The 2020 election is “rounding the corner” — sorry, I couldn’t resist — but here we are, just a few days out from Nov. 3, which means it’s almost Halloween. And what better way to recognize the spooky nature of All Hallows’ Eve than to discuss the scary worst-case scenarios for the elections?
Disputed counts! Lawsuits! Candidates refusing to concede! States sending multiple sets of electors to be counted! Runoffs! The House and Senate refusing to seat members!
On the latest Political Theater podcast, CQ Roll Call politics editor Herb Jackson and CQ Roll Call legal affairs senior writer Todd Ruger discuss the terrifying potential tumult.
Some of the worst-case scenarios we discuss, which are not without precedent:
- Civil unrest prevents people from voting and threatens to invalidate results from key states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina.
- Delays in counting mail-in votes prompt legislatures to certify electors whom they prefer, but who might be different from those voters prefer.
- On Jan. 3, when the 117th Congress convenes, disputes break out on the floor about whether House and Senate members should rightfully be seated because of disputed elections in their states.
- On Jan. 6, when a joint session of Congress presided over by Vice President Mike Pence convenes to count electoral votes, multiple states send competing slates of electors.
- Runoffs in Georgia after the Jan. 3 convening of the Senate keep in suspense who will hold the majority in that chamber.
- On Jan. 20, Inauguration Day arrives, and there is no president to take the oath.
We’re not saying any or all of this will happen. It’s just that some versions of this have either happened before or are within the realm of possibility.
Just a little something to add to the anxiety. At least we don’t have to worry about Mars attacking.
- What happens when a state can’t decide on its electors
- Election experts doubt Supreme Court decides White House race
- With all the chaos, the shape of the Trump-Biden race is unchanged
- Trump wants new justice to be able to decide 2020 election
- Rating changes: Election outlook continues to swing toward Democrats
- The odd, hybrid world of the vice presidency
- Baseball fans will have to settle for early voting at Nationals Park
- Experts weigh in on how QAnon conspiracy theory gained followers
- Political Theater Archives!