U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday raised the idea of delaying the U.S. presidential election set for November 3rd, 2020.
Trump wrote on Twitter, "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???"
Trump, without evidence, repeated his claims of mail-in voter fraud - despite his election website offering absentee ballots for voters. Trump, who is trailing in the polls, has no legal authority to delay the election - a power granted exclusively to Congress.
Democrats are mounting their most extensive voter protection effort ever to gird for what Joe Biden called his biggest fear: the prospect that Trump will try to interfere with the Nov. 3 election or refuse to accept its outcome.
Interviews with more than a dozen party officials reveal how Democrats, in coordination with Biden's presidential campaign, are preparing for fights over absentee ballots, potential voting recounts and the possibility that Trump's Republican supporters will seek to intimidate voters at the polls.
The Democratic Party has hired voter protection directors in 19 key states to lead more comprehensive operations than in past cycles and filed a record number of lawsuits ahead of the election trying to make voting easier. Thousands of election monitors and lawyers will be mobilized across the country on Election Day, the officials told Reuters.
Republicans say that while they are making routine preparations for recounts and voting irregularities, they are more focused on combating efforts to expand mail-in balloting.
Trump has cast doubt on the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, which have been used in far greater numbers in primary elections amid the coronavirus pandemic. He has also made unsubstantiated allegations that voting will be rigged and has refused to say he would accept official election results if he lost.
A person briefed by the Biden campaign on its strategy told Reuters that the former vice president's staff was bracing for a "nightmare scenario" in which Trump is leading the in-person vote count in battleground states on election night but complains the contest is being stolen from him in ensuing days as mail-in ballots get counted.
One party official in a battleground state who asked not to be identified said the campaign was quietly coordinating a legal strategy with state-level party staff for post-election scenarios such as the 2000-style Bush v. Gore recount.
Trump is "laying the groundwork to say: 'The election was stolen, there was fraud, we're going to go to court, we're going to call out people on the streets,'" said Mark Brewer, an elections lawyer who is helping train Democratic legal volunteers in Michigan. "The guy is capable of anything, so we have to plan for everything."