30 July 2020
United States President Donald Trump on Thursday raised the idea of delaying the nation's November 3 presidential election. However, Republicans and Democrats immediately dismissed the suggestion saying the power belongs to Congress, not the president.
Trump wrote Thursday on Twitter that mail-in voting will lead to "the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history." He added, "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"
The tweet came shortly after the government reported bad economic news. The Commerce Department said the U.S. economy shrank at a yearly rate of 32.9 percent in the months of April to June: a record for the country.
With just over three months until Election Day, the president is also running behind former Vice President Joe Biden in many national and states' election polls. In addition, an increasing number of American states are making it easier for people to vote by mail during the coronavirus outbreak.
Several members of the president's Republican Party, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, quickly rejected the idea of delaying the election. McConnell told a Kentucky television station, "Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions, and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we'll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3."
Democratic U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren chairs the House committee overseeing election security. She wrote in an email to reporters, "Only Congress can change the date of our elections" and Congress will not consider it.
Republican Governor Chris Sununu of the northeastern state of New Hampshire added "Make no mistake: the election will happen in New Hampshire on November 3rd. End of story."
The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to set the dates of the U.S. presidential elections. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said, "Since 1845 we've had an election on the first Tuesday after November 1st and we're going to have one again this year." Rubio added that people "should have confidence in it."
Does mail-in voting lead to fraud?
Trump has previously claimed that mail-in voting will lead to fraud. But this is the first time he ever raised the idea of pushing back the election.
Hogan Gidley, the Trump campaign's spokesman, said "The President is just raising a question about the chaos Democrats have created with their insistence on all mail-in voting." He added that the state of New York was "sending every registered voter a ballot whether they asked for one or not."
Just weeks ago, Trump refused to say whether he would accept the results of the upcoming November election. When asked by Chris Wallace of Fox News, he said, "No, I'm not going to just say ‘yes.' I'm not going to say ‘no,' and I didn't last time, either." Trump made a similar statement during the 2016 election.
During primary elections, some states had difficulty finding workers for Election Day. Many reduced places for in-person voting. Voters and health officials have also expressed concerns about the possible dangers of spreading the virus during in-person voting.
For the general election, California has already announced plans to send ballots to all registered voters and to also have in-person voting. But many American states are still setting up their plans during the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier this month, Biden told the host of The Daily Show Trevor Noah that Trump was "going to try to steal this election." "This is a guy who said that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail, while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in the primary," Biden said.
I'm Dorothy Gundy.
Hai Do wrote this story for VOA Learning English with additional reporting from Reuters and the Associated Press. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
fraudulent –adj. something done to trick someone for the purpose of getting something valuable
polls –n. (pl.) an activity meant to find out what the public thinks in which people are asked their opinion on an issue or who they support in an election
outbreak –n. a sudden start or increase in the spread of a disease or fighting
chaos –n. complete confusion and disorder, a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything