Can the President Delay the Election?

President Trump recently claimed on Twitter that the November election should be delayed because of mail-in voting, which he claims would be “inaccurate” or even “fraudulent.” Does the President have the authority to delay an election? And what is the difference between voting by mail and an absentee ballot? Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with WIZN examining the issue.

Please take a listen or read the transcription below.

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Joe: 106.7 WIZN. That’s ZZ Top with “Legs”. Heard The Who before that. I’m Joe Vega taking you through your Wednesday Rocking Ride Home, and I’m joined now by Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Paul.

Paul: Hey, Joe. How are you?

Joe: I’m doing well. Thank you for taking my phone call.

Paul: Sure.

Joe: So the question that I have for you today is last week President Trump came out and said that he thought that maybe the general election in November should be delayed because of the mail-in voting which he thinks is dangerous and possibly fraudulent. I guess the question is, can the president delay the presidential election?

Paul: Yeah. He cannot do it. It would require what they call an act of Congress. Right? We use that sort of metaphor when we think nothing’s ever gonna happen. It’s just too big of a threshold. But here, we’ve also got this unique piece that if the election is delayed, he doesn’t stay on as president. Right? So that would require a constitutional amendment, which under any set of facts isn’t possible.

That would be 2/3 a majority of both the House and the Senate. And so if it’s delayed, come January 21st, at this point, if everything else stays the same, Nancy Pelosi would be President Nancy Pelosi, and while they are counting the votes to see who the next president is. What I found interesting here was this. We have absentee ballot voting, and this is mail-in voting. So I’m like, “Really, what’s the difference here?”

Joe: Yeah, right.

Paul: Well, absentee ballot is when you have to request a ballot. You gotta say, “Hey, I need a ballot because I’m in the I’m military. I’m disabled. I’ve got an illness. I’m in prison.” Right? “I can’t physically get there to vote.” And then they approve it or disapprove it and mail it back to you. Different than mail-in voting which would be every registered voter gets a ballot in the mail. You then mail it back and that’s your vote. So in terms of the number of voters, it would be significantly different if we had mail-in versus absentee.

Joe: Right. I gotcha. And so is mail-in voting something that is gonna happen with this election?

Paul: There’s really not a ton of momentum. Everyone kind of looks at this and says, “Really?” It’s just gonna take a lot of work to make this happen. It’s kind of coming up faster than everybody thinks, and we’re all sort of on lockdown to some degree.

Joe: Right.

Paul: So the momentum is there. It’s been talked about a lot in the press. I don’t think there’s any momentum to delay the election, so I don’t think that that is getting any play. And the mail-in is something that we see that one party is very much in favor of, and the other party is very much in opposition.

Joe: Isn’t that always the case?

Paul: It’s always the case. Yeah, regardless of the issue, it tends to be on an opposite side of the aisle.

Joe: Sure.

Paul: Do I think it’s gonna happen? I would have to say that I don’t know, but we will find out very shortly, because, again, this thing would have to start moving in September in order to get this ready for the general elections in November.

Joe: Gotcha. Thank you, Paul.

Paul: Talk soon, Joe.

Joe: Remember, you can call Paul, or any of the fine lawyers at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti at 1-800-law-1010 or go online to Mel Allen’s taking over. He’s got music from Blue Oyster Cult and Bon Jovi next.