FACT CHECK: During The 1st Presidential Debate, Did Joe Biden Say, ‘If You’re Going To Vote, Vote Early And Vote Often’?

Bradley Devlin | General Assignment & Analysis Reporter

A post shared on Facebook Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said during the first presidential debate: “If you’re going to vote, vote early and vote often.”

Verdict: False

A review of the debate transcripts shows Biden did not make the comment during the debate.

Fact Check:

Author Lance Wallnau originally shared the alleged Biden quote along with a photo of a television showing the first presidential debate, seemingly suggesting the former vice president made the remark during the debate. His post appears to have been deleted Wednesday evening, but duplicates remain circulating.

A review of the debate transcripts from the Daily Mail, Concord Monitor and USA Today show that Biden did make the statement during the debate. CNN’s video feed of the debate also does not show Biden making a comment to that effect. Check Your Fact didn’t find the quote on Biden’s social media accounts or in any media reports about the debate.

“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, who moderated the debate, devoted the final segment in the six-topic debate to election integrity. Wallace asked the candidates, “What are you prepared to do to reassure the American people that the next president will be the legitimate winner of this election?”

Biden said he wants to “prepare to let people vote,” adding that “they should go to iwillvote.com, decide how they’re going to vote, when they’re going to vote, and what means by which they’re going to vote.” (RELATED: Does This Video Show Joe Biden ‘Caught Red-Handed’ Using A Teleprompter During A Telemundo Interview?)

“Show up and vote,” Biden continued. “You will determine the outcome of this election. Vote, vote, vote. If you’re able to vote early in your state, vote early. If you’re able to vote in-person, vote in-person. Vote whatever way is the best way for you.”

The quote “Vote early and vote often” and similar iterations have unclear origins. In a 1926 publication, historian James Morgan credited John Van Buren, the son of President Martin Van Buren, with coining the phrase. “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations” found an instance of the quote being said by William Porcher Miles in 1858, according to the book “Safire’s Political Dictionary.” The American Archive of Public Broadcasting links the expression and its variations to a range of figures, including gangster Al Capone.

Bradley Devlin

General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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