United States President Donald Trump on Sunday said he was preparing for legal challenges to the counting of mail and absentee votes, reported AP. Trump’s comments came amid reports that he is planning to declare victory on Tuesday, before the official result is announced.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” the president told journalists in North Carolina “As soon as the election is over – we’re going in with our lawyers.”

Axios has reported that the president plans to walk up to a podium on election night and declare he has won. “For this to happen, his allies expect he would need to either win or have commanding leads in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Arizona and Georgia,” an unidentified person told the news website.

Trump denied the Axios report. However, the US president has often criticised mail-in voting or postal voting in the past but has not provided any proof of fraud so far.

Results of the United States polling is usually known on the night of election day. This year, however, due to the increase in mail-in voting triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the results in many states are expected to be delayed.

At least six states in the US have planned to hold “all mail” elections. California, Utah, Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon and Washington will send postal ballots to registered voters. They will then fill it in and send them back or drop it off on election day. Half the states in the US permit any voter to vote by post on request.

Most of Trump’s claims about alleged fraud have focused on Pennsylvania where votes counted after November 3 are expected to favour his Democratic challenger Joe Biden. “Pennsylvania is critical to this election,” Biden had told a drive-in rally in Philadelphia on Sunday evening. “To beat the virus we’ve first got to beat Donald Trump. He’s the virus.”

Democrats have been worried that Trump will declare victory early. “On election night, there’s a real possibility that the data will show Republicans leading early, before all the votes are counted,” former housing secretary Julián Castro told The Guardian. “Then they can pretend something sinister’s going on when the counts change in Democrats’ favour.”

But Biden said he was confident. “My response is the president’s not gonna steal this election,” he added.