No, Trump Can’t Delay the Election

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Donald Trump followed by Mike Pence walking down a line of columns
President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence, walks to a news conference. Official White House Photo by D.Myles Cullen.

On July 30, 2020, President Donald Trump suggested the possibility that the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election might be delayed, saying on Twitter without evidence that the results of voting in November would be flawed.

Suggesting the possibility of moving the general election is an extraordinary statement for a sitting President to make and is sure to create confusion among voters about presidential powers in relation to the election.

Congress by law has set the General Election date as Nov. 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 presidential term, which cannot be moved by the President or Congress.

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 COVID-19 bill it is 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.

Corey handles media relations for the CLC voting rights and redistricting teams and creates online content.