In a tweet, President Trump mused about whether the November general election should be delayed. The election could indeed be delayed, but It is not within the executive branch’s authority to change the dates of federal elections.

Art. II, Sec. 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to “determine the time of choosing electors, and the Day on which they shall give their votes, which day shall be the same throughout the United States.” The electors are chosen by the voters on Election Day. When voters select a presidential nominee, they are actually voting for that nominee’s slate of electors. Federal law sets Election Day as the first Tuesday following the first Monday of November. This date could be changed by an act of Congress.

Once chosen, the electors meet in their respective state capitols on the same day – currently the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December – to cast their votes. Those votes are then counted by Congress after it convenes in January, and, at that point, a president and vice president are elected.

States may change the manner in which electors are chosen.

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