Trump may delay 2020 election due to coronavirus citing Ohio primary postponement, says Senator Sherrod Brown
Many legal scholars, however, are in agreement that the president does not have the power to delay a presidential election citing a national emergency
After Ohio halted its presidential primary election on Tuesday, March 17, due to the cornavirus pandemic, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) weighed in on how he believes that President Donald Trump could use the state's precedent to push back the 2020 presidential election.
“My concern is that in the age of Trump that other governors might think, or that the president might ask, for a delay in the November election based on something, perhaps this, perhaps something else,” Brown said, according to the Columbus Dispatch, adding, “We can’t let this be a precedent.”
Brown, however, said that he was not "super critical" of Governor Mike DeWine (R) for closing its primary just hours ahead of the poll and scheduling the election to June 2. “I wish they had done this earlier. I think they could have done this on Friday. He’s in the arena doing this, I’m not,” Brown added. “I’m not super critical of him. I just wish they had done this earlier.”
DeWine on his part defended his decision at a press conference on Monday. “We should not force them to make this choice, the choice between their health and their constitutional rights and duties," he said.
As of Thursday, there were 119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 scattered across 24 of the state’s 88 counties but experts warned the numbers are most likely to increase in the near future because of the limited number of test kits, Canton Rep reported.
State officials are still waiting on the test results of a presumptive positive coronavirus case of a 79-year-old man who passed away. If confirmed, he would the state’s first COVID-19-related death. Meanwhile, states such as Arizona, Florida, and Illinois went ahead with their primary elections and former Vice President Joe Biden was declared victorious in all three states.
Trump himself has given no indication as to whether he planned to use Ohio's postponement of the primary to delay the general election as well. "I just think an election is a very special thing,” he said of the state's move. However, the POTUS also implied at the same time that he supported DeWine’s decision. “I could understand that,” he said, Cleveland 19 reported.
Apart from Trump, the Republican Ohio governor has been praised in many quarters for his response to the crisis, but the decision to delay the primary has been met with lawsuits and criticism from some observers.
“Ohio’s action sets a dangerous precedent,” Jennifer Rubin wrote in the Washington Post. “Especially in the age of Trump, when so many norms and institutions have been under attack, the primacy of timely, regular elections must be preserved.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that “legal scholars are widely in agreement” that the president does not have the power to delay a presidential election citing a national emergency.
“The 20th Amendment says if we have not chosen a president by a certain date, it goes to succession,” Rick Hasen, an election law scholar at UC Irvine, told the LA Times. “It’s not like a delay would keep Trump in office longer.”