American election 2020: the death of Donald Trump or Joe Biden would risk a crisis | World | News


Democratic candidate Joe Biden is currently the frontrunner to replace Donald Trump, the incumbent Republican president. However, experts warn that the US electoral system is ill-prepared for what should happen if one of the candidates dies around the time of the election.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump left the hospital after spending three nights indoors being treated for coronavirus.Along with his wife Melania, the president was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week.

Due to their age, Mr Trump and Mr Biden, aged 74 and 77 respectively, are in a high risk category for the disease.

The incendiary warning was issued by Jason Harrow and Professor Roy L. Furman in an article for the Washington Post.

“Both parties must commit to avoiding this disaster” (Image: GETTY)

President Trump on White House balcony after leaving hospital (Image: GETTY)

Mr Harrow is the executive director of Equal Citizens, a group that aims to strengthen American democracy, while Professor Furman teaches at Harvard Law School.

The pair warn that: “Based on both history and current and federal law, it is not clear what would happen if a presidential candidate dies shortly before election day or before. that the electoral college does not meet to ratify the results of the elections.

In response, they urge US states to clarify their rules for this eventuality.

US presidential elections are conducted state by state, with each candidate competing for electoral votes, assigned by each state in response to the popular vote.

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Trump spent three nights in hospital due to coronavirus (Image: GETTY)

The candidate who obtains more than half of the electoral votes, at least 270, is elected president.

However, the rules of many states in the United States could force them to give their electoral vote to the candidate who votes the best, even if he is deceased.

Professor Furman and Mr Harrow caution: “Many states have laws which, if read literally, would force presidential voters to vote for candidates who won the state’s popular vote – even if the candidate had died.

“According to this literal reading, if one of the candidates died on the eve of the election or just after, the voters still had to vote for him.


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Trump returns from hospital to the White House (Image: GETTY)


Supporters of the Donald Trump rally (Image: GETTY)

“Based on a precedent set in 1872 – when Democratic candidate Horace Greeley died just after election day, and yet some voters voted for him anyway – those votes would not count towards the college’s final tally.” election, because deceased persons are not eligible to become president. .

“This could leave the election without a winner in the Electoral College, forcing the decision in the House of Representatives. “

The couple use the state of Colorado, whose law states that “each presidential voter shall vote for the presidential candidate who receives the most votes,” as an example.

A literal interpretation of this would mean that Colorado’s electoral votes could only go to Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden, whether one dies and their party nominates a replacement.

Elena Kagan, who sits on the US Supreme Court, admitted that a candidate’s death could spark “unrest” under these rules.

Professor Furman and Mr Harrow called on US states and political parties to take action to avoid the risk of “catastrophe”.

They said, “First, states should immediately change their laws to allow voters to vote for a new party candidate in case the one whose name appears on the ballot dies.


Democrat Joe Biden challenges Trump for presidency (Image: GETTY)

“A few states, like California and Indiana, already have this exception.

“Second, political parties and state officials should now promise to interpret state laws to allow voters to vote for any alternate candidate of the political party that wins the general election.

“Both sides must commit to avoiding this catastrophe.”


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