After seeing headlines blaring that Attorney General William Barr made the faux pas of the year by allegedly stating that he didn't know if it was legal to vote twice, I had to Google the issue to see if this could possibly be true. After all, even if you don't like Barr, you have to admit that he is a very articulate, intelligent and experienced individual.
Here were the headlines that popped up:
Newsweek: Bill Barr mocked after playing dumb over legality of voting.
Vox: Bill Barr interview on CNN was a train wreck.
Salon: Trump may have committed a felony by telling supporters to commit voter fraud.
www.independent.co.uk: Fury at Trump and Barr for suggesting people try and vote twice
ABC News: President Trump appears to encourage people to vote twice.
The week.com: Attorney General bar won't agree it's illegal to vote twice.
It took quite a bit of scrolling to find an article that treated the issue more fairly and balanced. One outlet I never heard of, Monte news.com, had it right: Trump suggests polling place double check for mail in voters.
The reality is that neither Trump nor Barr were suggesting that one voter would be able to have two votes.
Said Trump on Thursday: "Let them send it in and if the system is as good as they say it is, they won't be able to vote. If it isn't tabulated, they'll be able to vote."
Trump was obviously pointing out that a large percentage of mail-in votes either never arrive or are disqualified. In fact, according to a Washington Post article last week, more than 500,000 mail in votes in the last primary season were disqualified.
So, doesn't it make sense to follow up with your board of elections to determine if your mail- in ballot was actually received? If you find that it wasn't, you can indeed vote in person, at least in some states.
In New York, for instance, you can cast an absentee ballot and still show up at the polling booth on election day and tell the inspectors that you want to disregard your absentee ballot and vote in person.
Here is what is stated on the New York State Board of elections website:
- Even if you request or cast and return an absentee ballot, you may still go to the polls and vote in person. The Election Law recognizes that plans change. The Board of Elections is required to check the poll book before canvassing any absentee ballot. If the voter comes to the poll site, on Election Day or during early voting and votes in person, the absentee ballot is set aside and not counted.
With that in mind, now take another look at that interview between CNN's Wolf Blitzer and the attorney general and decide whether the treatment of Mr. Barr was fair.
Blitzer: He (Trump) is encouraging them to commit a crime by voting twice.
Barr: It seems to me what he is saying is the ability to monitor this system is not good and if it was so good and you tried to vote a second time you would be caught.
Blitzer: That would be illegal — if someone mailed a ballot and then showed up in person — that would be illegal.
Barr: Maybe you can change your vote up to a certain time. I don't know what it says in a particular state.
Even though he was apparently talking off the cuff, Barr was absolutely correct. At least in some states, you can still show up at the polling booth and change your mail-in ballot, or at least confirm whether it was received and registered.
You'd never know it from the mainstream media.
Steve Levy, former New York state assemblyman, Suffolk County executive, and candidate for governor, is now a distinguished political pundit. Levy's commentary has been published in such media outlets as Washington Times, Washington Examiner, New York Post, Albany Times, Long Island Business News, and City & State Magazine. He hosted "The Steve Levy Radio Show" on Long Island News Radio, and is a frequent guest on high profile television and radio outlets. Few on the political scene possess Levy's diverse background. He's been both a legislator and executive, and served on both the state and local levels — as both a Democrat and Republican. Levy published "Bias in the Media," an analysis of his own experience, after switching parties, with the media's leftward slant. Levy is currently Executive Director of the Center for Cost Effective Government, a fiscally conservative think tank. He is also President of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. To learn more about his past work and upcoming appearances, visit www.stevelevy.info. Read Steve Levy's Reports — More Here.
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