President Donald Trump on Thursday suggested the United States "delay" the upcoming 2020 presidential election, citing his belief that it will be "fraudulent." Marking the first time he has suggested pushing back the election, the president said it should be delayed "until people can properly, securely and safely vote," again expressing concerns over mail-in voting, something that many have pushed to be expanded amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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???— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2020
His remarks come after presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who is currently leading in polls, suggested in late April that the president would make an effort to delay the election. Speaking during a campaign event, Biden said, "mark my words, I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held," Politico reported at the time. He added, "that's the only way he thinks he can possibly win." The Trump campaign had responded by dismissing the claims as "the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality."
According to the Associated Press, election day, which takes place the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, is "enshrined in federal law." For an election day to be moved, it would require an act of Congress. The Constitution makes no provisions for a delay to the Jan. 20, 2021 presidential inauguration.
That Thursday tweet marked just the latest example of the president making unfounded claims that the November election will be "rigged" or "fraudulent." Just last week, Trump warned that the upcoming 2020 presidential election could be the "most corrupt election" in the United States' history due to mail-in voting. In late June, claiming that the election is "rigged," he called it the "scandal of our times." Those tweets had followed a series of tweets in May in which he alleged that "mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed" and that California Gov. Gavin Newsom "was sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there." In response to those claims, Twitter, for the first time, marked the president's remarks with a "fact check."
Despite the president’' continued claims, there is no evidence that mail-in voting contributes to widespread voter fraud. Currently, five states – California, Utah, Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – rely exclusively on mail-in ballots. Those states have safeguards in place to ensure election security, and experts claim that all forms of voter fraud are rare, including absentee balloting.