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Michigan's Nessel and Benson react to Trump: Voting twice is illegal

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Trying to vote twice this November in Michigan could land you in jail, Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday, a day after President Donald Trump suggested North Carolina residents try voting through the mail and in person to test security systems.

"The president’s idea is a great one for people looking to go to jail," said Nessel, a first-term Democrat.

During a visit to North Carolina on Wednesday, a reporter asked the Republican president about that state's election system. Trump has repeatedly raised concerns about widespread mail-in voting during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"They will vote and then they are going to have to check their vote by going to the poll and voting that way because if it tabulates then they won’t be able to do that," Trump said, according to the Associated Press. "So, let them send it in and let them go vote."

On Thursday, Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, who's Michigan's top election official and a Democrat, issued a statement saying voter fraud in the state is "typically prosecuted as a felony."

"Our election system has been stress-tested by three successful elections already this year and in all of them proven that it is absolutely safe and secure," Benson said. "We have protections in place to ensure election officials track and verify every ballot they send and receive and in every instance we ensure that each person gets only one vote."

A statewide audit released in 2017 found that 31 Michiganians appeared to vote twice in the November 2016 presidential election — once by absentee ballot and once in person on Election Day.

The discoveries led then-state Elections Director Chris Thomas to refer the cases to Attorney General’s Office for the first time in at least 36 years.

Six months later, then-Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican, hadn't brought charges in any of the instances.

cmauger@detroitnews.com