Monday, July 12, 2004

A lot of people have been tossing around the idea that the Bush Administration might try to postpone the elections this fall (or outright cancel them), but until now such talk was merely supposition (not that I didn't think it would happen, mind you).
The Bush administration is reported to be investigating the possibility of postponing the presidential election in the event of a terror attack.

US counter-terrorism officials are examining what steps would be needed to permit a delay, Newsweek reports.

Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge last week warned al-Qaeda was planning to attack the US to disrupt the poll but conceded he had no precise information.

In its latest edition, Newsweek reports that Mr Ridge has asked the Justice Department to examine what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the 2 November election.

This follows a letter from the chairman of the new Election Assistance Commission, DeForest Soaries, who urged Mr Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress that would allow his agency to reschedule the vote in the event of an attack.

Mr Soaries noted that while New York's board of elections suspended primary elections on 11 September 2001, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election."

No US presidential election has ever been postponed.

Abraham Lincoln was urged by some aides to suspend the election of 1864 - during the US Civil War - but despite the expectation that he would lose, he refused.

"The election is a necessity," Lincoln said. "We cannot have a free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forgo, or postpone, a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered us."
It will be interesting to see what effect this story will have on Bush's approval ratings, I can't imagine it will be anything but bad considering what a transparently desperate plan it is.