The presidential election in November should be delayed due to safety concerns, President Donald Trump suggested 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 said via his Twitter account.
Broader use of mail-in voting is expected in 2020 because of concerns that gatherings of voters at physical voting stations could represent a ‘super-spreading event’ for the Covid-19 virus.
Twitter has already flagged as misleading previous tweets by Trump claiming that the adoption of mail-in voting would lead to election-tampering. He did not present any fresh evidence to support his claim on Thursday.
Trump’s tweet came only minutes after figures showing that the U.S. economy shrank by 9.5% in the second quarter, the biggest contraction since the U.S. started compiling such data in 1947.
Trump has trailed his opponent Joe Biden badly in most nationwide polls in recent weeks. A new poll for Fox News released on Wednesday showed Biden leading by 9% and 11% respectively in key battleground states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The idea that the virus will still be a danger to public health in November also sits awkwardly with Trump’s repeated claims over the last six months that it will disappear. As recently as mid-June, Trump had told Fox News that the virus “is fading away.” In an interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace earlier this month, he insisted “I’ll be right eventually. It’s going to disappear, and I’ll be right.”
Under the U.S. Constitution, the president has no power allowing him to delay the election. Federal elections are administered by state and local governments, although the specifics of how elections are conducted differ between the states. The Constitution and laws of the United States grant the states wide latitude in how they administer elections.