Donald Trump has suggested a delay to November’s presidential election, claiming it will be the “most inaccurate and fraudulent in history”.
However, election dates are set by the US Congress and are enshrined in federal law – meaning they would require an act of Congress to change.
There are also no constitutional provisions for a delay to the presidential inauguration in January 2021.
Mr Trump – who is trailing presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the polls – floated the idea of a delay after criticising the country’s plans for increased postal voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He 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???”
The tweet came on the same day the US economy shrank at a rate of 32.9% in the April-June quarter – by far the worst quarterly plunge ever.
Even in states with all-mail votes, there is no evidence that postal voting will result in widespread voter fraud.
Five states which exclusively use postal votes already say they have the right safeguards in place to ensure the vote is not disrupted.
Security experts say that all forms of voter fraud are rare, including absentee balloting.
Mr Trump has called remote voting options the “biggest risk” to his re-election and has increasingly sought to cast doubt on the November vote.
Last month, he told supporters in Arizona that “this will be, in my opinion, the most corrupt election in the history of our country”.
And in a recent interview with Fox News, Mr Trump refused to commit to accepting the results of November’s election.
“I have to see. Look … I have to see,” the president told the news channel.
“No, I’m not going to just say ‘yes.’ I’m not going to say ‘no,’ and I didn’t last time, either.”
Back in April, Mr Trump ruled out trying to change the date of the election, saying: “I never even thought of changing the date of the election.
“Why would I do that? November 3rd. It’s a good number. No, I look forward to that election.”
“I’m not thinking about it at all,” he added. “Not at all.”