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By Isaac Newton Tetteh – GITFIConline.com
US President Donald Trump has told people in the state of North Carolina to vote twice in November’s election, despite this being illegal.
Mr. Trump suggested voters vote once in person and a second time by post, in order to stress-test the system.
The president has frequently made false claims that postal votes are vulnerable to significant electoral fraud.
“Let them send it in and let them go vote,” he told North Carolina broadcaster WECT-TV on Wednesday.
“And if the system is as good as they say it is then obviously they won’t be able to vote (in person).”
After President Trump made the comments, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein tweeted that Mr. Trump had “outrageously encouraged” people in the state to “break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election”.
“Make sure you vote, but do not vote twice!” Mr Stein added. “I will do everything in my power to make sure the will of the people is upheld in November.”
The US Democrats Party have also accused President Trump and the Republican party of attempting to suppress the vote in order to help their side in the election.
President Trump was in Wilmington, North Carolina, to formally designate the city an American World War Two Heritage City.
This is not the first time President Trump has made controversial comments about postal voting.
Speaking at the Republican National Convention (RNC) last month, he claimed, “there’s tremendous fraud involved” with postal voting and that “we have to be very, very careful”.
However,experts have strongly and repeatedly debunked these claims.
Ellen Weintraub, commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, responded at the time “there’s simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail causes fraud”.
In addition, numerous nationwide and state-level studies over the years have not revealed evidence of major, widespread fraud.
In the 2016 US presidential election, nearly one quarter of votes were cast by post, and that number is expected to rise this time round due to public health concerns over coronavirus.
Individual US states control their own voting rules for federal elections – and many are looking to increase postal voting to prevent large gatherings at polling stations on Election Day. A number of states are planning to hold “all-mail” ballot elections this November.
The rate of voting fraud overall in the US is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%, according to a 2017 study by the Brennan Center for Justice.