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Trump encourages North Carolina supporters to vote by mail, as he attacks voting by mail

August 12, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, on August 8, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday expanded his mail-in voting message, encouraging North Carolina supporters to vote absentee even as he continued to assail vote-by-mail.

(CNN)President Donald Trump on Tuesday expanded his mail-in voting message, encouraging North Carolina supporters to vote absentee even as he continued to assail vote-by-mail.

Election experts have told CNN there is no real difference between absentee voting and no-excuse mail voting and the two are "essentially the same thing. "

North Carolina marks the third battleground state where Trump has signaled supporters to cast their votes by mail; he has made similar comments to supporters in Arizona and Florida.

On Monday, campaign surrogate and Trump son Eric Trump encouraged supporters to vote absentee as well, telling them at a bus tour stop, "In Florida you have an honest system, so vote absentee.

Calls for supporters to vote absentee may belie a larger concern amongst Republicans -- that they trail, significantly, in absentee ballot requests.

Per data compiled by North Carolina, as of August 12, a total of 88,212 registered Democrats had requested absentee ballots, compared with just 33,546 registered Republican voters there.

In North Carolina, any registered voter can request a mail-in absentee ballot, and no excuse is required to vote absentee by mail.

"Donald Trump's botched response to this pandemic is the reason so many North Carolinians are choosing to vote by absentee ballot this year in the first place," communications director Austin Cook told CNN.

"Voting by mail in our state -- that is, voting by absentee ballot -- is safe, secure and reliable, and that's why Trump, his family and advisers have all voted by mail in the past.

But even as Trump encouraged supporters to vote absentee, he couldn't resist casting doubt on the process, warning, "We're stopping really some very important items that they want.

"President Trump has consistently and rightly said that where a voter cannot make it to the polls, they should request an absentee ballot," Thea McDonald, the Trump campaign's deputy press secretary, told CNN on Wednesday.

"The President has also correctly distinguished between chaos-ridden universal mail-in voting systems, which led to New York's and California's train wreck primaries, and traditional absentee mail voting systems, like the tried and true system in North Carolina -- a distinction Democrats and many in the mainstream media purposely ignore to sow confusion. "

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