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true true

IU Expert Doesn't Expect Major Delays On Election Night

election

President Donald Trump's attacks on the integrity of mail-in voting and on the election itself have raised questions about whether or not the president will accept the results. (WFIU/WTIU News)

President Donald Trump's attacks on the integrity of mail-in voting and on the election itself have raised questions about whether the president will accept the results.

Indiana University professor Leslie Lenkowsky is an expert on civic engagement and has been hosting a series of campaign discussions.

He spoke Friday with Perry Metz on Indiana Newsdesk. 

Perry Metz: Professor Lenkowsky, how will the diagnosis that the president has just received — that he has the coronavirus — affect the election?

Leslie Lenkowsky: Well, I think the president would probably have liked to focus on other issues besides his handling of coronavirus. Most polls indicate the majority of Americans don't think he’s doing very well on that. Now that he, himself, and his wife have the virus, it's going to be very difficult for him to avoid this issue to the extent he’d like to. It may even restrict his ability to go out campaigning, which is another part of his strategy. 

Metz: Now, the president may win the election. But what happens if he loses and refuses to cede the office?

Lenkowsky: Well, there are a lot of steps before that's going to happen — a lot of ifs built into that. But the key thing to remember is on Jan. 20, if Donald Trump insists that he still wants to stay in the White House, the president at the time — a person named Nancy Pelosi under our Constitution will become president if there's not a duly elected president — will undoubtedly serve an eviction notice.

Metz: We're used to receiving most results on election night itself. How different do you expect the counting to be this year, because of the very large increase in mail-in voting?

Lenkowsky: Not a lot. I think it's important to remember that many states including Indiana are already processing, in one way or another, the mail-in votes, and it's going to continue. And while there will undoubtedly be votes coming in after election day, it’s probably going to be a relatively small portion of the total. We also know that when we look at votes as they're being counted, we pay attention — at least the people looking at elections — pay attention to key precincts and get a sense as to what the differences are. Four years ago, when I was on WTIU election night, at about 9:15 (p.m. ET), I said that it looked like it was going to be a good night for Donald Trump. And the reason I thought that was the case was because A) he was doing better than expected in Indiana and B) we were beginning to get results from Wayne County, Detroit. And Mrs. (Hillary) Clinton was running well behind us Sen. (Barack) Obama on that.

Metz: We just have a few seconds left. I wonder if you're concerned about post-election violence.

Lenkowsky: I think that is a concern. About one in three Americans in both parties now feel that a certain amount of violence is justified. We've normalized this, and it goes before Donald Trump. Remember the movements to occupy Bloomington and other places. I think it's a real danger. I wish you weren't going to occur, but hopefully we will have sufficient law enforcement.

Metz: Thanks for sharing your perspective with us. Professor Lenkowsky is a professor in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IU.

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