Let's say we're in a democratic country and we see all the candidates as unfit.

  • Is there anything in the constitution (or any legal procedure) that would allow the electors to ask for new candidates ?
  • For instance, is it possible at this point to revoke the candidacies of both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump ? (I'm not talking about political scandals).
  • Would this have been possible at an earlier point in the campaign ?
    Given that the president is not directly voted by the Americans, please also consider the case in other countries (France, Ivory Coast ... ).

Note : I'm not American and just took these candidates as an example.


2 Answers 2


For instance, is it possible at this point to revoke the candidacies of both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump ?

It is no longer possible to revoke Trump's candidacy. He is the Republican nominee and will appear on the fall ballot absent some serious disqualification (e.g. not being a natural-born US citizen or not being 35). A week ago things would have been the same for Trump as Clinton.

There are still a few days left to revoke Clinton's candidacy. She won't be nominated until next week. It would likely require convention shenanigans at this point but is legally possible.

Note that either candidate could still withdraw (as Pence withdrew from the Governor's race in Indiana). Then the parties could replace them. That will stop being true as states close their ballots. The deadlines would be set separately for each state, by the state's laws. Withdrawal is more likely than revocation.

Is there anything in the constitution (or any legal procedure) that would allow the electors to ask for new candidates ?

If by electors, you mean voters, no. If you mean the delegates, as discussed, they had options until they officially voted for Trump and still have options with Clinton.

They wouldn't ask for new candidates though. They'd pick them. There is absolutely no provision in the US constitution to cancel an election and start over.

Other countries are going to have their own rules about this. I don't see a general answer as being possible.

Even in the US, states may have different rules for local candidates. For example, in Louisiana, they have a runoff between the top two candidates if no candidate gets at least 50% of the vote. That doesn't apply to the presidential candidates though.

  • There's one edge case you almost touch on - it is theoretically possible that the actual electors choose a new candidate en masse, rather than the one they're pledged to by the results of their state votes. It would cause a huge upheaval, but it'd be legal.
    – Bobson
    Jul 24, 2016 at 1:30

1) I am curious about the idea, how would you implement that? If you do not like a candidate, you do not vote for it, the current system is simple enough. Are you suggesting elections to "approve" or "reject" the candidates, and then the actual elections?

2) If they have hidden something that makes them uneligible and this surfaces during the campaign, yes. If no, not. They have met all the legal criteria and so they have the right to present for the post, so it is not anyone's else business to prevent them from presenting if they want to.

3) Yes. Someone else could have won the nomination for each party. Someone else still can (AFAIK) present himself as an alternative, independent candidate.

And in most democratic countries the system is quite similar, in that the political parties must internally work as a democracy1

The fact that you or other people don't like either of the candidates does not mean that there is a reason to throw the democratic process off the board because just a few opinions.

As I posted somewhere else, you do not have the right of being offered a candidate that you like well enough to vote for2; if you do not like any then you may either:

  • support a candidate that you would vote and convice him to run for office.

  • present yourself for the position.

  • simply don't vote (or if possible cast a white or null vote).

The answer of this question may give some (USA-centric) additional insight: What happens if a candidate in a US Presidential election becomes the subject of a serious criminal charge?

1 Note that this does not mean that the candidate must be elected directly by supporters/affiliates; in many cases the candidate is elected by the organization of the party. But that organization must be democratically elected.

2 And most of the electoral systems require that if you run for office you must show some measure of popular support (let it be endorsement by political parties or a petition signed by a minimum number of electors), so if there is a candidate we may assume he/she will get some votes.

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