Trump Floats Election Delay, Claims Voter Fraud Risks amid Virus
By Staff, Agencies
United States President Donald Trump on Thursday raised for the first time the possibility of delaying the US November presidential election.
Trump raised the question of a delay on Twitter and without evidence claimed risks of mail-in voter fraud.
Trump tweeted 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???"
Trump has made repeated allegations that increased mail-in voting will result in fraud. Many US states and localities are moving to use mail ballots to prevent risks of coronavirus infection.
The dates of federal elections are set by Congress which is unlikely to act, and the US Constitution makes no provisions for a delay of the January 20, 2021 inauguration of the next president.
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud through mail-in voting, even in states with all-mail votes.
Trump trails his Democratic challenger Joe Biden in US public opinion polls.
Biden predicted in April that Trump would try to postpone the US election.
"Between he and the Russians, there's going to be an attempt to interfere" in the election, Biden said in an online fundraising event on April 23.
"This president, mark my words, I think he's going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with a rationale why it can't be done," Biden warned.
Trump quickly rebuffed that comment on April 27 saying that Biden's warning was "made-up propaganda" and that he "never even thought of changing the date of the election".
On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee chairman Representative Jerrold Nadler tweeted a response to Trump's idea of delaying the election, saying that only Congress has the power to change the election date.
Trump's tweet came on a day of bad economic news and amid a dark political patch for his re-election effort, both driven in part by a nationwide resurgence in coronavirus cases.
The government reported on Thursday just minutes before Trump's tweet that the US economy shrank at a dizzying 32.9 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, by far the worst quarterly plunge ever, as the coronavirus outbreak shut down businesses, threw tens of millions out of work and sent unemployment surging to 14.7 percent.
And Trump trails in the polls, nationally and across battleground states, and some surveys even suggest traditionally Republican-leaning states could be in play. While Trump has come back before after trailing consistently in the polls throughout 2016, it has raised the possibility that he could face a landslide loss if he cannot turn things around.
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud through mail-in voting, even in states with all-mail votes. Five states already rely exclusively on mail-in ballots, and they say they have necessary safeguards in place to ensure that a hostile foreign actor does not disrupt the vote. Election security experts say that all forms of voter fraud are rare, including absentee balloting.