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Category Archives: Congress

Legal Processes for Contesting the Results of a Presidential Election

CRS report via FAS – Legal Processes for Contesting the Results of a Presidential Election, Jack Maskell, Legislative Attorney, October 24, 2016.
“Questions occasionally surface regarding potential voting fraud or election irregularities in presidential elections. (See, for example, Sean Sullivan and Philip Rucker, “Trump’s Claim of ‘Rigged’ Vote Stirs Fears of Trouble,” Washington Post, October 18, 2016, p. A1; Edward – Isaac Dovere, “Fears Mount on Trump’s ‘Rigged Election’ Rhetoric,” Politico, October 16, 2016; Daniel Kurtzleben, “5 Reasons (And Then Some) Not to Worry About A ‘Rigged’ Election,” NPR, October 18, 2016). If legitimate and verifiable allegations of voting fraud, or indications of misconduct by election officials on election day are presented, what legal recourses are available to complainants to litigate and potentially to remedy such wrongs and to contest the result of a presidential election? Presidential elections are conducted in each state and the District of Columbia to select “electors” from that state who will meet and formally vote for a candidate for President on the first Monday following the second Wednesday in December. Under the United States Constitution, these elections for presidential electors are administered and regulated in the first instance by the states, and state laws have established the procedures for ballot security, tallying the votes, challenging the vote count, recounts, and election contests with in their respective jurisdictions. A candidate or voters challenging the results of a presidential election in a particular state would thus initially seek to contest the results of that election in the state according to the procedures and deadlines set out in the laws of that specific state. After the results of an election for presidential electors are officially certified by the state, the selected presidential electors meet and cast their votes for President in December. The certificates indicating the votes of the electors are then sent to the federal government, and those certificates are opened and the electoral votes formally announced during the first week in January in a joint session of the United States Congress, under the directions of the Twelfth Amendment of the Constitution. The counting and the official tabulation of the electoral votes from the states within Congress provides a further opportunity to challenge and protest electoral votes from a state. Under federal law and congressional precedents, an objection may be made to the counting of electoral votes from a state by a formal objection made in writing by at least one Member of the House of Representatives and one Senator. Once made, each house of Congress separately debates and votes on the objection. If both houses of Congress sustain the objection, the electoral votes objected to are not counted; but if only one house, or neither the House nor the Senate, votes to sustain the objection, then the electoral votes from that state are counted.” is making 8,255 CRS reports available to the general public

“Congressional Research Service reports are the best way for anyone to quickly get up to speed on major political issues without having to worry about spin — from the same source Congress uses. CRS is Congress’ think tank, and its reports are relied upon by academics, businesses, judges, policy advocates, students, librarians, journalists, and policymakers… Continue Reading

Electoral Integrity Project

“An independent academic study, the Electoral Integrity Project addresses three questions: *When do elections meet international standards of electoral integrity?   *What happens when elections fail to do so?  *And what can be done to mitigate these problems? Under the direction of Pippa Norris, the research team is based at the University of Sydney and… Continue Reading

The Effects of Increasing Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Capital

“In this report, CBO analyzes a policy that would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase their capital by reducing their payments to the government and discusses the effects that it would have on the budget and the mortgage market…Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that help finance the majority of… Continue Reading

CRS – Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law

Ocean Dumping Act: A Summary of the Law, Claudia Copeland, Specialist in Resources and Environmental Policy. October 18, 2016: “The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) has two basic aims: to regulate intentional ocean disposal of materials, and to authorize related research. Permit and enforcement provisions of the law are often referred to as… Continue Reading

Report – Empowering Inspectors General: Supporting the IG Community Could Save Billions for American Taxpayers

News release: “Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a joint majority staff report this week, “Empowering Inspectors General: Supporting the IG Community Could Save Billions for American Taxpayers.” The report is a result of information… Continue Reading

Paper – After Sandy Hook Elementary: A Year in the Gun Control Debate on Twitter

After Sandy Hook Elementary: A Year in the Gun Control Debate on Twitter – Presented at the Data For Good Exchange 2016. “The mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school on December 14, 2012 catalyzed a year of active debate and legislation on gun control in the United States. Social media hosted an active public discussion where people expressed their… Continue Reading

Court rules CFPB organizational structure is unconstitutional – Appeals Court Deals Setback to Consumer-Watchdog Agency. Federal three-judge panel rules CFPB’s structure is unconstitutional but rejects idea of shutting down agency. New York Times – Court Gives President More Power Over Consumer Agency Chief – An appeals court panel said the director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was too independent, so it gave the president the… Continue Reading

Social Security Administration (SSA): FY2017 Appropriations and Recent Trends

CRS Report via FAS – Social Security Administration (SSA): FY2017 Appropriations and Recent Trends, William R. Morton, Analyst in Income Security, October 5, 2016. “The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for administering a number of federal entitlement programs that provide income support (cash benefits) to qualified individuals. These programs are Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI), commonly known… Continue Reading

Presidential Elections: Vacancies in Major-Party Candidacies and the Position of President-Elect

CRS report via FAS – Presidential Elections: Vacancies in Major-Party Candidacies and the Position of President-Elect, Thomas H. Neale, Specialist in American National Government. October 6, 2016. “What would happen in 2016 if a candidate for President or Vice President were to die or leave the ticket any time between the national party conventions and the November 8… Continue Reading

New on LLRX – Info Today columnist recs National Digital Library Endowment idea to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden

Via – Info Today columnist recs National Digital Library Endowment idea to Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden – David H. Rothman is a consistent, expert advocate for funding a national digital library endowment, and his enthusiasm has been strengthened with the appointment of Dr. Carla Hayden as the new librarian of Congress. Continue Reading

CRS – How Big Should the Army Be? Considerations for Congress

How Big Should the Army Be? Considerations for Congress. Lawrence Kapp, Coordinator, Specialist in Military Manpower Policy; Andrew Feickert, Specialist in Military Ground Forces; Kathleen J. McInnis, Analyst in International Security; Lynn M. Williams, Analyst in U.S. Defense Budget Policy. September 2, 2016. “Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution vests Congress with broad… Continue Reading