Can Trump delay an election? Only if Republicans let him

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a crowd President Donald Trump

President Trump on Friday pointed to the still-undecided election results in New York's 12th Congressional District, which was inundated with absentee ballots on June 23, as an example of the chaos looming if states rely on universal mail-in voting in the November presidential election.

That does not mean The Associated Press news agency and other news organisations will not call a victor. The first-term Republican governor said he would do "everything possible" to avoid another shutdown but could not rule out the possibility.

In a scathing opinion piece in The New York Times published online Thursday, the Northwestern University law professor points to what ignited his newfound ire with the president: a tweet Trump sent out shortly after news broke Thursday morning that the US economy had suffered its biggest recorded contraction ever last quarter.

For some election experts and Democrats, the prospect of similar uncertainty is especially worrisome this year, given Trump's frequent declarations that mail-in voting is fraudulent and a "threat" to his re-election. "This election will be the most rigged election in history, if that happens", the president said.

A shift to mail-in voting is increasing the chances that Americans will not know the victor of November's presidential race on election night.

According to the latest polling average by RealClearPolitics, the Democrat's Joe Biden leads Mr Trump by more than eight points nationally.


"It may be several days before we know the outcome of the election", Jocelyn Benson, Michigan's Democratic secretary of state, said in May. Indulging that expectation is irresponsible - and plays into Trump's hands. And Republican leaders briefly raised concerns a year ago when Trump was caught pressuring Ukrainian leaders to investigate Biden - an episode that would ultimately lead to his impeachment.

There have been a series of lower-profile flashpoints over the last four years that prompted modest concerns from Republicans that were quickly forgotten, and the latest debate over the election date may soon fall into that category.

Trump can not change the election date without the approval of Congress, and policymakers in both parties made clear they would oppose such a move. Edward Foley, an election law specialist at Ohio State University's law school, told the Hill that, while a large number of mail-in ballots might result in some delay, the process should not take longer than a month.

The Republican president did not deny that he was trying to cast doubt about the election results when asked directly during Thursday's press briefing. Instead, he repeatedly cited the prospect of voter fraud, which is virtually nonexistent in US politics.

Biden said he thinks Trump may use his office to intervene and predicted earlier this summer the president might try to delay the contest: "Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can't be held". "But I also don't want to have to wait three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing, and the election doesn't mean anything". "And I will oppose any attempts to delay the 2020 Election".

"Look, the president says things and tweets things all the time", the governor said. "You know nothing about what I do". I wish we would move it up, OK?

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