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Voting Twice In One Election, As Trump Suggested, Is Illegal In Ohio

Rebecca Roth reviews applications for election ballots at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak
Associated Press
Rebecca Roth reviews applications for election ballots at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Cleveland.

In North Carolina on Wednesday, President Trump told votersto vote in person after already casting a ballot through the mail. Trump claimed that if they are declined the right to vote, they’ll know their mail-in ballot counted. But that's illegal in Ohio.

Jen Miller from the League of Women Voters of Ohio says voters should not do what Trump suggested, even if it’s just to test the mail-in ballot system.

“It is absolutely illegal to attempt to vote twice," Miller says. "We do not want to see Ohio citizens doing that."

Gov. Mike DeWine, in an interview with "The State Of Ohio," agreed: "We don't want people to do that."

Ohioans can request absentee ballots from their county board of elections and vote by mail, or they can vote in-person, either early at the board of elections or at their polling place on Election Day.

“So there's ample opportunity for four weeks for people to vote in Ohio," DeWine says. "So we just ask everybody to take advantage of that and go vote."

For those who vote absentee, Secretary of State Frank LaRose suggest residents use an online feature that allows them to track the status of their applications and ballots, which all 88 county boards of elections offer.

LaRose says a voter who is marked in the pollbook as requesting an absentee ballot will be given a provisional one if they show up in person to vote. Only one vote will count.

But knowingly casting two votes in one election is against Ohio law, and voters who do that have been prosecuted in the past.

“If you intentionally voted twice, it would be absolutely, you're not allowed to do that," DeWine said. "In fact, we prosecuted a few people who were referred, some cases back to local prosecutors, when that occurred. So, no, you can't you can't do that."

Trump, who himself votes using mail-in ballots, has recently questioned their validity and made baseless claims about voter fraud.

Although the governor says he supports Trump's reelection effort, DeWine added, "He's not always right about everything, nor is any president. Nor is any, every governor, and certainly not this governor."

LaRose has repeatedly said Ohio has a system with a lot of checks and balances. Voters who are concerned about putting their ballots in the mail system can deposit them in a drop box at their county board of elections.

Early in-person voting begins on October 6. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 31, although election officials and voting rights advocates encourage people to begin the process as soon as possible.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.