Resources for Teachers and Students
FOR THE WEEK OF AUG. 03, 2020
Congress vows not to delay November’s election, a possibility suggested by President Trump
Summarize any new U.S. politics coverage, national or local.
Share a quote about or from President Trump or Joe Biden, the Democrat running against him.
Look for a young voter or student talking about public affairs. React to what she or he says.
The Nov. 3 presidential election, just three months away, will not be rescheduled because of concerns about health safety or increased use of mail ballots amid the pandemic. President Donald Trump last week seemed to endorse a possible delay with a tweet that drew negative reactions immediately from officials in both political parties. Only Congress can postpone national voting. "Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "We'll find a way to do that again."
The president stirred discussion by saying that reliance solely on mail voting would "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???" Hours later at the White House, he clarified: "Do I want to see a date change? No. But I don't want to see a crooked election. … What will happen in November – it's a mess." In any event, the Constitution gives Congress the power to schedule elections for its members and the president, which occur on the first Tuesday in November. And in its 20th Amendment, America's governing document says each president's and vice president's four-year terms end Jan. 20, whether an election is held or not.
Though Trump and his attorney general cite concerns about the safety of voting by mail, election experts say there's no evidence that absentee voting increases fraud. Last week's tweet was the first time the president openly speculated about moving Election Day. A spokesman for his campaign says: "The President is just raising a question about the chaos Democrats have created with their insistence on all mail-in voting." A week earlier, Trump hedged when journalist Chris Wallace of Fox News asked if he'd accept losing his try for a second term. "No, I'm not going to just say 'yes.' I'm not going to say 'no.'" More recently, Attorney General Bill Barr was asked during a House hearing what he'd do if Trump loses the election but refuses to concede. "If the results are clear I would leave office," he said, stopping short of a definitive reply.
Republican says: "I have concerns about mail-in ballots being the exclusive way to cast votes, but I don’t believe we should delay the elections. . . . I think we can be able to safely vote in person in November." – Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.
Professor says: "That will never happen politically, given that it would never pass a Democrat-controlled House and hopefully would not be entertained by a Senate controlled by Republicans on a close margin." – Robert Tsai, law professor at American University in Washington, D.C.
Past White House press secretary says: "Mr. President — please don't even pretend to mess with this. It's a harmful idea." -- Ari Fleischer, a Republican who worked for George W. Bush
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