What happens if the result is disputed


US elections 2020: a report on the US presidential election airs on television

Despite incomplete results from several battlefield states that could determine the outcome of the US presidential race, President Donald Trump on Wednesday proclaimed victory over Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

The premature move confirmed concerns Democrats had expressed for weeks that Trump would seek to challenge the election results. This could set off a number of legal and political dramas in which the presidency could be determined by a combination of the courts, state politicians and Congress.

Here are the different ways the election can be contested:


Early voting data shows Democrats vote by mail in far greater numbers than Republicans. In states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that don’t count mail-in ballots until election day, early results seemed to favor Trump as they were slower to count mail-in ballots. Democrats had expressed concern that Trump, as he did on Wednesday, would declare victory before those polls could be fully counted.

A close election could lead to disputes over voting and counting procedures in battlefield states. Cases in individual states could eventually reach the US Supreme Court, as the Florida election did in 2000, when Republican George W. Bush won over Democrat Al Gore by just 537 votes. in Florida after the high court halted a recount.

Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett a Supreme Court judge just days before the election, creating a Conservative 6-3 majority that could favor the president if the courts weighed in on a contested election.

“We want the law to be used appropriately. So we are going to go to the United States Supreme Court. We want all votes to cease,” Trump said Wednesday, even though election laws in American states require that all votes are counted, and many states routinely take days to complete the counting of legal ballots.


The American president is not elected by a majority of the popular vote. Under the Constitution, the candidate who wins the majority of the 538 voters, known as the Electoral College, becomes the next president. In 2016, Trump lost the national popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton, but won 304 electoral votes against her 227.

The candidate who wins the popular vote of each state usually wins the voters of that state. This year, voters gather on December 14 to vote. The two chambers of Congress will meet on January 6 to count the votes and name the winner.

Normally, governors certify the results in their respective statements and share the information with Congress.

But some academics have sketched out a scenario in which the governor and legislature of a tightly contested state submit two different election results. The battlefield states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and North Carolina all have Democratic governors and Republican-controlled legislatures.

According to legal experts, it is not clear in this scenario whether Congress should accept the governor’s electoral list or not count the state electoral votes at all.

While most experts view the scenario as unlikely, there is historical precedent. The Republican-controlled Florida legislature considered submitting its own voters in 2000 before the Supreme Court ended the conflict between Bush and Gore. In 1876, three states appointed “dueling voters,” which prompted Congress to pass the Electoral Count Act (ECA) in 1887.

Under the law, each chamber of Congress would separately decide which “duel of the voters” list to accept. As of now, Republicans hold the Senate while Democrats control the House of Representatives, but the election tally is taken by the new Congress, which will be sworn in on January 3.

If the two chambers disagree, it is not entirely clear what would happen.


The law says that voters approved by the “executive” of each state must prevail. Many academics interpret this as the governor of a state, but others reject this argument. The law has never been tested or interpreted by the courts.

Ned Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University, called the ECA’s wording “virtually impenetrable” in a 2019 article exploring the possibility of a constituency dispute.

Another unlikely possibility is that Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as President of the Senate, could try to reject a state’s contested electoral votes entirely if the two houses cannot come to an agreement, according to the Foley analysis.

In this case, it is not clear from the Electoral College law whether a candidate would still need 270 votes, a majority of the total, or could win with a majority of the remaining electoral votes – for example, 260 of the 518 votes. who would be left if the voters of Pennsylvania were invalid.

“It’s fair to say that none of these laws have been tested before,” Benjamin Ginsberg, a lawyer who represented the Bush campaign in the 2000 conflict, told reporters on an Oct. 20 conference call. .

The parties could ask the Supreme Court to resolve any congressional deadlock, but it is uncertain whether the court would be willing to decide how Congress should count electoral votes.


A ruling that none of the candidates obtained a majority of the electoral votes would trigger a “contingent election” under the 12th Amendment to the Constitution. This means that the House of Representatives chooses the next president, while the Senate chooses the vice president.

Each state delegation to the House gets a single vote. Right now, Republicans control 26 of the 50 state delegations, while Democrats have 22; one is evenly divided and another has seven Democrats, six Republicans, and one Libertarian.

A contingent election also takes place in the event of a tie 269-269 after the election; there are several plausible paths to a dead end in 2020.

Any electoral dispute in Congress would take place before a strict deadline – January 20, when the Constitution orders the end of the current president’s term.

Under the Presidential Succession Act, if Congress still has not declared a winner for the presidency or vice-presidency by then, the Speaker of the House would serve as the interim president. Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, is the current speaker.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)


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