Trump suggests delaying 2020 election over unfounded claims mail-in voting will be 'fraudulent'

President claims '2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history'

Danielle Zoellner
Thursday 30 July 2020 15:10 BST
Donald Trump on delaying the election and mail-in voting: It will be the 'most inaccurate and fraudulent in history'

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."

Democrats and Republicans alike all reacted to the news of Mr Trump pushing for a delay in the election, with most of them saying they would not allow a delay to happen.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi shared a passage of the Constitution on Twitter following the president's tweet, stating that it was the power of the Congress to determine the date of the election. When asked by reporters, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he didn't think it was "particularly a good idea" for the election to be moved.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is typically an ally of the president, initially declined to comment on the tweet. He later said in an interview: “Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this 3 November."

Senator Marco Rubio, also a Republican ally of the president, dismissed any claims the upcoming election would be fraudulent. "We're going to have an election, it's going to be legitimate, it's going to be credible, it's going to be the same as it's always been," Mr Rubio told reporters on Capitol Hill.

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 this, 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. 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.

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