US President Donald Trump has warned his fellow Republicans their opponents may “rig” November’s election, as his party anointed him as their candidate. Trump seeks to cast doubt on election integrity as the November elections draws close.
“They’re using Covid to defraud the American people,” Mr Trump told delegates on the first day of the party convention in North Carolina.
Mr Trump repeated his much-disputed claims that mail-in ballots could lead to voter fraud.
Opinion polls suggest he currently trails Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Addressing delegates in person at a party conference that has been dramatically scaled back by Covid-19, Mr Trump accused Democrats of “using Covid to steal an election”.
“The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election,” he said. “We’re going to win.”
On Monday, Mr Trump was officially nominated as a formality to be the Republican nominee at his party’s convention in the city of Charlotte.
Supporters cheered him, chanting: “Four more years!”
The president is expected to make live television addresses every day of the convention up to his acceptance speech to the party jamboree on Thursday. It is unusual for candidates to address the convention before that point, as Mr Trump has done.
Mr Trump has repeatedly asserted that expanded mail-in voting – which is expected to happen at an unprecedented level due the coronavirus pandemic – will lead to “the most corrupt election” in US history.
Ellen Weintraub, commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, has said: “There’s simply no basis for the conspiracy theory that voting by mail causes fraud. None.”
Mail-in voting is used by the US military, and even Mr Trump himself and members of his family.
But a recent slowdown in mail deliveries due to cost-saving measures in the US postal system has fuelled concerns that ballots might not be returned by election day.