Joseph R. Biden said Sunday that President Trump is not going to be able to “steal” the 2020 election.
Mr. Biden was responding to a question about reports that Mr. Trump might try to declare victory and call the race on Election Night regardless of how many votes are left to be counted — reports the president batted down on Sunday.
“My response is, the president is not going to steal this election,” Mr. Biden said at a local campaign stop in Philadelphia.
Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala D. Harris said earlier in the day that the goal is to run up the score so that such a situation becomes impossible.
“First of all, we plan to decisively win this election so I don’t think we’re going to need to get to that point,” Ms. Harris told reporters.
Axios reported on Sunday that Mr. Trump plans to declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks like he’s ahead and that his team will claim Democrats stole the election if the picture ends up changing based on ballots that are tallied up in the ensuing days.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr. Trump denied that he’ll jump the gun in proclaiming victory.
“We’ll look at what happens,” the president said. “I think it’s a terrible thing when ballots can be collected after an election.”
“I think it’s terrible when we can’t know the results of an election the night of the election in a modern-day age of computer,” he added.
Mr. Trump’s simply declaring victory wouldn’t have much of a practical effect, but it could shape the court of public opinion in what both sides are forecasting could be a very messy legal battle given the expansion of vote-by-mail during the coronavirus pandemic and the overtime ballot-counting windows in key states like Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
“As soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” Mr. Trump said.
Al Gore ended up conceding the 2000 election to former President George W. Bush and taking it back later as the outcome in Florida hung in the balance.