Trump has been attacking mail-in voting for months as health and government officials are trying to make it easier and safer to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.
REALITY CHECK: Trump claims mail-in ballots will cause ‘rigged election’
Health officials have said voting by mail can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but Trump has made it clear he believes widespread mail-in voting would benefit Democrats in November’s election.
“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???” he tweeted.
Can Trump delay the election?
The U.S. president does not have the power to change the date of the election.
“President Trump does not have the ability to delay the election. Donald Trump is stating this in a tweet. But he does not have that ability,” said Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, a professor of constitutional law at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
She explained that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress that power.
“But the Constitution sets out that there shall be … a State of the Union that takes place in January. And so in order to have a State of the Union in January, there has to be a presidential election before that date,” Browne-Marshall said.
The 20th Amendment says that “the terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January.”
A change in the election date means a change in the federal law and it would need to go through the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate.
U.S. Democratic Senator Tom Udall tweeted, “There is no way @POTUS can delay the election. We shouldn’t let him distract us from his #COVID19 incompetence.”
Although the president may not be able to change the election date, Browne-Marshall said the fact that it’s even being discussed is cause for concern.
“It’s a level of concern because no matter what this country’s been through, war, famine, the Great Depression … there’s never been a delay in federal elections. So that should be a major concern right there,” she said.
“All of this is this undercuts what the framers wanted of this country and what every president — no matter if this the president would conservative or liberal — ever wanted for the country.”
Does mail-in voting increase fraud?
Matthew Lebo, chair of political science at Western University, previously told Global News that mail-in voting does not substantially increase voter fraud, and if it does at all, it would be by a “tiny, tiny amount.”
All states allow at least a portion of the population to vote by mail.
Lebo said overall voter fraud happens “extremely rarely.”
“It happens a few dozen times in the United States, over a billion ballots cast in the 21st century,” he said. “It’s a crime that does nothing for the criminal.”
Trump has made unsubstantiated allegations that voting will be rigged and has refused to say he would accept official election results if he lost.
Democrats, including presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, have already begun preparations to protect voters and the election amid fears that Trump will try to interfere with the Nov. 3 election.
— With files from Global News’ Hannah Jackson and Reuters