What would/might happen if some constitutionally ineligible person started a massively popular drive for the Presidency? E.g., if Bill Clinton really had said “screw it, I’m running” for an unconstitutional third term, how far could he get in the process if he enjoyed massive popular support? Up to the party convention? Election day? Meeting of the electors? Inauguration day?
How could he be stopped, and who would do the stopping?
(ETA: or imagine der Governator in a similar scenario, ineligible as a non-native-born citizen.)
They wouldn’t even get on the primary ballot would they? And even if they decided to run in the general as an independent (Since I can’t see either party letting them on their ticket) could they even get listed?
Really? They’d be breaking the law just by running? Who would issue the arrest warrant?
Obviously this would never happen in ordinary circumstances, but imagine that for some reason there’s a massive groundswell of support for the idea of (say) Arnold being President, with a substantial percentage of people clamoring for him to save us from whatever ills have befallen the Republic: they’re convinced that He. Is. The. One and will fight you if you say differently.
Say that Congress hates Arnie and refuses to consider proposing an amendment, and there are at least seventeen states that are hard-core against him, so a constitutional convention is out of the question. IOW, take the amendment route off the table for purposes of this discussion.
Again, the press wouldn’t take it too seriously, and if the groundswell outlasted that response, the eligibility controversy would outweigh any campaign positions. The GOP (in Arnold’s case) would then fight very hard to keep him off the ballots.
They could run, states could choose to put them on their ballots, people could choose to vote for them, the electors could choose to vote for them, and Congress could choose to certify them. And if it actually made it that far, the certification would no doubt be challenged in the Supreme Court, and it would be ruled unconstitutional, and my guess is that the presidency would go to the veep winner.
I would imagine that the opposing party would attempt a court challenge to block Arnnie’s or Bill’s name from appearing on the ballot, citing the Constitutional requirements for President as making them ineligible to run… such a challenge may get placed on the “fast track” through the court systems so that there is as little impact on the regular election day as possible (to give that party a chance to offer up another candidate).
If a state put a person ineligible to be president on a ballot, either in the primaries or in the real election, I would expect a challenge being made, presumably on behalf of another candidate. Why wouldn’t the state’s supreme court, or the Supreme Court of the US if it were taken there, direct that the name be taken off the ballot at that point?
No, I think you’re right. Sooner or later (probably sooner) someone will sue, a Federal court will read the plain words of the Constitution and say “This person is ineligible and cannot serve as President, even if elected,” and issue an injunction, prohibiting the placement of the candidate’s name on ballots. Exactly how this all unfolds depends on where and at what stage of the campaign the lawsuit is brought.
Then again, the court might dodge the whole thing as a political question, and leave it to either the Electoral College or Congress to tackle.
I don’t see how that would work. The parties might ask for an injunction, but where is the law that says you can’t be on the ballot just because you aren’t eligible to serve? That’d probably end up being appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
Lawsuits are sometimes brought to force people off the ballot who could not fill the post if elected, thereby preventing a waste of taxpayer money. In Ohio, we see those from time to time in sheriff races, where a candidate doesn’t have the police training required by state law, or in mayoral or city council elections, where the candidate’s residency is challenged. The Presidency is such an important office I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Federal court nipping a legally-doomed candidacy in the bud.
What taxpayer money would be wasted? What if the ballots are already printed? It would cost more money to reprint them, no? … or to pay people to put stickers over the candidate’s name on the ballot?
If the name is left on the ballot, what happens to all the votes for that person? Are those votes basically considered null as if they never occurred?
Would the counting in a mayor’s race with a run-off system go something like this?..
Ineligible Candidate A - 60 votes
Eligible Candidate B - 21 votes
Eligible Candidate C - 11 votes
Eligible Candidate D - 8 votes
Strike the votes for Candidate A. That leaves 40 valid votes between B. C, and D. Candidate B got a majority of that 40, so a run-off is avoided? Or does the fact that no eligible candidate secured a majority of ALL VOTES CAST force a run-off between B & C?
The taxpayer money that’s saved, if the ballots had been printed already, would be from not requiring personnel of the boards of elections to count votes that have been invalidly cast, and from avoiding litigation once the ineligible candidate has “won” and then insists on taking office.
In the election hypo you provided, in most American races you can win with a mere plurality (for instance, notwithstanding the Electoral College, Bill Clinton did not break the 50% mark of the popular vote in either 1992 or 1996), so Candidate B would be elected.