By Adedayo Akinwale with agency report
The Democrats and the Republicans in Congress have kicked against the idea of delaying the November 3 United States elections, has canvassed for by President Donald Trump
Trump while speaking to journalists before departing on Marine One for travel to Midland, Texas on Thursday muted the idea, which was immediately opposed by his critics and allies, who described the notion as unserious and simply an attempt to distract Americans from devastating economic
The United States has held elections for more than 200 years, including during the Civil War, the Great Depression and two world wars. Article II of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to set the timing of elections, and the 20th Amendment ends a president and vice president’s term in office on the Jan. 20 following a general election.
Reuters reported that multiple congressional Republicans – including Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell and top House of Representatives Republican Kevin McCarthy – rejected the idea.
Trump’s statement on Twitter comes as the United States is enduring the greatest crises of a generation: a coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 150,000 lives, a crippling recession sparked by the outbreak and nationwide protests against police violence and racism.
On Thursday morning, the government reported the worst U.S economic contraction since the great depression, adding that the economy contracted by 32.9% in the second quarter, as the fast-spreading coronavirus sparked widespread lockdowns.
Trump, who opinion polls show losing ground to and trailing Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden, also said he would not trust the results of an election that included widespread mail voting – a measure that many observers see as critical given the coronavirus pandemic. Without evidence, he claimed that mail voting would be rife with fraud.
Trump in a Tweet on Thursday said, “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said, “Delaying the election probably wouldn’t be a good idea.”
While McCarthy said that, “Never in the history of the federal elections have we ever not held an election and we should go forward with our election.”
Democratic U.S. Representative, Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the House committee overseeing election security, rejected any delay
According to him, “Only Congress can change the date of our elections. Under no circumstances will we consider doing so to accommodate the President’s inept and haphazard response to the coronavirus pandemic, or give credence to the lies and misinformation he spreads regarding the manner in which Americans can safely and securely cast their ballots.”
Democrats, including Biden, have already begun preparations to protect voters and the election amid fears that Trump would try to interfere with the November election or dispute results – particularly if the final result is delayed by late-arriving mail-in ballots.
Polls have shown that U.S. registered voters oppose the idea of election delay.
When Reuters/Ipsos in April asked voters if they thought the election should be rescheduled due to the coronavirus, 59% opposed the idea, including a majority of voters in each party.
A Biden campaign official said Trump’s tweet was not a legitimate threat because he has no power to change the date of the election, and that it was an obvious ploy to distract from the awful GDP numbers.
“We’re going to keep our eye on the ball,” the Biden campaign official said.
Democratic Representative, Dan Kildee wrote on Twitter, “A sitting president is peddling lies and suggesting delaying the election to keep himself in power. “Don’t let it happen. Every American — Republican, Independent and Democrat — should be speaking out against this President’s lawlessness and complete disregard of the Constitution.”
Also, Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s voting rights project, said Trump lacked the authority to reschedule an election.
He said, “This is America. We are a democracy, not a dictatorship. The Constitution sets the date for the election in November. Nothing President Trump says, does, or tweets can change that fact.”