The area’s Democratic Congresswoman joined voices from both sides of the aisle in pushing back Thursday on a suggestion from President Donald Trump that the November election be delayed due to the pandemic.
“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump tweeted. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, said the question posed by the president was a “dangerous distraction from the actual challenges we face ahead of November.”
She said that as a formal federal inspector she knows the option for mail voting is safe and secure for those worried about their health amid still-rampant COVID-19. “Beyond that, the President does not have the constitutional authority to delay the election—it isn’t legal, nor is it possible, as the authority to do so rests with Congress,” the Congresswoman said in a statement. “However, the President does have a responsibility to the American people to safeguard our elections.”
To that end, Spanberger said, the country needs a national strategy for dealing with risks to Americans’ health while still allowing their voice to be heard.
“Additionally, as federal officials indicate that foreign interference is still a major threat to our electoral system, the administration must work with Congress to build our resiliency against malign actors who seek to divide, misinform, and sow chaos,” she said.
Trump suggested the delay as he pushed unsubstantiated allegations that increased mail-in voting due to the pandemic would result in fraud, the Associated Press reported, which called a change in Election Day “virtually impossible” and “another bracing attempt by Trump to undermine confidence in the American political system.”
The date of the presidential election—the Tuesday after the first Monday in November in every fourth year—is enshrined in federal law and would require an act of Congress to change, according to the AP.
Top Republicans in Congress quickly rebuffed Trump’s suggestion as well. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the election date is set in stone and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said the election “should go forward” as planned.