The Independent employs reporters around the world to bring you truly independent journalism. To support us, please consider a contribution.
Donald Trump has suggested delaying the upcoming presidential election in order for people to vote “safely”, as he continues to claim mail-in ballots will lead to fraudulent results.
The suggestion was made in a tweet shared to his more than 84 million followers on Thursday.
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???” Mr Trump wrote.
Congress holds the power to set the dates for federal elections, not the president. The Constitution also does not make any provisions for a delay in the presidential inauguration, set for 21 January, 2021.
FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub said Mr Trump does not have the power to move the election, “nor should it be moved”, Reuters reported.
House Administration Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren said: “Only Congress can change the date of our elections, and under no circumstances will we consider doing so to accommodate the President’s inept and haphazard response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Mr Trump has claimed, without evidence, in recent months that a mail-in ballot system for the upcoming election amid the coronavirus pandemic would lead to rigged results against himself.
Since making these accusations, it has been pointed out that Mr Trump, as well as members of his administration, have all voted by mail in past elections. Mail-in ballots are also utilised by service members overseas, and five states – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Hawaii – universally allow their residents to vote by mail for each election.
Democratic lawmakers have pushed for mail-in ballots, specifically during the coronavirus pandemic. States like New York, Arizona, and Michigan even loosened their absentee ballot rules to allow any resident to vote by mail during the primary elections.
Election security experts have said voter fraud is rare, including with absentee ballots. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative organisation, looked into Oregon’s mail-in ballot system and found that only 14 cases of mail-in ballot fraud occurred in the 15.5 million ballots cast in the state since 1998.
Despite these facts, Mr Trump has heightened claims that the election will be rigged, causing concern the president would attempt to fight the election results come November if he were to lose.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace specifically asked Mr Trump if he would accept the election results.
“I have to see. Look … I have to see,” he said. ”No, I’m not going to just say ‘yes.’ I’m not going to say ‘no,’ and I didn’t last time, either.”
Mr Trump has also riled up his supporters with ideas that the election could be fraudulent come November. When speaking to a crowd in Arizona last month, he said: “This will be, in my opinion, the most corrupt election in the history of our country.”
Attorney General William Barr was asked about mail-in voting when speaking in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. He claimed there could be a “high risk” of voter fraud due to ”the wholesale conversion of election to mail-in voting”. But when asked if the 2020 election would produce rigged results, Mr Barr said he had “no reason to think” it would.
Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? Start your Independent Premium subscription today.
Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium.
It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss
real-world solutions, and more. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when
they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. The most insightful comments on all subjects
will be published daily in dedicated articles. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies
to your comment.
The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to
Independent Premium. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post
the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Please
continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates.
Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Start your Independent Premium subscription today.
News – Trump suggests delaying the election