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“Can He Do That?” is The Washington Post’s politics podcast, exploring the powers and limitations of the American presidency, and what happens when they're tested. Led by host Allison Michaels, each episode asks a new question about this extraordinary moment in American history and answers with insight into how our government works, how to understand ongoing events, and the implications when branches of government collide.
27 Aug 2020 • 21 mins
Faith in the U.S. electoral system is one of the most important fundamentals of this country’s democracy.And this year, it’s being tested in unprecedented ways.Some of those challenges are emerging from the rhetoric of the president himself. President Trump has discredited mail-in voting, suggested rampant voter fraud and said he might not accept the results of the election.Most recently, Trump has threatened to use law enforcement officers to patrol polling places.In an interview last week with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump said,“We’re going to have everything. We’re going to have sheriffs, and we’re going to have law enforcement, and we’re going to hopefully have U.S. attorneys and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals. But it’s very hard."The suggestion raised concerns about voter intimidation and voter suppression.And while reporting suggests the president isn’t actively making plans to send federal law enforcement to polls, it raised significant questions about whether he could, and the other ways his words could have implications for what Americans can expect at polling places in November.So can Trump actually do this? Can Trump send law enforcement to the polls on Election Day? And if not, are there consequences for our voting system when the president even threatens to do so?On this episode of“Can He Do That” podcast, election law expert Rick Hasen and reporter Rosalind Helderman explain what the RNC is planning for Election Day and how today’s laws apply.Related reading and episodesTrump’s suggestion of deploying law enforcement officials to monitor polls raises specter of voting intimidationPostal problems persist.(But your mail-in ballot is probably safe.)How an extraordinary election season affects Trump’s reelection chances