ORLANDO, Fla. — In a series of tweets Thursday morning the President Donald Trump called into question the integrity of voting by mail. Additionally, he floated the idea of postponing the presidential election.
Vote by Mail, a system that has been widely used in Florida for almost two decades, has accounted for roughly one third of all ballots cast in the last three statewide elections. The president himself voted by mail in 2018, casting his ballot from Palm Beach County.
“In any human endeavor when you have millions of people doing something there are going to be some people who will engage in fraudulent behavior, it’s just going to happen,” said Michael McDonald of the University of Florida. “Just know that supervisors of elections have systems in place to detect any fraudulent activity and take action if they find it.”
In Florida, more than 8 million people have voted by mail in the last four statewide elections. In that same time there have been just five convictions for fraud.
“Elections officials can detect it. It’s not that hard for them to see when a bunch of mail ballots all have the same signature or (are) all coming from the same address,” McDonald said.
As for the question raised by the president of moving the election date, the short answer is “no.”
“This is not within the president’s purview at all,” notes LeRoy Pernell of Florida Florida A&M College of Law. “There is no authority for a president to change it.”
Pernell notes that Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution provides that, “the Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.”
In 1845, Congress set the date as the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.
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