President Donald Trump on Thursday called for delaying the November presidential election, claiming it would be "the most inaccurate" and "fraudulent" one in US history.
"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???" Trump said on Twitter.
There is no evidence to suggest mail-in balloting is more prone to fraud than other forms of voting. A voter fraud database maintained by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank found that of the 1,290 proven cases of voter fraud dating back to the late 1980's only 223 were tied to absentee ballots.
Trump is currently lagging far behind former Vice President Joe Biden in nationwide polling with an Economist/YouGov poll released this week showing the president trailing Biden by nearly nine points.
And data released by the US government moments after Trump's proclamation depicted the worst quarterly economic dip on record -- a 32.9% contraction in GDP caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the decline "reflected" efforts to curtail the virus' spread, including stay-at-home orders that were issued in March and April.
Biden in April predicted Trump would seek a delay in the election.
"Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can't be held," Biden said during a virtual fundraiser.
Trump's proposal came amid his continued vocal opposition to mail-in balloting amid the coronavirus pandemic, which he said would lead to a "rigged election." Several states have decided to implement universal mail-in voting in order to ensure citizens are able to cast ballots as there is no end in sight to the outbreak.
Trump has no power to reschedule the polls. That falls to Congress who would have to pass legislation to change the status quo.
Under current US law presidential elections are to be on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. A change would require Congress to pass new legislation, and there has been no significant movement in that direction among lawmakers.
Doing so would be unprecedented.
"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.," Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, remarked on Twitter.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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