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Texas Matters: Election Misinformation And Voter Suppression

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This week President Trump told supporters that it would be a good idea if they tried to vote twice: once by mail and then head to the polls.

Here’s what Trump said in North Carolina on September 2.

 On your ballots, if you get the unsolicited ballots, send it in and then go make sure it counted, and if it doesn’t tabulate, you vote. You just vote. And then if they tabulate it very late, which they shouldn’t be doing, they’ll see you voted so it won’t count. 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. These people are playing dirty politics, dirty politics.

Trying to vote twice is against the law. Anyone trying to do this will face severe legal consequences. The Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is the co-chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association. She says Trump is trying to sow confusion at the polls for political gain.

Election Meltdown

Instructing supporters to try to vote twice is one more way that President Trump is working to disrupt American democracy – that’s according to Richard Hasen, who is an expert on election law at the University of California Irvine and the author of the book “Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust and the Threat to American Democracy.”

Election Misinformation

Elections are supposed to be about persuasion, which is convincing voters with the facts that one set of public policies are better suited for their identity than a competing set of public policies. Ideally the facts are vetted, laid out and debated in a clear and transparent manner. But let’s get real. Why do that when you can just make up stuff and put it on social media and see what hits a nerve.

When there is a plethora of political agents who are more than willing to create and spread misinformation to hoodwink voters to win an election, democracy is in trouble.

A new report from the Brennan Center For Justice at New York University recommends ways for election officials, the federal government, and internet companies to protect against disinformation online that’s designed to suppress the vote.

Ian Vandewalker is the author of the report Digital Disinformation and Vote Suppression.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi