Trump floats November election delay, but it won’t happen

By ZEKE MILLER and COLLEEN LONG

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is for the first time publicly floating a “delay” to the Nov. 3 presidential election, as he makes unsubstantiated allegations that increased mail-in voting will result in fraud.

The date of the presidential election — the Tuesday after the first Monday in November in every fourth year — is enshrined in federal law and would require an act of Congress to change, including agreement from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. The Constitution makes no provisions for a delay in the end of Trump’s term — noon on Jan. 20, 2021.

Still, the mere suggestion of the delay was extraordinary in a nation that has held itself up as a beacon to the world for its history of peaceful transfer of power, including during the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II.

Trump tweeted Thursday: “With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Trump’s tweet came on a day of bad economic news and amid a dark political patch for his reelection effort, both driven in part by a nationwide resurgence in coronavirus cases.

The government reported Thursday just minutes before Trump’s tweet that the U.S. economy shrank at a dizzying 32.9% annual rate in the April-June quarter, by far the worst quarterly plunge ever, as the coronavirus outbreak shut down businesses, threw tens of millions out of work and sent unemployment surging to 14.7%.

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