Election FAQs

Have questions about the unprecedented Presidential election? FSTV is here to help! Get the answers to some common questions below.

What kind of issues can post-election lawsuits address?

If a dispute arises during an election, one way of resolving it is through the courts. Government officials, voters, candidates, campaigns, and satellite groups all may, in various circumstances and states, file election-related lawsuits. Plaintiffs most commonly file election-related lawsuits on one of the following four topics: voting procedures, recounts, ballot challenges and ballot rejections, ballot measure lawsuits. Learn More!

How close does an election have to be to trigger an automatic recount?

An election recount is a process by which votes cast in an election are re-tabulated to verify the accuracy of the original results.

As of the November 2020 election, Eighteen states have at least one law requiring an automatic recount if a race’s results fall within a close vote margin. Five states require an automatic recount only in the event of a tie vote. Four states require automatic recounts, but not based on a particular vote threshold. Instead, an automatic recount is triggered if election officials discover errors or discrepancies in vote totals. Twenty-three states do not require automatic recounts. Read More!

Who is the president if election results are unknown by January 20, 2021?

In one scenario, the results of the presidential election would be unknown because no candidate received a majority of the vote in the Electoral College. Then, if the House fails to elect a president by March 4, 2021, the Twelfth Amendment requires that the vice president assume the office of president.

In a second scenario, the question of whether a candidate has won the Electoral College is taken up in the courts, and the issue remains unresolved past January 20. The presidential line of succession lays out who would assume the role should there be a vacancy in the offices of both president and vice president. The outcome depends on whether a new Congress has been sworn in by January 20. Learn More!

What happens if candidates declare victory in the 2020 election before results are final?

A candidate who declares victory before results are final could end up losing the election after all votes are counted. The election results published by state and local agencies on election night are unofficial tallies. After election night, results are finalized during what is called the canvassing and certification of the vote. Learn More!

How do states protect and verify mail-in ballots?

Absentee/mail-in voting does not happen in person on Election Day but instead occurs another way (generally by mail). All states allow for some form of absentee/mail-in voting, and all states establish mechanisms for verifying the validity of absentee/mail-in ballots.

Three of the most common verification mechanisms are Signature requirements and signature matching, witness requirements, and ballot collection laws. Read More!


Information sourced from Ballotpedia.

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