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Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News: Delay a Presidential election?

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SALT LAKE CITY — It’s possible for a presidential election to be delayed in the United States. But the President can’t delay it. That’s a job for Congress, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

The question was raised after President Trump questioned, via a series of Tweets, whether the upcoming presidential election should be delayed over concern of voter fraud.

“It’s simply not going to happen,” University of Utah Law Professor Paul Cassell told KSL Newsradio.

“This looks like talk [by the President],” Cassell told guest host Maria Shilaos. “I’m not really sure it’s a serious suggestion. It’s got triple question marks or something like that.

“I think he’s trying to highlight his concern about voter fraud,” Cassell said.

The President’s tweets


Utahns have only to look to their most recent election, the June 2020 Primary Election, for an example of successful mail-in voting, Cassell said.

“We have very common absentee ballot procedures in Utah. And that’s the way the Constitution intended the voting procedures to be set up: Utah sets up its procedures, California and other states set up theirs, and each state then is responsible for determining a way to ensure that votes are accurately cast and accurately counted.”

A video on the webpage explains what the state does to ensure a valid election, including:

  • a bar code on the back of each mail-in ballot, which gives a voter credit for voting and assures that voter can only vote once;
  • a privacy tab on each envelope, which when lifted by an election worker reveals the voter’s signature. The signature is then checked against signatures on file for the same voter. If it matches, the signature tab is removed, assuring that your vote remains anonymous.
  • a verified ballot envelope is opened, and the ballot is removed, folded, and prepared for processing through a scanner, which totals the votes.

The most common reason for a ballot to be rejected is because the ballot isn’t signed, or the signature does not match a signature on file.

Utahns react

Several Utah politicians responded to the President’s tweets on Thursday, including Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who, as Lt. Governor, helps oversee the state’s elections;