Trump asks early voters to change their ballots on Election Day and how to do so
By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
With momentum and the White House in sight, Republican nominee Donald Trump is appealing to voters who cast their ballot early in six states that can change their mind on Election Day and vote him. On Tuesday evening, Nov. 1, 2016, Trump pitched to voters who cast their ballots early for his opponent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton; they can still change their minds after “buyers’ remorse” and vote for him on Election Day. Trump followed his call on Wednesday morning, Nov. 2 with a message on Twitter. The GOP nominee is making aware of the little-mentioned perk in those states that allows changing their votes if they want.
On Tuesday evening, speaking at his rally Eau Claire, Wisconsin Trump let voters in the state know they can vote again and change their minds on which candidate they want in the White House. Trump spoke specifically at Democrats and a lesser extent independent voters, telling them, “This is a message for any Democratic voter who have already cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton and who are having a bad case of buyer’s remorse. In other words you want to change your vote.” The rule applies to early and absentee voters. On Wednesday morning, Trump repeated his message taking to his favorite medium Twitter. The GOP nominee wrote, “You can change your vote in six states. So, now that you see that Hillary was a big mistake, change your vote to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
With the campaign at a dead heat, Trump is looking to continue to benefit from the fallout of the FBI’s renewed investigation into Clinton private email server as Secretary of State. On Friday, Oct. 28, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congressional Committee Chairman informing them that the FBI uncovered new “pertinent” emails relating to the Clinton investigation in an unrelated case, and advised that the FBI would be reopening their investigation into Clinton’s private server. The FBI discovered 650,000 emails on the computer of disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner in their investigation of his sending sexually inappropriate text messages to an underage girl.
Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide who was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department and is now her deputy campaign chair. Abedin also had an account on Clinton’s server. FBI agents knew of the emails for two weeks before notifying Comey on Thursday, Oct. 27. The Bureau was granted a warrant to search the emails on Sunday, Oct. 30. Comey has faced praised from Trump’s campaign but criticism and attacks from Clinton her campaign and Congressional supporters and now President Barack Obama for the timing of the letter.
Most Americans voted early when Clinton was leading by the double digits at the height of Trump’s scandal. At the beginning of October, Washington Post uncovered a 2005 tape with Trump bragging about groping women because of celebrity status, and his failed attempt at an affair with a married woman. Afterward, 12 women came forward and accused Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior mostly unwanted kisses and hugs.
The revelations nearly destroyed his campaign, lost his Republican endorsement and his numbers in the polls tanked. With Clinton and the FBI in the forefront after their bureau’s October Surprise Trump has rebounded and now ties Clinton nationally and is leading in some critical battleground states. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Saturday, Oct. 29, Clinton led in early voters, with 15 percent more voters than Trump. The University of Florida’s United States Election Project determined that 19 million Americans already voted before the FBI’s news broke and that amounted to 20 percent of the population.
Some states give voters the chance to revise their vote if they change their minds. In addition to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut and Mississippi all have laws that allow voters to change their minds and cast their vote again, however, in each state the rules are different.
In Wisconsin, voters have the right to three ballots absentee or early poll voters can vote again and cancel their previous votes. In Minnesota, voters have up to a week until the Tuesday evening before the election, to cancel their last ballot. In Pennsylvania, early voting is only done by absentee ballot, and if they show up and vote on Election Day, the last vote is canceled.
In Michigan, early voting is also only by absentee ballot, but voters have to visit the clerk’s office by Monday before Election Day before the end of the work day to get a new ballot if they want to change their vote. In Mississippi, showing up on Election Day and voting cancels their previous absentee vote. While in Connecticut voters also have to vote on Election Day but they have to request that their previous absentee be canceled.
Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms Goodman is an expert in presidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.