President Trump’s suggestion that November elections may need to be delayed, simply doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on, according to Virginia Tech political scientist Chad Hankinson.

“In a nutshell, Congress, for very pragmatic reasons, has exercised their power by setting federal elections for the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November,” said Hankinson. “This lines up with their authority under Article 2 to set the date for selecting electors for president and vice president.  As a result, it would require an act of Congress to change the date for national elections.”

Trump tweeted that universal mail-in voting will lead to the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history.

“The potential for fraud is fairly minimal,” said Hankinson. “States use protective measures to limit the likelihood of fraud. Questioning that is the greater problem, and does more harm to electoral integrity than the limited number of fraud cases that happen each election.”

“At the very least, Trump may be looking to somehow delay certifying elections results or trying to undermine the legitimacy of those results.  To what end he wants to do the latter isn’t totally clear. I assume it is with the hope of extending his presidency for as long as he can, but if the election isn’t certified by inauguration day it looks like the speaker of the House would have to serve as an interim president,” said Hankinson.

Chad Hankinson focuses his teaching and research on American politics, media and politics, and political parties.

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To secure a live or recorded interview with Chad Hankinson, contact Bill Foy by email, or by phone at 540-998-0288.   

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