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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Cancel or Postpone?

Some states have postponed primary elections.

So many people are wondering: could a president remain in power by unilaterally canceling or postponing a general election?

NOPE: the Constitution sets strict expiration dates for terms of office, with no exceptions.
  • 20th Amendment: "The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin."
Congress, however, could shift the election date, but only by a few weeks at most, because of the dates above.
  • Article II, section 1: "The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States."
  • Article I, section 4: "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators."