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Twitter, Facebook slap warning labels on Trump's posts on voting twice

"Our goal is to prevent people from sharing advice about voting twice, which may be illegal," Twitter said.
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One in Wilmington, N.C., on Wednesday.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

Twitter and Facebook on Thursday placed warning labels on President Donald Trump's latest posts on mail-in-voting, in which he suggested that voters should show up at polling places and vote in person if their mail-in ballots had yet to be counted.

"We placed a public interest notice on two Tweets in this thread for violating our Civic Integrity Policy, specifically for encouraging people to potentially vote twice," Twitter posted, quoting Trump's tweet thread. "The laws regarding the invalidation of mail-in ballots when individuals choose to vote in person are complex, and vary significantly by state. Our goal is to prevent people from sharing advice about voting twice, which may be illegal.

"To protect people on Twitter, we err on the side of limiting the circulation of Tweets which advise people to take actions which could be illegal in the context of voting or result in the invalidation of their votes," Twitter added, saying that the tweet will remain up but that other users will not be able to like, reply to or retweet it.

On Facebook, Trump's post was made to link to the company's voting information center. The label, which said, "Voting by mail has a long history of trustworthiness in the US and the same is predicted this year," was sourced to the nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center.

Earlier Thursday, Trump appeared to encourage all of his supporters to test the system by mailing in ballots and then visiting polling places.

Trump, writing on Twitter, called on supporters to return their ballots "as EARLY as possible." Then, he said, "on Election Day, or Early Voting, go to your Polling Place to see whether or not your Mail In Vote has been Tabulated (Counted)."

He said that if voters are told that their ballots had already been tabulated, "you will not be able to Vote & the Mail In System worked properly."

But if voters are told that their ballots had not been counted, they should vote in person at their polling places, he said. Trump argued that if voters cast two ballots, election officials will not count the mailed-in ballot.

"YOU ARE NOW ASSURED THAT YOUR PRECIOUS VOTE HAS BEEN COUNTED, it hasn't been 'lost, thrown out, or in any way destroyed,'" he wrote on Twitter.

Trump's statements appear to ignore the complexity of the laws governing the voting process. Each state has its own laws dictating how elections should be conducted, when absentee votes are tabulated and how officials verify that someone is not trying to vote twice.

In a number of states, officials do not begin to count mail-in ballots until Election Day or in the days that immediately precede it, although lawmakers in some states are trying adjust those timelines. In some states, officials would not be able to verify whether a mail-in ballot had been tabulated. Many states offer voters the ability to track their mail-in-ballots online.

The posts came a day after Trump encouraged North Carolinians to try to vote twice in November. The White House has walked back those comments; press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday: "The president does not condone unlawful voting, and the president has been very clear about this."

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Trump has frequently claimed that mail-in voting is ripe for fraud, an argument that not only lacks evidence but also is at odds with his campaign's attempt to get his supporters to cast their ballots by mail. Democrats have been pushing to expand access to mail-in voting in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which they say is necessary to ensure safety.

Twitter last month slapped a warning label on another of Trump's tweets about voting by mail, saying the post violated the company's rules about elections but that it would not be removed.

The label was attached to a tweet in which Trump claimed, "Mail Drop Boxes ... are a voter security disaster."