WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump proposed delaying the election in a tweet on Thursday, but only Congress has the authority to delay the election.
The dates of federal elections — the Tuesday after the first Monday in November — are enshrined in federal law and would require an act of Congress to change. The Constitution makes no provisions for a delay to the Jan. 20, 2021 presidential inauguration.
Federal Election Commission (FEC) Commissioner Ellen Weintraub fired back at President Trump on Twitter with a powerful rebuttal: "No, Mr. President. No. You don't have the power to move the election. Nor should it be moved."
Trump tweeted Thursday: "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???"
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud through mail-in voting, even in states with all-mail votes. Five states already rely exclusively on mail-in ballots, and they say they have necessary safeguards in place to ensure that a hostile foreign actor doesn't disrupt the vote. Election security experts say that all forms of voter fraud are rare, including absentee balloting.
Trump has increasingly sought to cast doubt on November's election and the expected surge in mail-in and absentee voting as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And Trump has called remote voting options the "biggest risk" to his reelection. His campaign and the Republican Party have sued to combat the practice, which was once a significant advantage for the GOP.
Last month, Trump told supporters in Arizona that “This will be, in my opinion, the most corrupt election in the history of our country.”
The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.