What Happens If Result Is Disputed

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US Election Thriller: What Happens If Result Is Disputed

US Elections 2020: A information report of the US presidential election is seen on tv display

Regardless of incomplete outcomes from a number of battleground states that might decide the result of the U.S. presidential race, President Donald Trump proclaimed victory over Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Wednesday.

The untimely transfer confirmed worries Democrats had voiced for weeks that Trump would search to dispute the election outcomes. That might set off any variety of authorized and political dramas during which the presidency may very well be decided by some mixture of the courts, state politicians and Congress.

Listed here are the varied methods the election might be contested:


Early voting information reveals Democrats are voting by mail in far better numbers than Republicans. In states comparable to Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that don’t rely mail-in ballots till Election Day, preliminary outcomes appeared to favor Trump as a result of they had been slower to rely mailed ballots. Democrats had expressed concern that Trump would, as he did on Wednesday, declare victory earlier than these ballots may very well be absolutely tallied.

A detailed election might end in litigation over voting and ballot-counting procedures in battleground states. Instances filed in particular person states might finally attain the U.S. Supreme Court docket, as Florida’s election did in 2000, when Republican George W. Bush prevailed over Democrat Al Gore by simply 537 votes in Florida after the excessive courtroom halted a recount.

Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court docket justice simply days earlier than the election, making a 6-3 conservative majority that might favor the president if the courts weigh in on a contested election.

“We would like the regulation for use in a correct method. So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court docket. We would like all voting to cease,” Trump mentioned on Wednesday, regardless that election legal guidelines in U.S. states require all votes to be counted, and plenty of states routinely take days to complete counting authorized ballots.


The U.S. president just isn’t elected by a majority of the favored vote. Beneath the Structure, the candidate who wins the vast majority of 538 electors, often called the Electoral Faculty, turns into the subsequent president. In 2016, Trump misplaced the nationwide common vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton however secured 304 electoral votes to her 227.

The candidate who wins every state’s common vote usually earns that state’s electors. This 12 months, the electors meet on Dec. 14 to forged votes. Each chambers of Congress will meet on Jan. 6 to rely the votes and title the winner.

Usually, governors certify the ends in their respective states and share the data with Congress.

However some lecturers have outlined a state of affairs during which the governor and the legislature in a intently contested state submit two totally different election outcomes. Battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and North Carolina all have Democratic governors and Republican-controlled legislatures.

In accordance with authorized consultants, it’s unclear on this state of affairs whether or not Congress ought to settle for the governor’s electoral slate or not rely the state’s electoral votes in any respect.

Whereas most consultants view the state of affairs as unlikely, there may be historic precedent. The Republican-controlled Florida legislature thought of submitting its personal electors in 2000 earlier than the Supreme Court docket ended the competition between Bush and Gore. In 1876, three states appointed “dueling electors,” prompting Congress to cross the Electoral Depend Act (ECA) in 1887.

Beneath the act, every chamber of Congress would individually determine which slate of “dueling electors” to simply accept. As of now, Republicans maintain the Senate whereas Democrats management the Home of Representatives, however the electoral rely is carried out by the brand new Congress, which might be sworn in on Jan. 3.

If the 2 chambers disagree, it isn’t totally clear what would occur.


The act says that the electors accredited by every state’s “govt” ought to prevail. Many students interpret that as a state’s governor, however others reject that argument. The regulation has by no means been examined or interpreted by the courts.

Ned Foley, a regulation professor at Ohio State College, referred to as the ECA’s wording “just about impenetrable” in a 2019 paper exploring the potential of an Electoral Faculty dispute.

One other unlikely chance is that Trump’s Vice President Mike Pence, in his position as Senate president, might attempt to throw out a state’s disputed electoral votes totally if the 2 chambers can not agree, in line with Foley’s evaluation.

In that case, the Electoral Faculty Act doesn’t clarify whether or not a candidate would nonetheless want 270 votes, a majority of the overall, or might prevail with a majority of the remaining electoral votes – for instance, 260 of the 518 votes that will be left if Pennsylvania’s electors had been invalidated.

“It’s truthful to say that none of those legal guidelines has been stress-tested earlier than,” Benjamin Ginsberg, a lawyer who represented the Bush marketing campaign throughout the 2000 dispute, advised reporters in a convention name on Oct. 20.

The events might ask the Supreme Court docket to resolve any congressional stalemate, however it’s not sure the courtroom could be prepared to adjudicate how Congress ought to rely electoral votes.


A dedication that neither candidate has secured a majority of electoral votes would set off a “contingent election” underneath the twelfth Modification of the Structure. Which means the Home of Representatives chooses the subsequent president, whereas the Senate selects the vice chairman.

Every state delegation within the Home will get a single vote. As of now, Republicans management 26 of the 50 state delegations, whereas Democrats have 22; one is break up evenly and one other has seven Democrats, six Republicans and a Libertarian.

A contingent election additionally takes place within the occasion of a 269-269 tie after the election; there are a number of believable paths to a impasse in 2020.

Any election dispute in Congress would play out forward of a strict deadline – Jan. 20, when the Structure mandates that the time period of the present president ends.

Beneath the Presidential Succession Act, if Congress nonetheless has not declared a presidential or vice presidential winner by then, the Speaker of the Home would function performing president. Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, is the present speaker.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)


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