Bi-Partisan Anger Rises Over Trump's Attack on the November Election
As political and social tensions continue to rise and Trump’s first term comes to an end, the Presidential Election is at the forefront of many citizen’s minds. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the U.S will likely see the most widespread use of mail-in voting in the history of the country. Yet, one over the top opponent stands in the way. The President’s attack on mail-in voting has been an issue of debate on both sides of the aisle. This article aims to provide readers with the facts on mail-in voting and the possibility or rather the impossibility of “delaying the election”.
Data on Mail-in Voting
Despite Trump’s claims that “mailboxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed,” if mail-in voting was allowed, these claims are not supported by evidence. When the President posted a tweet speaking on the downfalls of mail-in voting the post was flagged and fact-checked by Twitter who directly contradicted the claims. While mail-in voting does present new security challenges mainly since it occurs in the privacy of one’s home, no data is showing “rampant” voter fraud by this method. Voting fraud in the U.S is immensely rare by any method. Over 20 years only 1100 cases of voter fraud have been proven in the U.S and only 143 of those convictions involved absentee ballots. There has also been concern surrounding the ease of international intervention in a primarily absentee voting election. At one point Attorney General Barr claimed that the expansions of absentee voting would allow for foreign countries to send in ballots with ease. However states have a strict protocol on absentee ballots and foreign meddlers would have to replicate everything from “the ballot's size, style, and even paperweight to the envelope it's mailed in — all of which often changes every election cycle and which is different from county to county.” This would make foreign meddling nearly impossible due to the nature of the election and the complexity of the mail-in voting system which is not uniform throughout the U.S. This fact coupled with the low number of proven absentee ballot fraud in the U.S shows that the President’s claims are completely unwarranted.
The Chance of Delaying Election
Beyond claiming that mail-in voting allows for increased fraud in elections, Trump has also spoken out about possibly delaying the general election till in-person voting for almost all can be done safely. His desire to do so is based entirely on his own belief that mail-in voting is fraudulent regardless of evidence proving otherwise. No matter his intentions, delaying the election would require a change in law and is a task the President could not complete himself through an executive order. Instead, he would need to have it passed through Congress, including the Democrat-run house, which would be a long and arduous process lowering the chances it will ever happen. Furthermore, Trump has faced conservative backlash for his idea that has sparked some republicans to call for his removal from office. This includes Steven Calabresi co-founder of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization, and professor of law at Northwestern University. In a scathing opinion piece published in the New York Times Calabresi called Trump’s tweets “fascistic” and demanded that all republicans in congress tell the President that he could not delay a federal election. He even went as far as to say that “anyone who says otherwise should never be elected to Congress again.” Calabresi is just one member of the growing group of republicans and conservatives against Trump’s presidency, something that the President is not happy to hear.
To conclude, data has shown that voter fraud in the United States is relatively rare and the amount of fraud done through absentee ballots is minuscule compared to the risk voters would have to face by going to vote in person. In addition, the President’s calls to delay the November election are being faced with pushback from Democrats and Republicans alike who are calling the idea unconstitutional. For that reason the chances that the election will be delayed are slim to none as the law setting the election date would have to be changed through congressional action as opposed to an executive decision.