• President Trump encouraged North Carolina voters to vote twice to test the validity of the system
  • North Carolina has 600,000 residents eligible for absentee voting
  • The Trump campaign is suing states that expanded access to mail-in voting

President Donald Trump encouraged the residents of North Carolina to test the integrity of the election system by casting their votes twice -- by mail and in-person —  an act that is considered voter fraud. 

"So let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system's as good as they say it is, then obviously they won't be able to vote. If it isn't tabulated, they'll be able to vote,” Trump responded Wednesday when asked by reporters whether he had doubts about North Carolina’s mail-in balloting system.

The president has previously attempted to cast confusion and doubt about the security of mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic. According to The Hill, Trump said voting by mail gives Democrats an advantage, but experts said it is not a source of voter fraud. 

An analysis by the Washington Post estimated that at least 190 million Americans would be eligible for mail-in voting during the November elections. In North Carolina, nearly 600,000 voters could vote absentee. 

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr was asked about Trump’s comments. He referenced a 2005 bipartisan report on election reform that showed voting by mail carries a high risk of fraud and coercion. 

When asked why there have been no findings of widespread fraud, Barr said it is because there have been no instances of widespread use of mail-in ballots. He was not aware of the laws in North Carolina on voter fraud. It is illegal to vote more than once in the same election in every state. He also refused to respond to questions about the president’s comments. 

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have filed lawsuits against several states after they expanded access to mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit included states such as Nevada, New Jersey, and Montana. 

Donald Trump President Donald Trump is pictured. Photo: AFP / Nicholas Kamm

Trump leads in North Carolina while Democratic nominee Joe Biden still leads in most national polls, however, his advantage has decreased. A USA Today/Suffolk University poll published Wednesday found Biden had a seven-point lead nationally among likely voters. In June, he held an advantage of 12 points. 

A September Quinnipiac University poll showed Biden topping Trump by 10 points. In the July poll, Quinnipiac University found a 15-point margin. 

On Wednesday, Monmouth University published the results of a survey of Pennsylvania where it showed Biden’s lead whittling down to four percentage points from 13 in July.