Biden Addresses Election Delays

Biden Addresses Election Delays

( – On Tuesday, former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wrongly stated that a Constitutionally-required November general election cannot be delayed or postponed. If COVID-19 is no longer a risk, Biden said he’d prefer an in-person vote over mail or other forms.

Regarding the general election of a president, the Constitution does not require a popular vote the way we normally think of them. The president is not directly chosen by voters, but by “electors.” Each state has differing rules on how electors are chosen. However, at any point, a state legislature could choose to change its law and appoint electors to the Electoral College without a public vote.

As far as a date for state legislatures to choose their electors goes, the Constitution empowers Congress to set that date. Ever since 1845, Congress has required states to appoint electors on Tuesday following the first Monday in November. While this date could change, it’s remained the same for 175 years and there seems to be little enthusiasm to alter it now.

All but one state with April primaries has pushed back their voting to June. The lone exception was Wisconsin with its Supreme Court ruling that the election must go on as scheduled. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers attempted to push back the primary date via executive order, though the court ruled he didn’t have that authority.

Biden’s statement comes at a time of uncertainty thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s understandable that even a presidential nominee could unintentionally spread misinformation. The fact of the matter is that election dates CAN be changed if Congress deems it necessary.

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