US President Donald on Thursday raised the idea of delaying the November 3 Presidential elections, asserting that postal voting by all voters being adopted in some states because of the Covid-19 crisis could lead to fraud.
He asked in a tweet, “Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
However, any such effort by Trump would be futile as the President does not have the authority to delay the elections and the Constitution gives only the Congress the power to set the election day and the Democrats hold the majority in the House of Representatives.
The tweet appeared to be an attempt at distraction from the crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy, which had been one of his strong suites before the coronavirus crisis, shrunk by 9.5 per cent in the last quarter as measured by the gross domestic product.
The pandemic has continued to grow amid accusations of mismanagement by Trump and he is lagging his Democratic opponent Joe Biden by as much as 10 per cent in some polls.
Trump tweeted, “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.”
California, the most populous US state, has announced plans to send all voters postal ballots because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which could put some people at risk if they went personally to the polling stations.
The issue of postal voting by all registered voters — instead of only those who request it for reasons set out — has created a split along the party lines.
The Democratic Party supports universal postal voting, while Republicans are sceptical about it.
The security of the postal votes, as well as their effectiveness, has been questioned even in their limited use. For example, in New York state, after the postal ballots surged because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the board of elections has not been able to announce most primary election results even a month after the polls.
The rate of rejections has also been much higher — as much as 20 per cent in some cases.
Democrats have also raised the possibility that Trump will not leave office if he loses the election.
Hillary Clinton told an interviewer that the US will have to be ready for Trump not accepting the election result if he loses and whether “he’s going to go quietly or not”.
Trump himself added to the controversy by refusing during a Fox News interview to categorically say if he would accept the election result. “I have to see,” he said.