It is illegal to vote twice
State board of elections says attempting to vote twice is a Class I felony
POLK COUNTY—Polk County Board of Elections Director Cliff Marr as well as the North Carolina State Board of Elections say it is not possible to vote twice.
The state board of elections sent a press release Thursday saying it is illegal to vote twice in an election and North Carolina General Statue 163-275(7) makes it a Class I felony for a voter “with intent to commit a fraud to register to 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,” said North Carolina State Board of Elections Executive Director Karen Brinson Bell.
Marr said the county’s early voting computers would not allow someone to vote in person if they had already submitted an absentee ballot.
“When a voter returns an absentee ballot they are immediately flagged in the system as having voted,” Marr said. “The check-in computers for in-person voting have this information and the voter would not be permitted to vote a regular ballot. At that point, the voter would be required to vote a provisional ballot if they insisted on voting in-person.”
Bell said there are numerous checks in place in North Carolina that would prevent anyone from double voting. She said if a person insisted on voting again during early voting, that voter would be offered a provisional ballot and that ballot would be researched after Election Day to determine whether it should be counted.
On Election Day, voters who have voted absentee are removed from the pollbook, Bell said, which is updated before voting begins at 6:30 a.m. that day.
“Absente ballots that are received on Election Day are not counted until after the election and this prevents double voting,” Bell said.
Bell also said the state board of elections conducts audits after each election, which check voter history against ballots cast and would detect if someone tries to vote more than once.
“Because absentee ballots and early voting ballots are retrievable, if someone tries to get around the system, their ballot can be retrieved and not counted, so it will not affect the outcome of an election,” Bell said. “The state board has a dedicated investigations team that investigates allegations of double voting, which are referred to prosecutors when warranted.”
Following is information from the state board of elections regarding this year’s election and in particular, absentee by mail voting:
If you request an absentee by-mail ballot but decide later that you would like to vote in person instead, you may. You should discard your absentee ballot. Do not send it back in.
If you have already placed your ballot in the mail but are not sure whether it has been accepted by your county board of elections, North Carolina offers a few ways to check the status of your absentee by-mail ballot without leaving your home.
- Check your voter record at the State Board’s Voter Search Toolto 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 electionsif you have questions about their ballot status.
The State Board office strongly discourages people from showing up at the polls on Election Day to check whether their absentee ballot was counted. That is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.
North Carolina elections officials encourage voters to request their ballot as soon as possible and return it as soon as they are ready to do so. By doing so, you can track your ballot and ensure your vote counts.