He tweeted, “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???”
The United States has never delayed a presidential election — notably, neither during either World War nor the Spanish Flu pandemic.
Mail-in voting has been a hot topic since the pandemic hit stateside. In Texas, Democrats filed two lawsuits, one in state and one in federal court, trying to expand Texas’ absentee ballot program to include anyone who feared contracting COVID-19 at the polls. They lost the state lawsuit while the federal one is being considered by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request to hear the case first.
But even if a court were to rule in the Texas Democrats’ favor, implementing such a broader mail-in-balloting program cannot be done at the snap of the fingers. States that have such a program took years to fully implement them — and those states are much smaller in population and size than Texas.
The tweet sparked a firestorm of reaction from Twitter pundits left and right, particularly over the call to delay the election.
A bevy of Texas Republicans weighed in on the suggestion.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) stated, “Texas and other states can safely and fairly hold the election in November. Changing the date of the election would take an act of Congress.”
Echoing McCaul’s sentiment, Retiring Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX-23) said, “When it comes to elections, only Congress has the authority to change them. The election date should not move.”
His counterpart, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX-02) emphasized, “No, it’s not even a question. No delays. We should demand safe and secure elections. If you requested an absentee ballot, you should use it. And states should not use universal mail-in, which is indeed vulnerable to mistakes and abuse.”
Rep. John Carter (R-TX-31) added, “The focus should be on holding safe, secure elections on November 3rd, not delaying them.”
When chided by POLITICO Chief Political Correspondent, Tim Alberta, about his potential reaction to former President Barack Obama alleging the same thing President Trump did, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, “I’d say, ‘no, you can’t do that,’ just like I said today.”
Texas’ other senator, John Cornyn (R-TX), told reporters he saw the tweet as a joke “so all you guys in the press, your heads will explode and you’ll write about it.”
“Obviously he doesn’t have the power to do that,” he further added.
Yesterday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) weighed in, stating, “Just to be clear, we all will approach today as a new day… a day in which we all remain committed to the legal and fundamentally important truth… that the election will be held on time in November?”
On the state level, Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) called it a “terrible idea” and Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) added, “[N]o way we should entertain delaying the election. Should not even be up for discussion.”
Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) also stated the suggestion “is not even up for discussion,” and Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) concisely replied with a gif reading “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.”
The president followed up saying his tweet was meant to get the media to start talking about the “risks” of expanded mail-in voting programs.
While fraud does exist — the Texas attorney general’s office has prosecuted 457 such offenses, two-thirds of which pertain to mail-in balloting, since 2004 — it is not easy to do, especially at the scale required to swing a presidential election.
Mail-in ballots are printed on specific weighted paper with specific ink that the vote-tallying machines require.
But fraud still can swing elections on a smaller scale that tend to have lower margins of victory.
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Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad watching and quoting Monty Python productions.