Donald Trump will reportedly declare an early victory if polling numbers show him ahead of Joe Biden on election night.
The US president has apparently revealed to those in his close circle that he will be claiming the win Tuesday night (local time) if he has the highest number of votes at the time, according to US publication Axios.
This is despite the very real possibility it could take several days, if not weeks to count this year’s record high number of mail-in votes.
Trump however, has apparently been plotting his bizarre strategy for weeks, and has even detailed a plan where he would step up to a podium on election night and declare his “win”, the publication reported.
His team has also reportedly been making preparations to claim that votes counted after November 3 are evidence of election fraud, Axios said.
A large portion of mail-in votes were expected to favour the Democrats. Trump’s team will reportedly claim that if mail-in votes from Pennsylvania see him lose the state, it would be because their opposition “stole” it from them.
The plan has been widely ridiculed since it was reported, with members of the public, journalists and experts taking to Twitter in response.
“I think the reason Trump thinks election results become official on election night is that he genuinely doesn't understand the difference between what is said in the media and official government action,” Josh Chafetz, an expert in US politics wrote.
It was described to be a more serious crime than simply cheating, by journalist Charles P. Pierce.
“This isn't ‘cheating’. It's more violent than that. It's a hijacking,” he wrote.
Mail-in ballots are in-fact legitimate votes and many states likely won’t have all votes counted by the end of November 3.
Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that mail-in ballots are susceptible to fraud, and has more recently argued that only the results available on election night should count. In a flurry of legal motions, his campaign has sought to restrict absentee balloting.
Biden says Trump can’t stop the will of Americans
“I don't care how hard Donald Trump tries. There's nothing – let me say that again – there's nothing that he can do to stop the people of this nation from voting in overwhelming numbers and taking back this democracy,” Joe Biden said on Saturday at a rally in Flint, Michigan, where he was joined by former president Barack Obama for their first 2020 campaign event together.
Data has shown that a record 90 million Americans have voted early in the US presidential election.
The high number of early voters, about 65 per cent of the total turnout in 2016, reflects intense interest in the contest, with three days of campaigning left.
Concerns about exposure to the coronavirus at busy election day voting places on Tuesday have also pushed up the numbers of people voting by mail or at early in-person polling sites.