Why Trump's Election Delay Tweet Matters

01 Août, 2020, 15:52 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a crowd President Donald Trump

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 USA economy had suffered its biggest recorded contraction ever last quarter. Trump's ultimate goal, however, may have less to do with the election date than undermining the results of the election if he loses. He tweeted that "Universal Mail-In Voting" - something that has not been proposed - would lead to "the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history".

He insisted the delay had nothing to do with poll after poll showing him falling further behind Joe Biden.

The prospect of a delayed election was rejected by fellow Republicans.

"The president also must know that tweeting about a delay - even framed as an 'I'm just asking!' question - is sure to ignite a political firestorm, particularly after he has repeatedly refused to say whether he'd accept an adverse result in the upcoming presidential election".

But haven't states delayed their elections?

"It may be several days before we know the outcome of the election", Jocelyn Benson, Michigan's Democratic secretary of state, said in May.

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Delayed results are common in a few states where elections are already conducted largely by mail. But a presidential election has not been left in limbo since 2000, when ballot irregularities in Florida led to weeks of chaos and court fights. The president also does not have the constitutional power to postpone an election - only Congress does.

Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, an outspoken critic of the president, joined Reid on Friday's installment of "The ReidOut" to urge Democrats not to play Trump's "game" of allowing him to continue to be president if no victor is determined following the election.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate, dismissed the idea of an election delay, saying it hasn't happened before and won't happen now.

The city saw a huge surge of mail-in ballots this year during the coronavirus pandemic - 403,000, compared with 23,000 in the 2016 primary. Many states expect to be scrambling to process millions more in November. They reassured voters that the election would proceed on the constitutionally mandated day as it has for more than two centuries.

That does not mean The Associated Press news agency and other news organisations will not call a victor. For example, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation allowing county election officials to start processing mail-in ballots 29 days before the election. More than a week later, after election officials were able to tally all the mail votes that arrived on Election Day, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema won the senatorial race by more than 2 percentage points.

Arizona has since changed its procedures to try to speed up the vote count.


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