Facts First: This is yet another egregious attempt by Trump to mislead the public by sowing doubts about mail-in-voting by making false claims about the potential of voter fraud and rigged elections.
Absentee and mail-in voting
“No-excuse mail voting or absentee voting — whatever you call it — is essentially the same thing,” David Becker, founder of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research told CNN’s Marshall Cohen. “You request a ballot, you get a ballot, you vote, you send it in, and there are protections in place. It doesn’t matter whether you call it mail voting or absentee voting. It’s the same thing.”
Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine professor and one of the nation’s top experts in election law, told CNN “The President seems to be trying to distinguish between mail in voting where someone has to have an excuse and no excuse voting by mail.”
While there can be some differences in the methods used to implement absentee and mail-in voting, experts say that they are both secure ways of voting.
“The bottom line is that absentee and mail balloting are secure in America,” Wendy Weiser, the director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center, told CNN. “Election officials, Republicans and Democrats alike, pretty much universally are confident in the system.”
Mail ballot fraud
Trump’s insistence that an increase in mail-in voting this November will result in massive fraud is unfounded.
While rare instances of voter fraud from mail-in ballots do occur, it is nowhere near a widespread problem in the US election system.
“There’s so many checks and balances in the system it’s virtually impossible, I’d never say impossible, it’s virtually impossible to change the outcome of an election in a way that would be undetected,” Becker said.
Changing election day
In his tweet, Trump suggested that the election be delayed “until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”
Who has the authority to change the date of a US presidential election? In one word, Congress.
The US Constitution only permits Congress to change the date of a presidential election. In order for Trump to have that power, Congress would have to pass a new statute giving it to him.
“The presidential election date has never been changed in response to an emergency,” the report continues.
The CRS also explains that “[u]nlike the practice of some states that allow the Governor to postpone an election during emergencies, neither the Constitution nor Congress provides any similar power to the President.”
CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.