What recourse for a fraudulent election? (U.S.A.)

A request for everyone: I know fraudulent elections can be a contentious topic, to say the least. So that this thread doesn’t go off into non-useful directions, can we all agree not to discuss any particular election or president after 1988? There are places to discuss Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, the Clintons, but please not in this thread, OK? Thanks. :cool:

So my question out to you all is this: What recourse is there in the United States for a fraudulent election?
Let’s imagine that in 2012 a president is elected with a healthy majority of the vote. In 2013 investigations reveal that electronic votes were tampered with and that without the tampering, the other guy (or girl!) would have won.
What happens now?? Does the president get deposed? A new election?
I’d have put this in GQ, but I doubt the easy answer is there…

Well a well armed zealot or two could take care of it in short order.

The first (assuming by ‘deposed’ you don’t mean that the person who ‘lost’ would be brought back). Basically at that point its a done deal. What would happen from there would probably be impeachment. If the VP was also implicated then s/he would also most likely be impeached as well and Speaker of the House would get the nod I suppose (assuming both President and VP were found guilty AND were both removed from office).

Its a GQ question really.


Once the outgoing (or continuing) vice president bangs the gavel on the session that certified the electoral vote count, what’s done is done. The wronged party has no means of getting the results reversed, and impeaching the wrongly elected president and veep would only put the Speaker in the White House. In my opinion, an amendment allowing the result to be changed if evidence of fraudulent elections is conclusive would be entirely appropriate. Short of an amendment, nothing can be done.

And I don’t even see grounds for impeachment unless you can demonstrate that the President was in on the fraud.

I wonder if any of the states have laws that deal with this for state elections?

The problem with having a process for removal of the President and Vice President in the case of a fraudulent election is that sooner or later it will be used for an election that is demonstrably not fraudulent, because it can be so used. And it would FREQUENTLY be used in the case of elections that might or might not be fraudulent, depending on what set of facts you and your fellow partisans agree on. And who would administer the process? Congress? Hopelessly partisan, as the blowjob impeachment demonstrated. The Justice Department? Now that Karl Rove is running it, also demonstrably politicized. The Supreme Court? Right now it’s five Republican Catholics and assorted leftovers, good luck getting a nonpartisan result out of them.

This is really what I was wondering about, but didn’t include in the OP. I’d like to say that it was because I was testing the minds of dopers for evidence of telepathic power, but in reality I was just being lazy. :o

What if the president and veep can’t be demonstrated to have anything to do with it? I imagine that based on the outrage alone, you could get them impeached, but isn’t impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors?” What could they be charged with?

Then again, impeachment’s entirely a political process run by congress, right? So they can impeach as long as they have the political will to do it. The scenario I imagine could probably give them a surfeit of political will, regardless of any lack of evidence connecting the president to the tampering.

You are assuming that the ‘winner’ of this election in 2012 is a Republican. Oh, I know…Republicans are the well of all evilness, while the Dems are models of goodness and light.

Still, I think it shows your bias that you automatically jump to this instead of answering the OP in a neutral way. That you think that the SCOTUS would be a factor in a clear cut case of a President AND VP getting caught red handed shows how out of touch you really have become…


The situation COULD be corrected, if for example the election was shown to be definitely rigged and the successful candidate was completely innocent.

Let’s say the ticket of Adams and Baker beats the ticket of Charles and Davis. Later, it is shown that there is no doubt whatever that Charles, not Adams, was the rightful winner of the election. Adams says, “I do not have the right to occupy this seat, Charles should be president.”

Baker resigns as vice president. Adams nominates Charles to be vice president, and this is confirmed by the Senate. Adams resigns as president and Charles succeeds him. Charles now nominates Davis as vice president and is confirmed by the Senate. So it CAN be fixed, IF the wrongfully elected ticket is agreeable.

Actually, you’ve jumped on a sidelight to my central point, which is that any process for the removal of a president in the case of a fraudulent election will prove an irresisitable tool for the losing party in many instances. Note I didn’t specify which party.

As for the sidelight you’re interested in, I think there’s enough evidence about Congress, the Justice Dept. and the Supreme Court being politicized out there for any objective readers to make their own judgements. I could extend the point by noting that now that the Justice Department and the Supreme Court have been politically compromised by the Republicans there’s no reason the Democrats couldn’t do the same, and there are definitely Democrats who WOULD do the same if it were in their power to do so. Bad result in either case.

Speaking of partisan . . .

Says who? What part of the Constitution are you reading that precludes any other method of resolving the issue? :eek:
Constitutional crises are met in an ad hoc fashion every time. Witness the resolution of the disputed 1876 election. There is not one jot of Constitutional authority for an Electoral Commission to resolve disputed state electors ballots. That did not stop the Congress from creating one, and amazingly it worked.

Albeit not very well, as the neutral member of the committee resigned and a Republican was appointed in his place. Other than that…

But the commission was formed when Congress received multiple electoral vote counts from several states, before the votes were counted in Congress. Once the commission did its work, the electoral vote was counted, it was indeed over.

So what? The Congress could just as easily have done what Jefferson did and received whatever slate of votes the Vice-President deemed were the valid slate. That’s what happened in 1800, albeit under different circumstances.

My point is that there is nothing in the Constitution that forbids a solution post-vote acceptance, or even post-Inauguration. The Constitution has very few places where it says what you cannot do; in general it is filled with what you can do. So, if Congress decided that the vote for the President was improper, and decided to pass a law on a post hoc basis allowing for the removal of the President, and the inauguration of his opponent, and the President was willing to do that, or the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Congress in a legal challenge by the sitting President, then that would solve the issue. At no point could someone say, “the Constitution says you cannot do that” and back it up with specific text to that effect.

For example, Section 4 of Article II says, “The President, … , shall be removed from Office on Impeachement for and Conviction of …” That means impeachment and conviction mandate removal. It does not preclude removal through other means.

Reread post number 10, this time pay attention.