Trump on Twitter suggests delaying November election, despite no power to change it

Changing the date of the election would require an act of Congress.

Carrie Mihalcik Former Managing Editor / News
Carrie was a managing editor at CNET focused on breaking and trending news. She'd been reporting and editing for more than a decade, including at the National Journal and Current TV.
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Carrie Mihalcik
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No president can legally change the date of the election. 

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President Donald Trump on Thursday floated the idea of an election "delay" in a tweet where he again claimed, without evidence, that mail-in voting will lead to fraud. 

"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," read the president's tweet, which is trending on the platform. "Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"

The president can't legally change the date of the election, which was set for the first Tuesday after Nov. 1 in a law passed by Congress in 1845. The election this year falls on Nov. 3. Many states have also taken steps to allow more residents to vote by mail amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Earlier this year, Twitter labeled two tweets about mail-in voting in California from the president as containing "potentially misleading information about voting processes." Twitter's label led to a page explaining that fact-checkers say there isn't any evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud. 

Twitter's action appears to have been a tipping point in a relationship between conservatives and social media companies that's long been fraught. In May, Trump signed an executive order that aims to curtail legal protections for Twitter, Facebook and other online companies.

Facebook has also started adding labels to posts about voting from federal officials and candidates in the US. While the label may appear similar to fact-checks on other social networks, the Facebook notice doesn't necessarily mean the posts contain misinformation.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Speaking to the press Thursday afternoon, Trump said he wants to know the result of the election quickly. He claimed that voting by mail could lead to not knowing who the winner is for weeks or months or "with litigation and everything else that can happen, years."

"Or you never even know who won the election," Trump said. "I want to have the result of the election. I don't want to be waiting around."

See also: Elections amid coronavirus: How officials aim to keep voters safe