Early voters who have buyer’s remorse can switch their votes before Election Day in several Midwestern states, and the Trump campaign is hoping to peel off some who backed Hillary Clinton but are having a rethink in the wake of the renewed FBI investigation into her emails.
Voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania are allowed to void their early or absentee ballots and cast a new vote. While normally not an issue, that could end up playing a bigger role this year, with October surprises and each campaign fighting vigorously to disqualify the other.
Dan Scavino, who handles social media for Donald Trump, sent out a tweet on Tuesday telling early or absentee voters in the four states there was still time to switch if they regretted voting for Mrs. Clinton.
“Feeling duped?” he said in his invitation for do-overs.
He also posted voter hotlines for each state and deadlines for switching. Minnesota’s deadline was the close of business Tuesday, while Wisconsin’s is Thursday and Michigan’s is Monday.
In Pennsylvania absentee voters who want to change their vote can show up in person at the polls and void their absentee ballot that way.
But political pros said not to expect much switching.
“I would say that it would be under the most unusual of unusual circumstances,” said Charlie Gerow, a GOP strategist based in Pennsylvania. “While there are a significant number of absentee ballots cast here because we have a big electorate, the recalling of those and redos are few and far between.”
The state has been fielding calls from folks curious about the procedure after Mr. Scavino’s tweet, said a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, though she stressed that voters will need to show up in person to cast a new ballot rather than calling.
In Wisconsin voters can “spoil” two ballots if they make a mistake or change their minds, though the state elections commission cautioned that voters choosing to do so by mail this close to Election Day risk disenfranchising themselves.
Voters in Michigan can go to their local clerk’s office to get a new ballot on or before Monday if they want to change their vote.
In Wisconsin anyone can request an absentee ballot, and voters can either mail them in or return them in person to a local municipal clerk’s office.
In Michigan and Pennsylvania, however, people need to provide a valid excuse, such as a disability, as to why they need to vote absentee and can’t make it to the polls on Election Day.
Thirty-seven states plus the District of Columbia offer no-excuse early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. That total includes Colorado, Oregon and Washington state, where all voters cast their ballots by mail.
Approximately 40 percent of all the ballots cast in the 2016 election are estimated to come before Election Day, and more than 26 million people have already voted, according to an NBC analysis Tuesday.
That means millions have cast ballots before FBI Director James B. Comey informed Congress late last week that the bureau was looking into new information that could be tied to Mrs. Clinton’s email setup — a disclosure that’s sent the Clinton campaign reeling in recent days.
“We have these hard folks on the right and the left [who] are not going to change their vote,” Rep. Sean P. Duffy, Wisconsin Republican, said on “Fox & Friends.” “But we have a lot of people in the middle who are ping-ponging as information comes out — they lean Trump, then they lean Clinton, then they lean Trump.”
Early voters, however, may be more committed to their choices than Election Day voters.
Indeed, election officials in states that allow switching said it’s pretty rare.
“It is possible, but far more people are asking about it (mostly media) than actually do it,” Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said in an email.
There have already been more than 720,000 early votes in Michigan and more than 445,000 cast in Wisconsin so far, according to NBC — well ahead of the pace from four years ago.
In Pennsylvania, the analysis showed there have been more than 131,000 ballots cast thus far — about in line with the number at this time four years ago.