What happens if election fraud is proved after the EC meets? Or after the inaguration? Not about 2000 or 2004 election controversies; just factual questions: what do the rules say should be done if proof surfaces that a win in one state was fraudulent, and changing that state changes who wins the election?
Are there rules for such situations? Is there any deadline after which it would be considered too late to say, “Oh, the other guy really won? Well then, he’s President.”? If there is a point at which it would be too late to install the other guy, what would be done?
I suppose if it were believed that the improper winner was personally behind the fraud, he might be impeached, but what good would that do? If he were turned out of office, his V-P would take over and his administration would still be running the country. (Would articles of impeachment even be brought if his party had the upper hand in Congress?) And suppose there’s no reason to think the improper winner knew anything about whatever shenanigans his supporters got up to in whichever state?
Also, what, if anything, can be done to set things right if it is established that a crucial state was won by vote supression? Say the vote was very close. You’re sure that the number of people prevented (by the winning side) from casting a ballot exceeds the number of votes by which the winner won?
Once a President is inaugurated the only means of removal is impeachment.
If, for example, a note turned up on White House stationery saying ‘Man, we really got away with one that time! Glad we had the good sense to disregard the actual voters in Florida and Ohio! George W Bush’ in Bush’s handwriting and with some fingerprints and maybe some DNA along with the scent of his cologne he would still be President.
It would be seen if that sort of thing would be enough to bring out his impeachment. And if it did it would leave Cheney in charge. If he was implicated as well then it would devolve to Denny Hastert, the Speaker of the House.
I seem to recall, back when I was covering the impeachment proceedings, that there was some talk among the republican cognoscenti that they didn’t want impeachment to work because it would make Al Gore President for a year or two prior to the 2000 election and allow him to establish himself as ‘Presidential’ in the eyes of the voting public.
There are no “do overs” for presidential elections. There have been new elections called for other races, but having another presidential election would be logistically impossible. The principal reason for this is that it’s 51 little elections and the ultimate selection is done by an intermediary (The Electoral College).
If you could prove that the President, while in office, committed a crime, that would be grounds for impeachment, but absent the evidence needed, it would be unlikely such a thing could be done.
More likely, if the American public knew definitively that a president stole an election through fraudulent means, there would be enough of a public uproar that the president would resign. While it was not exactly election fraud, Richard Nixon remains the example to follow.
The deadline is when Congress counts the electoral votes, which usually takes place on January 6. Congress can refuse to count an electoral vote if both houses deem it fraudulent. (The Florida votes were challenged by several individual House members in 2001, but the challenge never came to a vote because it was not backed by a single Senator.)
It doesn’t matter if the beneficiary of the fraud was as pure as the driven snow, and had absolutely no idea what his supporters were up to. He could still be impeached. Impeachment is a remedial procudure, not a criminal prosecution – a successful impeachment has no effect on the impeached president other than to hand him his pink slip.
First, why consider a national do over? The hypothetical situation is that fraud occured in one state. And why would a do over be the proper solution? The state went to X due to his state party’s fraudulent actions. If the fraud were discovered, shouldn’t the solution be to award victory to Y, who had been believed to have come in 2nd? If the fraud were discovered before the EC met, isn’t that what would happen? But what if it were discovered later? After EC met, or after the EC results were offcially accepted, or after inaguration?
I agree that public uproar would likely lead to a resignation – perhaps of only the President, perhaps of both President and Vice President. But that isn’t much of a solution if his administration would still be in office.
Keep in mind that what happened on November 2 was, for all legal purposes, a very large opinion poll. The actual Presidential election is scheduled to occur on December 13 when the Electoral College meets. Whoever they pick will be the President. Granted, we’ll all be surprised if they elect someone other than George Bush, but legally speaking that person will be President. Any questions about voter fraud in the general election are moot.
No it isn’t, what happened was that we actually elected Electors. True, we didn’t really elect the president, but we did genuinely elect the people who will elect the president. That’s hardly meaningless.