Washington, PTI: Hours after sparking a political firestorm, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he does not want to delay the election. He, however, expressed apprehension that counting of mailed ballots could take weeks and hamper the results, leading to a compromised poll.
Trump on Thursday for the first time openly floated the idea of postponing the presidential elections in November, citing irregularities in the mail-in vote. The suggestion was immediately criticised by leaders of the opposition Democratic Party.
Later in the day, Trump walked back.
"I don't want to delay. I want to have the election. But I also don't want to have to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing and the election doesn't mean anything," Trump told reporters at a news conference when asked about his tweet suggesting election be delayed.
"With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" he had tweeted.
"Mail-In Voting is already proving to be a catastrophic disaster. Even testing areas are way off. The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race. Even beyond that, there's no accurate count!" tweeted Trump, who has been raising serious concerns over irregularities in mail-in-vote.
Trump told reporters that mail-in-vote would delay the counting of votes and election results.
"I don't want to be waiting around for weeks and months and literally, potentially, if you really did it right, years because you'll never know. These ballots are missing," Trump said.
US presidential elections are schedule to be held on November 3. Seeking his second consecutive term, Trump is facing a formidable challenge from Democratic nominee and former vice president Joe Biden, who, according to major national polls, is leading in double digits.
The presidential election date in the United States statutorily is set as "the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November" equalling "the first Tuesday after November 1".