1888 Political Scientist: “The most complicated bit of governmental machinery which the modern world has to exhibit is that which is employed in the selection of the chief executive officer and his possible substitute for the United States”

John W. Burgess, writing in the 1888 Political Science Quarterly, recognized that the Electoral Count Act (adopted after the disputed 1876 election) provides unduly complex and contradictory set rules for choosing the president and gave too much power to the … Continue reading

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“How Likely Is It that Courts Will Select the US President? The Probability of Narrow, Reversible Election Results in the Electoral College versus a National Popular Vote”

New NBER working paper from Michael Geruso and Dean Spears: Extremely narrow election outcomes—such as could be reversed by rejecting a few thousand ballots—are likely to trigger dispute over the results. Narrow vote tallies may generate recounts and litigation; they … Continue reading

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With News That the President Has Tested Positive for Coronavirus (and He Was in Contact with Joe Biden at the Debate Earlier in the Week), What Happens If a Presidential Candidate Dies or is Incapacitated Before Election Day? A Mess

The President and First Lady reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. As the New York Times notes, “Mr. Trump’s positive test result could pose immediate difficulties for the future of his campaign against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., … Continue reading

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“Elections experts, law professors, former President of National Association of Secretaries of State urge Congress to pass state vote counting deadline extension to avoid crisis”

Release: With just a month to go before the November 3rd election, a group of 40  experts on elections and democracy are imploring Congress to support a bill that would give  states more time to tally election results.  A letter the … Continue reading

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“The Deadline That Could Hand Trump the Election; A 133-year-old law creates perverse incentives for the Trump administration—and could make a chaotic postelection period even more tumultuous.”

The Atlantic: Many Americans know that counting all of the votes in this November’s presidential election is going to take extra time. Few people realize there’s a specific deadline by which states must finish.The 1887 Electoral Count Act seems like an … Continue reading

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Must Read from Larry Diamond and Ned Foley: “The Terrifying Inadequacy of American Election Law; The country has narrowly averted catastrophic deadlocks over the presidential-election outcome before. We may not be so fortunate in 2020.”

Atlantic ideas piece: In that event, who ought to be obeyed as commander in chief starting at noon on January 20: a reelected President Trump, or an Acting President Pelosi?The best time to act to avert this disaster scenario is … Continue reading

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Analysis: Supreme Court Saves the Country from Potential Chaos by Ruling (Unanimously) That States May Replace or Punish “Faithless Electors”

The Court’s decision in Chiafalo (the Washington election case) is at this link. The per curiam opinion in Baca (the Colorado case), with Justice Sotomayor recused, is at this link. The decision is a great relief because a contrary decision, … Continue reading

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MONDAY: Important Virtual Conference at Ohio State: “What If the 2020 Presidential Election is Disputed?: An Expert Roundtable Discussion May 4, 2020 | 11:00 am – 4:30 pm”

[Bumping to the top] This is a very important conversation Monday: REGISTER NOW Pull up a (virtual) seat as a panel of nationally recognized legal scholars, political scientists, and experts in election administration, Electoral College procedures, and presidential succession grapples with the … Continue reading

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