Donald Trump urged his supporters to vote more than once if they felt it was necessary at a campaign rally in Greeley, Colorado, on Sunday night. Opening the evening’s remarks by indicating his skepticism for mail-in voting, he encouraged his supporters to obtain another ballot even if they’d already sent one in and vote again.
His remarks come only short hours after a story broke of one Donald Trump supporter being arrested for voting twice in Iowa. According to The Independent, Terri Lynn Rote, 55, was booked on Thursday on a first-degree charge of election misconduct, according to the Polk County Jail. Rote, who called her decision to cast a second ballot at another location “a spur-of-the-moment thing,” said “I don’t know what came over me,” but added later that she was a Donald Trump supporter and “the polls are rigged,” an echo of Trump’s campaign rhetoric.
And according to a report by CNN, the presidential hopeful is doubling-down on his allegations of rigged polls tonight.
“Who has sent their ballots in? Now do you think those ballots are properly counted?”
“No!,” the crowd responded loudly.
“So you can go to university center, they’ll give you a ballot – a new ballot – they’ll void your old ballot, they’ll give you a new ballot, and you can go out and make sure it gets in. Some places they probably do that four or five times, but we don’t do that. So by tomorrow hopefully almost everybody will have their ballots in.”
Meanwhile, at the same time Rote was arrested, Des Moines officials reported two other cases of suspected voter fraud — people who had voted by mail-in ballot and cast ballots again at early voting locations, just as Trump suggested at tonight’s rally.
It should go without saying that this constitutes voter fraud and is highly illegal.
Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald said that it was the first time in 12 years he remembered having to report voter fraud – something Trump and Republicans continue to allege is rampant and uncontrolled as they push for voter ID laws.
“I think it shows that our voting system works in Iowa, that we’re able to catch it.”
Polk added that the reports could have been legitimate mistakes but it wasn’t his place to decide.
In fact, Trump went on to (mis)quote Obama to give strength to his allegations of voter fraud, getting in a dig at the Affordable Care Act while he was about it.
“I saw Obama say the foundations of our country are based on this, about 8 years ago when he was running, he was saying that it was crooked as hell in Chicago, right? Just like he said Obamacare’s wonderful. Keep your plan, keep your doctor, right?”
When he was done talking about voter fraud and exhorting his voters to go and vote early, Trump moved on to say that repealing Obamacare had to be his first priority in “transfer[ring] power from a failed political establishment… to our families, communities, and citizens… Real change begins with repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
In spite of efforts by the New York Times, the Brennan Center for Justice, and many others, the myth of voter fraud has remained prevalent throughout this election. And while studies continue to show no credible evidence of widespread voter fraud, with only 31 possible cases between 2000 and 2014 out of billions of ballots cast, allegations of rigged elections have particularly become a staple of the Trump campaign in the last month leading up to the election, with Donald Trump encouraging his followers in believing that the system is rigged. Unless he wins, of course. He has even hinted that he won’t accept the results of any election in which he is not elected, once again inflaming his followers to pledge likewise.
Tonight’s speech is just the latest in a series of attacks on the American electoral process – but it’s the first time he’s blatantly told his voters to recast their ballots.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]