Thursday, October 27, 2016

Legal Processes for Contesting the Results of a Presidential Election

"Questions occasionally surface regarding potential voting fraud or election irregularities in presidential elections. (See, for example, Sean Sullivan and Philip Rucker, “Trump’s Claim of ‘Rigged’ Vote Stirs Fears of Trouble,” Washington Post, October 18, 2016, p. A1; Edward-Isaac Dovere, “Fears Mount on Trump’s ‘Rigged Election’ Rhetoric,” Politico, October 16, 2016; Daniel Kurtzleben, “5 Reasons (And Then Some) Not to Worry About A ‘Rigged’ Election,” NPR, October 18, 2016). If legitimate and verifiable allegations of voting fraud, or indications of misconduct by election officials on election day are presented, what legal recourses are available to complainants to litigate and potentially to remedy such wrongs and to contest the result of a presidential election?

Presidential elections are conducted in each state and the District of Columbia to select “electors” from that state who will meet and formally vote for a candidate for President on the first Monday following the second Wednesday in December. Under the United States Constitution, these elections for presidential electors are administered and regulated in the first instance by the states, and state laws have established the procedures for ballot security, tallying the votes, challenging the vote count, recounts, and election contests within their respective jurisdictions. A candidate or voters challenging the results of a presidential election in a particular state would thus initially seek to contest the results of that election in the state according to the procedures and deadlines set out in the laws of that specific state..."
Election Contestation

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