No, Trump Doesn’t Have the Authority to Delay the Election

WASHINGTON – Today, President Donald Trump suggested the possibility that the November 3, 2020 presidential election might be delayed, saying on Twitter without evidence that the results of voting in November would be flawed.

Congress by law has set the General Election date as November 3, 2020, and the U.S. Constitution sets the end of the presidential term as noon on January 20, 2021. That is the inauguration date of the next president, which cannot be moved by the President or Congress.

Trevor Potter, president of Campaign Legal Center (CLC), and a former Republican Chairman of the Federal Election Commission, released the following statement:

“The President does not have the authority to delay the election. Federal law mandates that the General Election take place on the first Tuesday of November. Suggesting the possibility of moving the General Election is an extraordinary statement from a sitting President and is sure to create confusion amongst voters about presidential powers in relation to the election. The country has voted in general elections in the middle of a Civil War, two World Wars and the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, not to mention the Great Depression. Delay of the November election would violate both federal law and the Constitution. It is critical that members of Congress from both parties forcefully condemn Trump’s statement. Congress has the responsibility to make sure that the election takes place safely and smoothly, and that requires the Senate to include funding for state election activities in the coronavirus bill they are currently debating so that states can be prepared to handle a surge in mail voting for November. Time is running out to give the states the funding they need to get this right."