Trump suggests delaying 2020 elections, claims mail-in voting amid pandemic will be 'incorrect and fraudulent'
President Donald J Trump, on Thursday morning, July 30, suggested that this year's presidential elections set in November should be delayed. The unprecedented suggestion from the Republican came while he was complaining about universal mail-in voting amidst an ongoing pandemic. The president, however, does not have the power to delay the 2020 elections unilaterally.
Trump tweeted: "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???"
Amid rising calls for mail-in voting in the country amidst the coronavirus crisis, Trump has been staunchly opposed to the idea of voting by mail, stating it would not be an ideal democratic exercise and would lead to fraud. There is no evidence to support the president's idea that either absentee or mail-in ballots contribute to voter fraud.
Dr Stephen J Farnsworth, Professor of Political Science, University of Mary Washington, while speaking to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), said that the president's tweet about the 2020 election delay could be an attempt to divert attention away from criticism over his handling of the current coronavirus crisis in the country. "The US election will occur on time in November regardless of the president’s tweets. The tweet may be an attempt to divert attention from the fact that as of this week more than 150,000 Americans have died of Covid 19."
Thursday's tweet marked the first time the Republican has raised the idea of delaying the November elections. He had previously rejected similar concerns during the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Amidst rising confusion about the future of the 2020 poll, some had questioned whether President Trump and his administration had the power to postpone the national poll at their will citing the coronavirus crisis, which has already pushed the country to the brink of recession.
Michael A Genovese, President, Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University, however, had told MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) that there would be elections this year come what may. "We've held elections during World Wars and Civil War. This virus, as devastating as it has been, will not stop the 2020 election."
"What most people do not know is that there is not 'a' single election system, but 50+ different elections for president. The states and territories by law, conduct elections. That means that there are often 50+ different sets of rules," Genovese added. "Confusing, yes. But it is the system set up by the Constitution. All elections are codified by state law, and therefore the federal government has limited powers over the election." Dr J Farnsworth had previously resonated with the belief, stating: "There is very close to a zero percent chance that the November US presidential election will be delayed." Gregg R Murray, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at Augusta University, however, said that a delay in the national poll this year is not entirely inconceivable. However, it could only occur if an action was taking by the US Congress in exceptional circumstances. The expert stated that there would be immense resistance to postponing the presidential elections because of the "fundamental role that elections play in our system of government and democracy."
"At this point, ten states have postponed their primary elections due to coronavirus concerns, so it’s not inconceivable to think the presidential election in November could be postponed, too," Murray said. "But I don’t think that’s highly likely. It would take action by the US Congress to change the November 3 date." The expert added that although an election delay was improbable, the 2020 poll might see a reduced voter turnout if the coronavirus health care in not settled by November.