Kansas congressional delegation mostly silent on Trump’s call to delay Nov. 3 general election

photo by: AP Photo/J. David Ake

In this Jan. 21, 2018 file photo, lights shine inside the U.S. Capitol Building as night falls in Washington.

After President Donald Trump’s suggestion Thursday morning that the Nov. 3 general election should be delayed, only two members of Kansas’ congressional delegation specifically said they opposed the idea when asked for comment by the Journal-World.

Rep. Sharice Davids, the state’s lone Democrat in Congress, and outgoing Sen. Pat Roberts both voiced clear opposition to postponing the general election. Three of Kansas’ congresspeople did not respond to the Journal-World’s request for comment: Rep. Steve Watkins, a Topeka Republican who represents the Douglas County area; Rep. Roger Marshall, a Republican who represents much of western Kansas and is a candidate for Roberts’ open Senate seat; and Rep. Ron Estes, a Wichita Republican. The remaining member of the delegation, Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, issued a one-sentence statement to the newspaper through a spokesperson: “Sen. Moran believes there will be no delay.”

In his tweet, the president called for delaying the 2020 general election until people can “properly, securely and safely vote” because of his concerns about mail ballots being susceptible to fraud, and he said that the 2020 election “will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history.”

In reality, Trump does not have the power to delay a federal election — only Congress can do that — and data doesn’t support the idea that mail-in ballots produce widespread amounts of fraudulent voting.

Davids, who represents Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, said Trump was undermining the nation’s elections through his rhetoric.

“The President does not have the power to delay the November election — only Congress does. His claims about mail-in voting have been debunked time and time again and this tweet only serves to undermine people’s faith in our elections,” Davids said in a statement. “Kansans and people across the country can rest assured that voting by mail is an easy and safe way to cast your ballot and make your voice heard.”

And Roberts, who is retiring after a 40-year career in politics, told the Journal-World plainly that the Nov. 3 election should not be postponed.

“There are few things nowadays that Americans can count on,” Roberts said in a statement. “Election Day is one of those. We should not postpone.”

Another Kansas political figure also voiced opposition to the idea on Thursday: Secretary of State Scott Schwab, the state’s elections chief.

“In Kansas, we have implemented measures to ensure the security and safety of the August and November elections,” Schwab said in a statement, adding that he and his office “respectfully ask” the Kansas delegation to not support any election delay.

“Now is not the time to act in fear but to show the world we are courageous,” Schwab said.

Around the nation, politicians on both sides of the aisle voiced opposition to the idea, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3,” McConnell said in an interview with a Kentucky television outlet.

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