What Does NC’s Federal Delegation Think of Delaying the Election? We Called Every Member to Find Out.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Center, Saturday, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Sarah Ovaska, Michael McElroy

August 3, 2020

President Trump floated talk of delaying the election last week, but it’s up to Congress to decide when we vote. 

President Donald Trump fired off a tweet Thursday floating disputed claims of widespread election fraud and suggesting the November election should be postponed.  

“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 is facing Joe Biden, the Democratic former vice president and US senator, at the ballot box this November. 

But Trump’s suggestion that the US delay the election was met with resistance from many corners,  including from fellow Republicans like US Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said the Nov. 3 election date is set in stone.

First off, a president can’t change the date of a presidential election. That’s up to Congress. 

And there is no evidence that universal voting by mail, which is essentially an extension of absentee voting, is more susceptible to voter fraud than regular voting. Plus, voter fraud is exceedingly rare. 

According to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, “putting rhetoric aside to look at the facts makes clear that fraud by voters at the polls is vanishingly rare, and does not happen on a scale even close to that necessary to ‘rig’ an election.” 

In a recent report, the center “reviewed elections that had been meticulously studied for voter fraud” and “found incident rates between 0.0003% and 0.0025%.”

Cardinal & Pine wanted to know how North Carolina’s Congressional delegation felt about Trump’s comments and reached out to the state’s two US Senators and 12 US Representatives. [The 11th House District has been vacant since former Congressman Mark Meadows left Congress to take a job as Trump’s chief of staff.]

But not all wanted to weigh in, and several members of Congress didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. US Sen. Richard Burr’s spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll told us, “I don’t have a statement for you at this time.”

Others were much more vocal in their opposition. 

US Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Wilson Democrat, said Trump’s attacks on absentee and mail-in voting, which are one and the same in North Carolina, are baseless. 

“He absolutely has no authority to change our election date and Congress will not do it for him,” Butterfield said. “The American people will speak loudly and clearly on November 3rd.”

Graphic via Desirée Tapia for Cardinal & Pine.

Want to vote by mail? Here’s how.

Finally, are you ready to vote this November? If you want to request an absentee or mail-in ballot, we have information here on how to do that. 

And you have until Oct. 9 to register to vote for the November election. The State Board of Elections, which oversees voting in North Carolina, has put up a website with information on how to do it. 


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