Postponing Election Day? We Laugh But The Government Considers It

We’ve had threads in the past asking and discussing the topic of a possible postponement of election day. IIRC, most are in the vein of would the Administration postpone, or even cancel, election day. One would have to have their tinfoil hat firmly attached to one’s pointy head that any postponement/delay could even occur, lest we have a backdoor attempt at subverting the will of the People.

Well, …


This country has a standing policy of not giving in to hijackers, terrorists or other such scum. Why this thought should even be entertained?

Must we rethink the far-fetched tinfoil hat scenarios?

I don’t see why it has to be tin-foil hat territory to consider a postponement.

What if the presidential election had been due to take place on Sept 12 2001? Surely that would have needed to be postponed?

Question: What do terrorists want?

Answer: I dunno, but I figure disrupting and manipulating an election would be somewhere on their list.

Postponing an election following a catastrophic attack would reduce the manipulation and disruption they attempt to cause. Having the option to postpone an election would lower the desireability of trying some shit on election day.

Remember, a lack of flexibility is a bad thing. Redundancy and Plan B’s are a good thing.

Nah, it’d just give the party in power time to spin the attack however they see fit.
Postponing an election is a disruption.


As a matter of fact, an election that was taking place on September 11, 2001 was in fact postponed - the NYC mayoral primary.

It seems to me that such circumstances could be handled by existing mechanisms, rather than creating new ones. But what do I know.


Bolding mine.

It’s simply a reflection of the new (possible) reality: If suicide bombers were hitting polling stations left and right on election day, it doesn’t strike me as a step on the road Naziacracy to postpone the elections. And certainly having a legal framework in place to deal with the possibility makes sense; What’s Plan B otherwise? Declare martial law?

I don’t have a fundamental problem with the notion of having a “plan b” in case some big nasty thing happens on or close to election day.

I just don’t trust this administration to create or administer such a plan.

But the mechanisms just aren’t there. When we had to postpone our primary on 9/11, Mayor Guiliani just… did it. No color of law, no legal precedent to back him up, just the unanimous opinion of New Yorkers that September 11 was a poor day on which to have an election.

I daresay that in an election of national impact, opinions would not be unanimous. :wink:

If anything, you’d think it would be the Democrats who are ahead of the curve on this issue, for two reasons. One, I’d think they’d more likely than Republicans to believe that the current state of the law is inadequate to handle election difficulties (not that the situations wouldn’t be reversed if Vice President Gore had prevailed in the Florida difficulties, of course).

The other reason is who’s most likely to lose if an election goes forward in the wake of an attack. Now, I don’t have the ability to predict who’d benefit if there were an attack on, say, October 30th and the election could reasonably be held (albeit under sad circumstances) on schedule. But if there’s an attack actually on election day… Well, no offense to my red-state fellow-travellers who think Osama has his eye on the Cheyannne State Fairgrounds, but he doesn’t. What little evidence we have is that foreign terrorists like high-impact target which are famous overseas. Places like the World Trade Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge. Places which are inhabited by, well, Democrats.

People are all paranoid that Bush might call off an election in the face of a terrorist attack. Imagine the alternative – that he doesn’t. Imagine that New York and California both “vote” Republican because the Democratic voters in each state’s largest cities are too busy evacuating a poison gas cloud (or whatever) to vote on the appointed day. The very same people who are afraid that Bush might postpone elections would be furious that he didn’t.

No, it makes absolute sense to ask these questions, even if I fear the answers will come too late to benefit us (such as it is) in the '04 elections. There should be asked similar questions about natural disasters – Would it be fair for a late-season hurricane to deprive Carolinians of their voice in the election, etc. When you think about it, whether it’s terrorism or something else, we’ve been pretty darn lucky so far in terms of not having elections disrupted by things beyond our control.

We shouldn’t laugh and the government is prudent to consider it. If we had voted on 9/12/01, how many precincts in New York would have been destroyed or inaccessible? That could put NY in the Republican column, which is otherwise highly unlikely. Moreover, how many would have voted for Bush in a blind knee-jerk patriotic reflex? Postponing in the event of a major attack makes a world of sense.

It makes perfect sense to address these issues, manhattan, I agree. I’m not opposed to it at all: everyone should vote at about the same time, if possible. I guess I’d be happier if I saw what the postponement mechanisms were, or how we’d know when it was ok to have the election…

Elections, like the Census, is mandated by Law and Constituion. No single institution and delay or postpone it without specific legislation being passed. :wally

Christ, are we now supposed to just allow them to take away our right to vote?

I frequently think of two men in 1928 Berlin having coffee. One says, “you know, this place is turning into Nazi Germany!” and the other says, “now, don’t exaggerate.”

Me, too. And I guarantee you that the answer that would make me happiest is not “Have the Department of Homeland Security arrange for a political appointee to make the call.”

Which is why I think it’s so important that people get away from the paraniod musings like that of skutir or the reflexive, blinders-wearing attitude of “we just can’t/shouldn’t do it, it’s unimaginable, electons on Tuesdays are sacrosanct” displayed by the OP. Stuff like that is what prevents intelligent, bipartisan discussion of the issue. We can and should think about it. It is imaginable. Thursdays are as good as Tuesdays.

There’s a lot of stuff that has to happen, particularly as regards House and Senate elections. As it happens, things are easier on a Federal level, though just as hard on the State level, for Presidential elections – the I think that the Consitution doesn’t even mandate that states have to have elections for President; it just so happily happens that each State has chosen direct election as the means for choosing its Electors. For all I know, New York already has a law on the books that says that if the people can’t vote for whatever reason the Governor selects the Electors. If so, I’d sure like to see that publicized and done away with!

As regards having all the elections on the same day, I agree that that’s preferable. But is it practical? Should Iowa have to haul the voting machines back out, cancel school again, etc., if the citizens of New York City are unable to vote on the previously appointed day? What about the citizens of Albany? I just don’t have a good answer. So again, I’m glad someone’s had the good sense to ask the question.

I am not Christ, but let me ask you this: Do you oppose the rescheduling of elections for any reason? Are there any circumstances under which you would OK the rescheduling of a (national) election?

Exactly my point. I’m supposed to sit here and let the usurper call of the elections, and if I raise my voice, I’m called “paranoid.” I can imagine historians will attempt to answer how a supposedly freedom-loving people watched those freedoms gradually erode into an oligarchy. One theory will be that people were simply not willing to believe that anything bad could happen, despite the mountains of historic evidence that all kinds of bad stuff happens when you let the rich and powerful have their way.

It’s not a “rescheduling,” a premeditated attempt to delay the vote until the Republicans can make sure they’ll win. If they need more time to coerce and manipulate the electorate, and/or rig the election in key states, they’ll do it.

In a few years, the Iraqis will need to liberate us from tyranny.

Let me do a little thought experiment.

A 9-11 attack in Chicago on Election Day (or the day), also a massive earthquake in California. A worse-case scenario.

No, I could not see how we could or should postpone the election. (Mind you such attacks would still have massive results a the polls, but that would not be solved by delaying elections for a week or so.)

Most of the country would not be impacted, aside from some panic and communications breakdowns. A guy in Arizona can still get to the voting booth.

I would also point out that the much maligned Electoral College would mitigate the effects of such attacks. Illinois would still have leventy-seven electors even if Cook Country is too messed up to vote.

No, the President (or someone) calling for the polls to be closed for a week nationwide would simply not work, nor do I see how it would help.

And wait how many months until the next president takes over? I think the guy from Arizona can hold on a few days while his fellow Americans deal with a large crisis.

Quite so.