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With less than 100 days until the United States elections, the President of the United States, Donald Trump has suggested postponing the elections on November 3. He did so through his Twitter account, arguing that the possibility of a mass vote by mail would make these elections the “most fraudulent in history”.

“Universal vote by mail (not absentee voting, which is good), the 2020 elections will be the most imprecise and fraudulent in history. They will be embarrassing for the United States. Should elections be delayed until people can vote properly and safely?“, wrote.

The coronavirus crisis has led several states in the United States to consider facilitating voting by mail, due to concerns about infections and public health, especially if a second wave of the virus is registered in the autumn, which in the United States is already has killed 150,000 people.

Earlier this month, six US states were planning to hold the November elections exclusively by mail: California, Utah, Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. These states will automatically send the ballots to all registered voters, which must then be mailed or hand-delivered on Election Day.

Trump has always been very critical of voting by mail. Despite having recognized on some occasion that He himself used this way of voting a couple of times, publicly he has always considered it a danger. In fact, in an interview with Fox News, he even said that, with the vote by mail, the Republicans would never win an election again. “If this is ever accepted, this country will never have a Republican president again.”Trump assured in the program Fox and Friends, in early April.

A quick search on their social networks is enough to find several publications against voting by mail, fueling fears of electoral fraud and saying that its generalization will lead to “the most corrupt election in history” from the USA. “Corrupt”, “dangerous”, “horrible” are some of the adjectives with which Trump has qualified the vote by mail.

On the contrary, Democrats have always defended him as a good measure to increase participation. Encouraging it would expand the voting possibilities for workers, minorities, youth and some vulnerable groups who are an important part of the Democrats’ voting base.

Now, while continuing to fall in the polls, Trump is again positioned against the vote by mail and the alleged fraud that it could represent, despite the fact that no study on the subject endorses this position. The latest Fox News polls indicated that the president was eight points behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Trump has never acknowledged these data and has defended himself by saying that the polls “are not true.”

In addition, in an interview on the same television channel, the president has refused to agree to accept the results of the next November 3. “I’m not going to just say yes. I didn’t do it the last time either,” he pointed.

Does Trump have the power to postpone them?

Despite what Trump says or suggests, the truth is that it is practically impossible to change the date of the elections. This has never happened in US history, not even during such important events as World War II, in 1944, and the President certainly does not have the power to do it unilaterally.

The Constitution establishes that the decision on the date of the elections rests solely with Congress, and a federal law of 1875 establishes how to calculate it. The elections, says the norm, will be “the Tuesday after the first Monday of the month of November in an even year”, according to the frequency with which it corresponds to renew each institution, in the case of the presidential elections, every four years.

That is, in order for Trump to change the date of the elections, he would always need the approval of the House of Representatives, who is currently a Democratic majority. And even if he got the (unlikely) support of the Democrats for it, he also couldn’t postpone the elections much further than November.

The Constitution, in its twentieth amendment, establishes that the terms of the president and vice president end on January 20 of the year following the election, at noon, the date of the investiture of the new president. Thus, on January 20, 2021 there would have to be another president elected because the mandate of the previous one ends, with no possibility of an extension.