WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump defended Thursday his call to delay the Nov. 3 presidential election despite receiving a lack of critical support from lawmakers.

Trump said he was “glad” that he got the media to address what he termed “the RISKS to our Democracy from dangerous Universal Mail-In-Voting (not Absentee Voting, which I totally support!).”

“Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!” he said in a series of afternoon tweets. “We are going to WIN the 2020 Election, BIG! #MAGA.”

There is no evidence to suggest mail-in balloting is more prone to fraud than other forms of voting. A voter fraud database maintained by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank found that of the 1,290 proven cases of voter fraud dating back to the late 1980’s only 223 were tied to absentee ballots.

Several states have decided to implement universal mail-in voting in order to ensure citizens are able to cast ballots as there is no end in sight to the outbreak. The plans have off-set the likelihood that a winner will be announced on election night, as is normally the case, due to the need to count ballots not collected at polling stations that day.

Trump is currently lagging far behind former Vice President Joe Biden in nationwide polling with an Economist/YouGov poll released this week showing the president trailing Biden by nearly nine points.

And data released by the US government moments before Trump’s proclamation depicted the worst quarterly economic dip on record — a 32.9% contraction in GDP caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said the decline “reflected” efforts to curtail the virus’ spread, including stay-at-home orders that were issued in March and April.

Trump has no power to reschedule the polls. That falls to Congress who would have to pass legislation to change the status quo. Congress mandated in 1845 that Election Day must be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

While Trump’s suggestion that the polls be re-scheduled was widely expected to be rejected by Democrats, it was met with outright rejection from many Republicans as well.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s most ardent allies in the senate, said he does “not support delaying the November election.”

“My goal is to continue safely reopening our economy and schools for the fall. I believe we can achieve these goals and have a free and fair election as scheduled,” he said on Twitter.

Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Thune dismissed outright the president’s call during a CNN interview, saying “I think that’s probably a statement that gets some press attention, but I doubt it gets any serious traction.”

The sentiments were shared by several prominent Republicans in the House where Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger said “Reminder: Election dates are set by Congress. And I will oppose any attempts to delay the #2020Election.”

Dusty Johnson, South Dakota’s sole House representative, said that moving the date of the election would “seriously jeopardize” its legitimacy, calling on officials to “ensure that Americans can vote safely, whether by voting early or on November 3.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, responded to Trump by referencing the Constitution, which states “Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes.”

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