“Don’t try this at home. I will prosecute you,” warns Michigan’s top law enforcement official.
LANSING, Mich. — It’s illegal to try and vote twice in an election, even if the president tells you to.
That reminder came from Attorney General Dana Nessel, responding to President Donald Trump encouraging his supporters to attempt voting twice in battleground states.
“Hey folks. Attorney General Nessel here-top law enforcement official in Michigan, for those keeping track,” she tweeted. “Don’t try this at home. I will prosecute you.”
Nessel’s tweet came after Trump encouraged his supporters to send in absentee ballots and then attempt voting in person. Which is criminal election fraud—exactly the thing Trump has fomented false concerns about in the past.
“Send them in strong, whether it’s solicited or unsolicited. The absentees are fine. You have to work to get them, you know,” Trump said. “And you send them in, but you go to vote. And if they haven’t counted it, you can vote. So that’s the way I feel.”
The aim, according to Trump, is to test if voting fraud prevention mechanisms that are in place to prevent and prosecute people who do just that are as robust as states say they are. That argument won’t protect those taking his advice in court, however.
And if a person does vote twice in November, they’ll be subject to up to $10,000 in fines and five years in prison for violation of federal-elections laws. Trump even encouraging people to vote twice is, itself, a crime in North Carolina, site of most of his remarks on the matter.
“President Trump outrageously encouraged NCians to break the law in order to help him sow chaos in our election,” wrote North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. “Make sure you vote, but do NOT vote twice! I will do everything in my power to make sure the will of the people is upheld in November.
And double voting is easy for election officials to spot. Because a masterlist is kept of everyone who voted, simply seeing the same person on that list twice would both invalidate the additional vote and would give the name and address of the person who attempted to fraudulently vote a second time.
Despite this, Trump has continued to advocate for his supporters violating election law by voting twice. His Saturday posts to social media with that call to action have been flagged by both Twitter and Facebook with public interest statements explaining the illegality of the suggestion.
Voting twice is, like all forms of election fraud, uncommon and largely ineffective, Layola Law School professor Justin Levitt told the Hill.
“As a method of attempting to gain an electoral advantage, it’s a pretty shoddy method,” he said. “Of the very few times that it happens, most are due sometimes to mistakes.”
Those mistakes include people moving and being unsure where to properly vote, Levitt explained.
As for other advice from Nessel, she extended a reminder that advice from Trump has not always been the best.
“Also, this might be a good time to remind people not to drink bleach.”