With less than a week until election day Trump is calling to declare a winner on election night, discounting millions of mail-in ballots.
Rabat – US President Donald Trump is attempting to publicly undermine the upcoming election by saying that counting all mail-in ballots is “totally inappropriate.” Trump stated that the US ought to declare a winner on election day on November 3, calling the idea “very proper and nice” after months of fervently attempting to discredit vote-by-mail.
Discrediting mail-in voting
Donald Trump is up for reelection in six days and he is trailing in the polls, often by double digits. One advantage the Republicans enjoy is that many Democrats have cast their ballots by mail, with a higher percentage of voters on election day expected to be Republican. As the US counts votes, in-person ballots are likely to come in first.
On election day, news outlets will likely see a disproportionate amount of pro-Trump votes from in-person voters before counting mail-in ballots. This phenomenon, dubbed the “red mirage,” could mean that early counts will show an overwhelming Trump win, which will slowly decrease with the count of Democratic-leaning mail-in ballots in the following days.
Trump appears to now be counting on this “red mirage” by discrediting any votes coming in after election day. The president said it was “totally inappropriate” to be counting ballots “for two weeks,” casting doubts on the legality of doing so after election day even though it is a common occurrence in the fragmented US electoral system.
Three states — New York, Rhode Island, and Alaska — have already announced they will not include mail-in ballots in election night reporting.
Battleground states Michigan and Pennsylvania have stated their count could last for several days. Some states will include mail-in ballots in the first count, meaning that Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina are likely to show a lead for Biden when results come in on November 3.
Counting ballots after election day is a common practice in US elections. Democratic primaries in the 2020 race often did not produce results for days or even weeks. In 2016, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did not see her lead in the popular vote exceed one million until one week after election day while California, Utah, and Washington continued to count votes.
In 2016 it was not until December 22 that the final tally revealed Clinton had received over 2.9 million more votes than Donald Trump.
Big problems and discrepancies
The election cycle has seen Donald Trump attempt to discredit the entire concept of mail-in ballots, escalating the tactic as November 3 approaches. On October 26 he tweeted of “big problems and discrepancies” with mail-in ballots, demanding a “final total on November 3.” Twitter flagged his tweet as factually incorrect, which included a link to information on “safe and secure” voting by mail.
With six days left until the election, Trump appears to bank on the “red mirage” theory to force commentators and news outlets into pronouncing an early result in his favor. Additionally, any disagreement over vote counting may be subject to a ruling from a Supreme Court now heavily favoring conservatives.
That court decided yesterday that the state of Wisconsin cannot count mail-in ballots on election day in a 5-3 ruling. On November 3 the Supreme Court will have an even stronger Republican majority with the addition of controversial new judge Amy Coney Barrett. As in 2000, the country’s top court could again grant the election to Republicans.