President Donald J. Trump raised a firestorm of controversy on Thursday by suggesting the November 3 presidential election be postponed to another date.

Trump is concerned that a national mail-in ballot election would be rife with fraud and tweeted out as much this morning, "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???"

Almost immediately, both sides of the aisle exploded, as did the media. Democrat Joe Biden has insisted for months that Trump would try to find a way to delay or postpone the election. Some in the Democrat Party, including Elizabeth Warren, insist that Trump would refuse to leave should he lose the election to Biden.

After letting his critics stew on his suggestion for a few hours, Trump held a late afternoon news conference during which he explained his tweet was simply an effort to get people to focus on the possibility of fraud should universal mail-in voting be allowed.

The Democrats and the media continue to downplay the likelihood of fraud but there have been widespread problems associated with mail-in voting in states that have used it during the primary season.

Fox News reports that concerns about mail-in voting are not new. "'Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud,' read the conclusion of a bipartisan 2005 report authored by the Commission on Federal Election Reform, which was chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker."

Fox cited another, more recent example of concern about mail-in voting.

"A 2012 article in the New York Times was headlined, 'Error and Fraud at Issue as Absentee Voting Rises.' The article states that 'votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth, statistics show.'" 

Trump cited similar articles in the Washington Post, CBS News, and Wall Street Journal that concerns about fraud are widespread.

Trump is right, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the integrity of a mail-in election. I am, however, glad to learn that Trump was simply trying to raise awareness of the issue and not seriously suggesting that the election be delayed.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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