Fact Check: You Can Change Your Early Vote in Some, Though Not 'Most,' States
CLAIM: You can change your early vote if you voted by mail but have since had second thoughts about the candidates.
VERDICT: INCOMPLETE. You can change your early vote in some states, though not most. You should check local rules.
President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning: “Strongly Trending (Google) since immediately after the second debate is CAN I CHANGE MY VOTE? This refers changing it to me. The answer in most states is YES. Go do it. Most important Election of your life!”
Strongly Trending (Google) since immediately after the second debate is CAN I CHANGE MY VOTE? This refers changing it to me. The answer in most states is YES. Go do it. Most important Election of your life!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2020
He was correct that Google Trends has shown a spike in people being interested in changing their vote — perhaps since the revelations about Hunter Biden emerged, or perhaps because of former Vice President Joe Biden’s promise to end the oil industry in the second debate (Oct. 22):
— Cassandra Scarebanks🎃 (@CassandraRules) October 25, 2020
Top search term on Google last 24 hours: "How do I change my vote?"
NM trend line looks nearly vertical.
— Larry Schweikart (@LarrySchweikart) October 23, 2020
Moreover, it is true that you can change your vote in some states. The issue was addressed widely in 2016.
Then-candidate Trump also told voters in early November, just days before the election, that they could change their votes in “several” states. Speaking in Wisconsin, he specified four in particular: “So if you live here or in Michigan or Pennsylvania or Minnesota, you can change your vote to Donald Trump. We’ll make America great again.”
CNN had noted a few days before:
In some states, you really can vote twice … or even three times … and it’s legal.
While the process is little known and rarely used, some states do allow voters to change their early or absentee ballots with no questions asked.
In most of the states, voters who have already cast ballots need to show up to the polls on Election Day, have their prior vote nullified, and revote in-person to have their new vote — and only the new vote — counted.
Among the states that do allow voters to change their early ballot after it’s been cast are: Wisconsin; Minnesota; Michigan; Pennsylvania; New York; Connecticut; and Mississippi.
In some battleground districts, fickle voters are out of luck. Voting more than once is prohibited in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Arizona, among others, election officials in those states told CNN.
Note that “most of the states” above seems to refer to the proportion of states that do allow you to change your vote, not most of the states overall.
CNN’s list may also not be exhaustive. Washington state appears to allow changes until Election Day, according to the New York Post.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitutionfact-checked the president’s statement and counted seven states in which changing an early vote is legal: Connecticut, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
However, it omitted Washington state.
There may be restrictions. Minnesota has a deadline for changing your vote. New York allows you to change your vote — but only if you voted absentee or by mail, not if you voted early in person.
It is difficult to know exactly why people may want to change their votes. President Trump declared that people were having second thoughts about Biden, and wanted to change their votes to choose him instead.
There is no way to be sure, although the momentum appears to be trending in the president’s direction.
For now, the best approach appears to be to check the rules in your state and with your local election authorities. (They may give different answers, so check both.)
If you’ve changed your mind about voting by mail (i.e. about how to vote, not whom you voted for), the rules also vary by state.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.