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Donald Trump suggests postponing Election Day as U.S. economy shows record contraction

U.S. President Donald Trump. File

U.S. President Donald Trump. File  

Changes to Election Day, which, by law, is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, can be effected only by changing the law

U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested postponing the November 3 Presidential Election in order to avoid voting by mail, which he has repeatedly called fraudulent, without basis. Mr. Trump tweeted out his suggestion shortly after news broke that the U.S. economy had experienced a record level of contraction in the second quarter of this year.

“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???” Mr. Trump tweeted just after news emerged that the U.S. economy had shrunk  by a post-war record of 32.9% on an annualized basis as per preliminary estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. 

Minutes prior to tweeting out his suggestion, the President had tweeted that voting by mail was a “catastrophic disaster”.

“Mail-In Voting is already proving to be a catastrophic disaster. Even testing areas are way off. The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race. Even beyond that, there’s no accurate count!” he said on Thursday.

Despite the President’s claims, there is no significant evidence of extensive fraud when voting happens by mail.

“ Never in American history — not even during the Civil War and World War II — has there been a successful move to ‘Delay the Election’ for President,” Presidential historian Michael Beschloss said on Twitter.  Fifteen States had postponed their primaries or switched to vote by mail with extended deadlines, the New York Times had reported earlier this year. These where in compliance with state laws. Postponing the general election is a lot more complex though.

Changes to Election Day, which, by law, is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, can be effected only by changing the law. For this to happen the U.S. Senate and House — which is controlled by Democrats — would need to vote for such legislation.

“Let’s be clear: Trump does not have the ability to delay the election. Our elections are enshrined in the Constitution. The Constitution also says that if the date of the election is to be changed, it must be changed by Congress,” Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, said on Twitter in response to the President’s tweet.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 8:47:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/donald-trump-raises-possibility-of-delaying-november-us-presidential-election/article32231516.ece

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