Trump says New York election should be redone as he rails against mail-in voting

'It's a disgrace,' president says of delayed vote-counting in New York congressional primaries

Griffin Connolly
Tuesday 04 August 2020 00:54 BST
'It's a disgrace': Trump calls for new congressional elections in New York

President Donald Trump has called for New York to re-do several close congressional primary races as the state struggles to count mail-in and absentee ballots more than a month after Election Day.

"Nobody's ever seen anything like it. It's a disgrace," Mr Trump said on Monday of the state's ongoing struggles to count every voter's ballot in contests like the Democratic primary race for New York's 12th District, between House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and challenger Suraj Patel.

"They're six weeks into it now — they have no clue what's going on. ... I think you'd probably have to take the Carolyn Maloney race and run it over again," Mr Trump said.

Mr Patel trails Ms Maloney by roughly 3,700 votes at the moment, though officials disqualified more than 12,000 ballots for missing postmarks and other small errors, the New York Times has reported.

While the ballot-counting process has rankled state officials and prompted lawsuits from candidates like Mr Patel, the president made unsubstantiated claims that some people had submitted "fraudulent ballots".

Officials errantly threw away some mailed-in ballots, but there have so far been no credible reports of outright voter fraud.

The president has consistently bashed several states' initiatives to roll out expanded mail-in voting to accommodate public health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, he suggested delaying the upcoming presidential election in order for people to vote “safely”, claiming without evidence that mail-in ballots would lead to fraudulent results. Recent polling has shown Mr Trump trailing Democratic nominee Joe Biden by several percentage points both nationally and in key battleground states.

The suggestion was made in a tweet shared to his more than 84 million followers last 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.

Not a single member of Congress has signalled their support for Mr Trump's suggestion of moving Election Day back.

“I wish he hadn’t said that. But it’s not going to change — we’re going to have an election in November. And it’s going to be one people should have confidence in,” acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee Marco Rubio said last week, Politico reported.

The Constitution also does not make any provisions for a delay in the presidential inauguration, set for 21 January, 2021.

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