During Raleigh visit, Vice President Pence suggests sending absentee ballot early, going to poll on Election Day

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As election officials across the state prepare to send out hundreds of thousands of absentee ballots later this week, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that “it would still be a good idea to go to the polls on Election Day to make sure that your vote is counted.” 

Pence spoke with CBS 17 during his trip to North Carolina the day after President Donald Trump also traveled to the state and suggested people attempt to vote twice

“So send it in early, and then go and vote. And if it’s not tabulated, you vote and the vote is going to count. You can’t let them take your vote away,” Trump said Wednesday. 

Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, released a statement Thursday reminding people that voting twice is illegal, and that “attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law.” 

She also said she “strongly discourages” people from following the suggestion that they go to the polls on Election Day to see if their ballot has been counted. She noted that could lead to longer lines and possibly spreading COVID-19.

Pence said: “What the president said yesterday is we have great concerns about the potential for fraud when it comes to unsolicited, universal mail-in voting. So, what we’ve urged people to do, not just people here in North Carolina, where you have a good absentee ballot system, but around the country, is if you choose to vote by mail, what the president is saying is it’s important to be sure.” 

Brinson Bell noted people can track their ballots online. 

In her statement, she said voters can: 

  1. 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. 
  2. 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
  3. Contact your county board of elections if you have questions about their ballot status. 

When asked by CBS 17 if he will tell people not to attempt to vote twice, Pence said: “Well, I think the president was very clear that if you choose to vote by mail, that it would still be a good idea to go to the polls on Election Day to make sure that your vote is counted.”  

Pence also spoke about the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC recently sent a letter to states noting federal agencies “are rapidly making preparations to implement large-scale distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the fall of 2020.”  

CBS 17 asked Pence, “Is the administration trying to exert any pressure on getting this vaccine around the time of the election, and could that undermine public confidence in the vaccine?”  

He said, “With Operation Warp Speed, what we had sought to do from literally the first week of February is make sure that we bring a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine for the people the moment that it’s available. The people here in Raleigh are proud of their great tradition in the Research Triangle here and companies here are playing a leading role in that. But, we will cut no corners on the safety of a vaccine.” 

As part of his trip to North Carolina, Vice President Pence accepted an endorsement from the Southern States Police Benevolent Association.  

He said he and the President would not support defunding the police, “not now, not ever.”  

“President Trump and I are absolutely committed to having law and order in every city and every town in America for every American of every race and creed and color. It’s the reason why, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the rioting and looting that followed, President Trump called on the governor to deploy the National Guard. We supported that, and they quelled the violence,” Pence said. “Rioting and looting is not peaceful protest. Burning out businesses, threatening and harming civilians and law enforcement is not free speech. And, we’re going to continue to stand strongly against that.”

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