House GOP pushes back at Trump on changing election date

House Republicans are strongly pushing back on the idea that Election Day could be delayed after President Trump raised the prospect in a Thursday tweet.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that “he understands the president’s concerns” about mail-in voting,” but that the current Nov. 3 date should remain.

“We should go forward with our election. No way should we ever not hold an election on the day that we have it,” McCarthy said.

Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the House, said flatly that Congress is “not going to move the date of the election.”

“I am confident that the resistance from Republicans would be overwhelming against doing that — we shouldn’t do it,” she told The Hill in a brief interview Thursday.

“We need to make sure that the election is fair — I do think the Democrats make attempts to do things like, you know harvest ballots and other things, and we need to protect against that, make sure that people that vote are qualified to vote, and that those votes can be made, but we’re not moving the date of the election.”

Cheney said she broadly backs mail-in voting for those who want to vote that way but said there must be proper oversight and precautions to ensure those who aren’t eligible aren’t voting.

“I think that there are concerns, I agree with Leader McCarthy and what he’s laid out — I think absentee voting is an important thing that people need to be able to do, we want to encourage people to do that,” she said.

“But this process where you just mail ballots out to people, it leads to and can lead to tremendous fraud, so I think we’ve got to make sure that we’re doing everything possible to protect the integrity of the election system. But moving the election date is not an option and you will find overwhelming if not unanimous opposition to doing that.”

Trump in his tweet suggested that mail-in voting would lead to more fraud, though there is no evidence to suggest mail-in ballots are more susceptible to problems than in-person voting.  

“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???“ he tweeted.

Trump does not have the power to change the date of the election.

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to complicate the election, and a number of states have taken steps to make it easier for people to mail-in ballots. If the election is close, it is possible it could take longer to get a result as ballots are counted. 

Polls show Trump trailing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.  

A number of other conservative and more moderate Republicans also pushed back at Trump.

“I am dropping off my primary election ballot today. I feel safe and secure in doing so. @realDonaldTrump – no reason to mess with our election date. States must ensure procedures to monitor accuracy with federal oversight,” Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) tweeted.

First-term Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) said be believes a change would compromise the election’s legitimacy.

“Moving Election Day would seriously jeopardize the legitimacy of the election. Federal, state and local officials need to continue to work hard to ensure that Americans can vote safely, whether by voting early or on November 3,” he tweeted.

“Never in the history of the Congress, through wars, depressions and the Civil War have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told WNKY 40.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Mitch McConnell Paul Mitchell presidential election

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