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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

County elections head: Voting twice would be hard to do

Minnesota law makes effort subject to felony prosecution

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 9/9/20

REGIONAL— For weeks, President Trump has urged his supporters to vote twice in the Nov. 3 presidential election— once by mail and a second time in person on Election Day. But Minnesota …

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County elections head: Voting twice would be hard to do

Minnesota law makes effort subject to felony prosecution

Posted

REGIONAL— For weeks, President Trump has urged his supporters to vote twice in the Nov. 3 presidential election— once by mail and a second time in person on Election Day.
But Minnesota voters wouldn’t be allowed to vote twice, according to Phil Chapman, elections supervisor for St. Louis County.
“Election judges are able to tell if someone voted absentee or through a mail-in ballot,” said Chapman. That’s because each county maintains a voter roster, which county elections officials transmit to election judges in each of the polling places in the county on the morning of the election. That roster indicates which voters on the list have already submitted absentee ballots, which go automatically to St. Louis County’s elections office, so those voters would be prevented from voting again by their local election judges.
And county officials call polling places to inform election judges of additional mail-in ballots they receive on Election Day before the close of voting. Any ballots that arrive after Election Day are cross-checked with those cast in-person, according to Chapman.
Under a change in state election law, those late-arriving ballots can now be counted, but only if the voter has just voted once. If the voter also cast a ballot on Election Day, Chapman said their mail-in ballot would be rejected.
That’s one reason why such attempts to vote twice are rare, according to Chapman.
That kind of vigilance should help prevent any voter from taking President Trump’s advice and attempting to vote twice. While the county is almost certain to reject any attempts to vote twice, any voter who successfully casts two ballots could be subject to prosecution. Minn. Stat. 204C.14 makes it a felony to intentionally vote “more than once at the same election.”
That same law prevails in most U.S. states, which is why Twitter flagged the President’s tweets on the subject as a violation of its rules on election security.
Chapman said he’s confident that the president’s remarks won’t complicate the work of election officials. “That’s because there are processes and procedures in place to stop it [voting twice] from happening,” he said. “Statewide, Minnesota and St. Louis County run a very solid election. There really are very few issues in Minnesota.”
Even so, Chapman expressed frustration that misinformation about the voting process is being widely disseminated. “We do our best to get the correct information out and there and keep people on the right track,” he said.

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