The United States has held presidential elections in November every year since 1848. Republicans have poured scorn on Donald Trump’s suggestion that this year’s poll should be postponed because of mail fraud but what would happen if there was a delay?
US President Donald Trump’s tweet on Thursday, 30 July, suggesting he wanted to delay this year’s election because of his concerns about mail-in voting, caused huge ripples in political circles.
Although the Trump campaign’s national press secretary, Hogan Gidley, told Politico the president’s tweet was “just raising a question about the chaos Democrats have created with their insistence on all mail-in voting” and was not calling for the November election to be delayed, the damage had been done.
So what would happen if this year’s election could not go ahead on 3 November?
Why Are US Elections Always in November?
Under the US constitution presidents and vice-presidents must seek election every four years and in 1845 a federal law fixed that date as the “first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.”
In 1848 Zachary Taylor, a Whig, defeated Lewis Cass and Martin Van Buren in the first presidential election to be held on that first Tuesday in November.
President Trump and his Vice President, Mike Pence, were both elected in November 2016 but not inaugurated until January 2017 and their terms of office would expire on 20 January 2021.