RALEIGH — Vice President Mike Pence visited the Raleigh area Thursday, which included an anti-abortion discussion and a speech to law enforcement officers.
Pence’s visit was part of the multi-state “Life Wins! Tour” with the Susan B. Anthony List organization.
The vice president’s visit comes a day after President Donald Trump encouraged North Carolina to vote twice, which is illegal.
“They will vote and then they are going to have to check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates then they won’t be able to do that,” Trump told WECT-TV. “So, let them send it in and let them go vote.
In an interview with Eyewitness News Reporter Joe Bruno, Pence claimed Trump’s intention was for people voting by mail to verify their ballots, not cast two votes.
“What the president was referring to was if you vote by mail, go to the polls on Election Day and be sure your vote was counted,” Pence said. “In the system of absentee balloting, if your vote has already been received, that should be reflected in the balloting place that you go and cast your vote. It really is about the president’s intention that we protect the integrity of the vote. One person, one vote.”
As a result of Trump’s comments, the North Carolina State Board of Elections spent Thursday reminding people double voting is illegal. NCSBE added a banner to its website with the warning.
“It is illegal to vote twice in an election,” Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell said. “N.C.G.S. § 163-275(7) makes it a Class I felony for a voter, ‘with intent to commit a fraud to register or vote at more than one precinct or more than one time… in the same primary or election.’ Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law.”
The NCSBE discourages voters to go to the polls to check their ballot status because it is unnecessary, creates longer lines and could spread COVID-19.
According to NCSBE, to check your absentee ballot status, you can:
Check your voter record at the State Board’s Voter Search Tool to find out whether your ballot was accepted by your county board of elections. This information will appear in the voter record after a ballot has been accepted.
Sign up for BallotTrax, when it launches in the next few days, to track your ballot through the system. BallotTrax is a new service that will allow voters to track their ballot through the mail and confirm receipt by the county board of elections, much like they can track their online order or pizza delivery. When it launches, a link will be available at NCSBE.gov.
Contact your county board of elections if you have questions about their ballot status.
The CDC has asked states to have a plan in place to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as late October. Asked if a vaccine is on track for Election Day, Pence didn’t commit but did say the scientists who serve on the White House Coronavirus Task Force are confident a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine will be produced by the end of the year.
“Whether that happens in November or December we remain very confident with the ingenuity of researchers around this country,” Pence said. “We believe we will have a safe and effective vaccine by the end of this year and begin the process of putting this coronavirus once and for all in the past.”
Pence said he will “absolutely” get the vaccine when one is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. He said the first priorities for vaccine distribution though will be the most vulnerable, which are first responders and medical professions.
“But the moment a coronavirus vaccine is available for me, for my family, I won’t hesitate to take it,” Pence said.
Asked how he believes historians will view America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pence predicted the “American people are going to be proud of what we all have done to put the health of America first.”
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