them down because the message violated "policies prohibiting voter fraud."
A few minutes after Trump sent out the tweet instructing North Carolinians to vote twice, the state's attorney general, Josh Stein, urged the opposite.
"NORTH CAROLINA: Do NOT do what the President directs. To make sure your ballot COUNTS, sign and send it in EARLY. Then track it ONLINE with BALLOTTRAX," Stein tweeted, along with a link to the app. "Do NOT vote twice (it's a felony), or waste your time, or unnecessarily risk exposure to more people."
—Josh Stein (@JoshStein_) September 12, 2020
The coronavirus has forced dozens of states to expand their vote-by-mail programs to help prevent the spread of the virus through in-person voting. North Carolina app would encourage voters to stay at home rather than show up in person at the polls, a press release from the State Board of Elections stated.
The election agency also released a separate statement earlier this month that listed two additional ways voters can check the status of their ballots without showing up in person, as Trump urged in his tweet.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
This isn't the first time Trump has encouraged Americans to cast a ballot more than once.
Earlier this month, Trump urged his Twitter followers to "go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted)" after submitting their vote by mail. Twitter flagged that some of these tweets "violated the Twitter rules about civic and election integrity."