At a press conference at the White House on September 24th, Mr. Trump was asked directly whether he would give up power if he lost.
“Well, we have to see what happens,” he said. “You know I complained very badly about the ballot papers. And the ballots are a disaster. ”
“But people make riots. Are you working to ensure that there is a peaceful change of power? “Asked the reporter.
“Get rid of the ballots and we will have a very peaceful one – there will be no broadcast honestly – there will be a sequel,” Trump said.
Critics understood this statement as one thing: if the president goes under, he won’t go without a fight.
What is Trump’s postal voting problem?
Over the past few months, Mr Trump has repeatedly claimed that mail-in polls lead to widespread election fraud.
The president, who votes himself by mail, told his supporters at a rally that people should test the theory by sending votes in the mail and then voting in person on election day.
Mail-in voting fraud theoretically refers to people who duplicate their votes, create fake ballot papers, or vote under a different name. However, studies show that postal voting fraud is extremely rare.
The Brennan Center for Justice, a public order institute at New York University Law School, has estimated the risk of postal voting fraud to be 0.00004 to 0.0009 percent.
Ellen Weintraub, the commissioner for the US federal election commission, also said the claim was completely unfounded.
“There is no basis for the conspiracy theory that #VoteByMail will lead to a rigged election,” she tweeted daily during her election countdown.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has also concluded that this is rare.
“There are two main characteristics of VBM [voting by mail] that raises these concerns. First, the ballot is cast out of the public eye, so the opportunities for coercion and election fraud are greater, ”says the Election Data and Science Laboratory website.
“Second, the transmission of voting slips is not as secure as traditional personal voting slips. These concerns relate to both intercepting ballot papers and soliciting ballot papers without the voter’s permission.
“As with all forms of electoral fraud, documented fraud related to postal voting is rare.”
Mail-in polls are now more timely than ever, and people are less likely to vote in voting booths during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. has recorded more than 220,000 deaths and more than eight million cases since the pandemic began.
What could Trump do if he loses the election?
Chances are we won’t have a winner on November 3rd (November 4th in Australia).
When Mr Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden are in a major swing state, it can take days or even weeks for the race to be fully completed. Counting mail-in votes takes longer than voting in person.
According to Professor Simon Jackman, CEO of the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney, the election won’t really be over until the winner is announced in January.
“If we talk about the ending, and the ending is when Congress approved the electoral college result … at that point there are no more cards to be played,” he told SBS News. “At this point the elections are really, really over in a constitutional sense. But that’s only in January. ”
In other words, from the completion of the polls to the day of inauguration, there will be plenty of time for legal maneuvers.
“In all honesty, there are a lot of legal maneuvers now more than we have ever seen in an American election,” said Professor Jackman. “And so there is plenty of space until election night to challenge postal ballot papers and to challenge various aspects of the election in court.”
What will biden do?
Professor Jackman said the same goes for Mr Biden. “Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying that Biden shouldn’t give an inch. And by the same token, if Trump wins overwhelmingly, I think Biden has a choice to make, “he said.
“Is there a dignified concession? Or is there a call to arms – both legally and on the street? ”
If there’s a clear landslide win for both candidates and it’s clear that a sufficient number of swing states aren’t close together, litigation is less likely, he said.
“If we’re not around, people will likely put their legal ammunition down and go home and call it a day.”
However, if the race is imminent, Professor Jackman said multiple states could launch legal challenges at once, with the Supreme Court potentially settling the matter.
And judging by the election debacle of the last election, Mr Biden and Mr Trump could be neck to neck.
What do the polls say?
In the run-up to the 2016 elections, Trump’s lead over Ms. Clinton was underestimated in 13 swing states. Mr Trump won eight of these 13 states, with one poll average picking the wrong winner out of five.
In a major research project by the USSC, data were compiled from survey averages in all swing states dating back 120 days before the election and compared with the same data from 2016.
Professor Jackman said the aim this time around is to create an important point of reference for a more accurate assessment of how the 2020 vote will go.
Based on this research, polls currently point to a Biden win for 2020, with the expectation to find comfortable leadership positions in key swing states like Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
This graph shows the likelihood of each candidate winning in each electoral college constituency.
According to these predictions, Mr Biden should win the election with 334 votes from the electoral college with 204 votes from Mr Trump by a comfortable margin.
Professor Jackman said Florida, one of the states that count its votes on the night of the elections, will perhaps be the most important battlefield states to watch.
“By afternoon, Australian time, all eyes will be on Florida,” he said. “Because if Trump can’t win Florida, he almost certainly won’t win the election. And I think that will tell us a lot. ”
According to the 2020 forecasts, corrected by the 2016 error, Mr Biden is expected to take Florida.
Could we see unrest if Trump loses?
Professor Jackman said it is entirely possible that some of Mr Trump’s supporters will take to the streets in protest if he loses the election. But, he said, a lot will depend on how Mr Trump reacts immediately afterwards.
“If it’s reasonably clear that Trump lost on election night, it’s whether he’s doing the usual that is involved as part of a peaceful transfer of power, and that is the concession speech,” he said. “If he does that, the protests will likely decrease.
“If instead Trump says that the outcome is not clear and we suspect widespread fraud, all hands are on deck to secure legal challenges.”
The latter is probably more likely given how vocal Mr Trump has been on the issue of electoral fraud.
He used his first televised election debate with Mr. Biden on September 30th to declare the election “rigged”.
“This is going to be a scam unlike any you’ve seen before,” he said.
Earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence was asked to clarify what he would do if Mr Biden were declared the winner and Mr Trump refused to accept a peaceful transfer of power.
“Well Susan, first and foremost, I think we’ll win this election …” he replied to the moderator during his debate with Mr. Biden’s runner-up Kamala Harris, avoiding the question.
Many thought there was every chance this campaign could get more chaotic.
The final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden will take place on Friday, October 23rd from 12:00 p.m. AEDT. Watch it live on SBS News.
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