Woodward’s revelations prompt an admission from Trump: “I’m a cheerleader.” It’s Thursday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.
Joe Biden delivering his pandemic-era speech yesterday in Warren, Mich.
What are the consequences of voting twice, anyway?
One woman in Dothan, Ala., filled out extra absentee ballots to help elect her boyfriend. A man in Rochester, N.Y., voted twice because a bar was giving free beer to people with “I Voted” stickers. A woman in Des Moines filled out two absentee ballots in 2016, she said, because President Trump had hinted that her first ballot would be altered to count for Hillary Clinton.
Even though voting more than once is rare, a few cases make headlines. Leaning on those, Trump stirred fear and confusion about voter fraud on the campaign trail in 2016, and he’s at it again this year, repeatedly sounding alarms that one of the most fundamental pillars of democracy — voting — will be mired in fraud.
He has pointed in particular to increased reliance on mail ballots during the pandemic and the possibility (which experts say is slim) that large numbers of people might misuse them. Trump even advised North Carolina voters to test the election system’s integrity by filing a mail ballot, then showing up at the polls to vote.
Given all this alarmism over mail voting and voting twice, we wondered about the law and penalties surrounding double voting, as well as how common it is.
Our research shows that voting twice, even in states with all-mail balloting, is rare. In Washington, a mail-voting state, only 147 cases were suspected out of 3.1 million votes cast there in 2018.
States have systems that flag voters who appear at the polls but have already voted by absentee ballot. So it’s unlikely that a voter would be permitted to vote twice. But if one managed to do so, it’s a felony in most states. Federal law also makes voting twice in federal elections a felony, with a possible fine of $10,00 and five years behind bars.
In Georgia, double voters could face 10 years and a $100,000 fine. Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state and a Trump supporter, said this week he had found 1,000 cases in which people voted twice in Georgia’s primary and runoff elections this year, vowing to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
Citing all the disarray in Georgia’s elections this year, public interest groups wonder whether it was an accident. “Secretary Raffensperger has been looking for reasons to cast doubt on Georgia’s mail-in ballot system for months,” said Aunna Dennis, the executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “He would have served us all better if he had invested that time and energy into preventing the problems that occurred in June.”
Introducing ‘Sway,’ a new podcast from The Times
From Times Opinion, “Sway,” with the tech journalist Kara Swisher, is a new interview podcast about all things power: Who has it, who’s been denied it and who dares to defy it.
Swisher will take on C.E.O.s, senators, actors and activists — as well as upstarts and gatekeepers. How did these people get power? How do they actually use it? And how does their power shape your life?
You can listen every Monday and Thursday, from New York Times Opinion Audio. Listen to the trailer now; the first episode drops on Monday, Sept. 21.