Trump continues his attack on postal voting ahead of Tuesday’s election

President’s comments fuel concerns he could contest the election results, particularly any close results in states like Pennsylvania

US president Donald Trump continued his attack on postal voting ahead of Tuesday's election, predicting "bedlam" in Pennsylvania as he warned that an result may not be known "for weeks."

Speaking at one of four campaign events he held in the state over the weekend, Mr Trump again raised the prospect of electoral fraud, despite officials assuring voters that a delayed result is not only possible but should be expected given the high number of absentee votes being cast.

He repeated the accusations in Iowa on Sunday. “We should know the result of the election on November 3rd. The evening of November 3rd. That’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it should be,” he said.

His message was echoed by campaign adviser Jason Miller, who speculated in an interview on ABC News that Democrats might "steal" the election.


“If you speak with many smart Democrats, they believe that President Trump will be ahead on election night ... And then they’re going to try to steal it back after the election.”

Mr Trump’s warnings have fuelled concerns that he could contest the results of the election, particularly if there is a close result in states like Pennsylvania.

More than 92 million Americans have already cast their votes, but the counting and processing of those absentee ballots will not commence in some states until Wednesday, with the result that a decisive election result is unlikely to emerge on election night.

The news site Axios reported that the president has privately discussed declaring victory publicly if it appears that he is “ahead” on election night.

Supreme court

As the debate over vote-counting continued, Democrats in Texas scored a victory as the state’s supreme court rejected a Republican-led effort to throw out almost 127,000 votes that were cast via “curbside voting” in recent days, a process that was introduced in Harris County due to coronavirus.

Republicans argued that the votes – which were cast in the heavily-Democratic area of Harris County – were illegal, but the court rejected the argument in a ruling on Sunday. However, a federal court will offer its own ruling on the issue on Monday.

Texas has witnessed an unprecedented surge in voter participation. More than 9 million people have already voted in the election – surpassing the total number of ballots cast in the state in 2016.

Given the sweeping demographic changes which have seen an influx of new residents to the state’s largest urban areas, Democrats hope that they may win Texas for the first time since 1976.

Both Mr Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden are hitting the campaign trail on Monday for the last full day of electioneering before polling day on Tuesday.

Mr Biden will campaign in Beaver County, western Pennsylvania, before holding two events in Pittsburgh, including an event with the African-American community amid concern about turnout amongst this key Democrat-voting constituency.

He will also campaign in Cleveland, Ohio. Celebrities Lady Gaga and John Legend will perform at two Biden events on Monday.

Mr Trump is scheduled to visit four states, including for a rally in Mr Biden’s home town of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

‘Not normal’

Former president Barack Obama, who will campaign in Georgia and Florida on Monday, excoriated Mr Trump's record at an event with Mr Biden in Michigan on Saturday.

Mr Obama said the US president’s behaviour was “not normal”.

“The presidency doesn’t change who you are, it shows who you are. It reveals who you are. For eight years Joe was the last one in the room... He’s got the character and the experience to make us a better country.”

The former president accused Mr Trump of being obsessed with crowd sizes, particularly the number of people who turned up to his inauguration ceremony in Washington in January 2017.

“Does he have nothing else to worry about? Did no one come to his birthday party when he was a kid? Was he traumatised?” Mr Obama asked.

The former president and vice-president later appeared together in Detroit, where they were joined by singer Stevie Wonder.

Speaking at the event, Mr Biden declared: “Millions of Americans have already voted. Millions more will vote in the days ahead, and my message to you is simple: the power to change this country is in your hands.

“I don’t care how hard Donald Trump tries. There is nothing – nothing – that is going to stop the people of this nation from voting.”

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch

Suzanne Lynch, a former Irish Times journalist, was Washington correspondent and, before that, Europe correspondent