Senate Republicans dismiss Trump suggestion to delay elections

Trump suggested in a tweet earlier that the US should delay its presidential election over concerns about mail-in voting.

Ben Ariel ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Senate Republicans, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on Thursday dismissed US President Donald Trump’s suggestion to delay the November elections because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have concerns about mail-in ballots being the exclusive way to cast votes, but I don’t believe we should delay the elections. I want to reopen the economy in a sound way. I want people to go back to school safely,” Graham, who is up for reelection in November, told reporters, according to The Hill.

“In South Carolina, we had a very large primary in June and were able to do it in person. I think we can be able to able to safely vote in person in November,” he said.

“I think delaying the election probably wouldn’t be a good idea,” he added.

Graham made his comments after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that delaying the election would be a “legal determination” left up to the Department of Justice.

“The Department of Justice and others will make that legal determination,” Pompeo said when pressed on the issue by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Kaine asserted during the hearing that “a president cannot delay an election, the date of the election is established by Congress — it was established in 1845.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in an interview with a Kentucky television station Thursday that the November 3 election would be held “on time.”

He pointed out that elections have been held without delay during times of war and other crises throughout American history.

“Never in the history of the Congress, 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. 3rd,” said McConnell, according to The Hill.

When Winitz asked whether the November 3 election date is “set in stone,” McConnell responded “that’s right.”

Trump suggested in a tweet earlier on Thursday that the US should delay its upcoming presidential election this November, warning of mass voter fraud if universal mail-in voting is permitted.

“Mail-In Voting is already proving to be a catastrophic disaster. Even testing areas are way off. The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race. Even beyond that, there’s no accurate count!”

Trump went on to suggest delaying the election until in-person voting can be carried out safely.

Early voting, including absentee mail-in voting, has been expanding over the past two decades, rising to more than 41% of all ballots cast in the 2016 election. Of those 41% in 2016, 17% were cast in-person at early voting stations, while 24% were cast via mail-in ballots, according to the US Election Assistance Commission.

In recent elections, in particular the 2018 midterm elections, some observers have claimed that “ballot harvesting” has been used to significantly alter the outcomes of some local races.

Trump has previously warned that mail-in voting “will lead to the most corrupt election in our Nation’s History.”

His previous warnings about mail-in ballots caused Twitter to attach a warning to some of Trump’s tweets, prompting readers to fact-check the President’s claims.