Voting While Under Attack

Ken AshfordElection 2004, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

I’m only half-following the story about the balloon being floated regarding the suspension of elections (if there is an AQ attack or something). And my thoughts on it are in the formative stages. Still, my initial reaction is that the Constitution does not permit the President to suspend presidential elections.

Why not? Quite simple.

Article II, Section 4 says that "Congress may determine the Time of chusing [choosing] the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States." That’s it. End of story.

Would it be NICE if the Framers gave the President the power to override Congress’ ability to select election day, in the case of a national emergency? Maybe, but they didn’t.

Here’s the nightmare scenario, as I see it. Bush gets on television around noon of election day, and says they have credible evidence of an attack, and suspends the election. So some people don’t vote. But some people don’t know that Bush lacks the authority to suspend the election. The days ends in confusion. So are the votes counted or not? Big ugly fight. It ends up in the Supreme Court again. *Shiver* What a mess.

So I’m telling you now, without any bias as to whether it helps or hurts any particular candidate. The President cannot suspend the elections. So if election day turns into another 9/11, you vote! Got it? We all clear?