“Protect Democracy Releases Legal Memo on Constitutional Prohibition Against Delay of Elections for Partisan Purposes”


More at Take Care:

In all of the discussion about the political ramifications of yesterday’s special election in Alabama, let’s not lose sight of the most important point: there was an election.  That shouldn’t be taken for granted.  We were dangerously close to a situation in which one party orchestrated the delay of an election to avoid losing—a situation that would have endangered the very foundation of our democracy.  Because such an idea was even considered at a high level—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly sent a secret memo to the White House Counsel’s Office floating theories for how to do this—we must take seriously the threat that such a plan could be deployed in another election in the future. We must also be clear now on why that would never be permissible (or constitutional).

To recap: In the weeks leading up to the special election, as accusations of misconduct appeared to weaken Roy Moore’s standing in the polls and it seemed he might leave the race, Republican leaders explored options for delaying the election—presumably to reduce their party’s chances of losing.  To her credit, Governor Ivey never gave any public indication that she was considering a delay.  But the next governor placed in her shoes may not be so principled.  Troublingly, one study earlier this year found that half of the Republican respondents said that they would support postponing an election if President Trump called for it.

Postponing or canceling an election to shore up one party’s chances of victory would be dangerous and antithetical to American democracy.  It would also be unconstitutional.


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