Refusing To Concede: Trump Could Go To Supreme Court
Some took it as an affront to the democratic process, others saw it as a meaningless throwaway remark, but when Donald Trump said he would have to “look at it at the time” when asked if he’d accept defeat to Hillary Clinton, it opened up an interesting question. Can a presidential candidate legitimately refuse to concede, and if so what are their options?
The short answer is yes. Election fraud is a well considered risk, even in the United States, and having a mechanism to challenge the result for President is a logical fail safe. The dispute first goes to federal district court and can also be put before the members of the electoral college, who on paper can overturn the decision. This however has never happened in the history of the United States.
Of course there would have to be some evidence of significant and organised vote rigging before such a claim could gain ground. Trump simply kicking up a fuss and refusing to concede for the sake of it would not change the outcome. He or indeed Hillary are perfectly free to be sore losers, but a legal case has to have a legal basis. If it did, it would be up to the supreme court to make the ruling.
The last time the US presidential election was contested was the year 2000, when democrat Al Gore demanded a recount in Florida after losing by only a few hundred votes to George Bush. Although the issue did hit the supreme court, Gore soon conceded and walked away.
That election was infamously covered in the Emmy nominated HBO documentary Hacking Democracy, which highlighted the ability to hack an actual electronic Diebold voting machine that was used in Leon County, Florida. In Volusia County, Florida, it was discovered that one computer had subtracted Al Gore's votes from his total instead of adding them!
Widespread organised vote rigging was never proven, but the potential for such a thing was at least demonstrated, which is still extremely worrying.
The only other two contested presidential elections were in 1800 and 1876.
For the 2016 elections, accusations of the system being "rigged" mostly seems to be hot air from Trump himself. Several isolated cases of voter fraud have been uncovered on both sides, but not enough to change the outcome and not as part of any conspiracy involving the candidates themselves.
In one Californian home 83 people were found registered to vote. In Iowa a woman named Terri Lynn Rote was charged with voter fraud for casting two ballots because she feared the election was rigged in favor of Clinton - the fear of fraud creating real life fraud.
It's no surprise when Trump has continuously called for his supporters to look out for Clinton supporters fixing the vote. 73 percent of Republicans surveyed by Politico/Morning Consult said they thought the election could be "stolen" from Trump. Therefore if Clinton does win, it's highly likely that Trump's supporters will expect him to contest the result.
Fortunately significant voter fraud is very rare and unless something has changed, accusations are all it will probably turn out to be. A large scale analysis of over 1 billion votes made in the United States between 2000 to 2014 showed only 31 being "possibly" fraudulent.
We look ahead to tomorrow.Posted by KeelanB at November 7, 2016 2:27 PM