This question is motivated by stories claiming that some Republicans are asking Trump to step down as the party's candidate, but my question is for the more general case.

For example, suppose that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump developed a severe physical impairment before the November election which left them incapable of fulfilling the requirements of the presidency.

Then, what is the final date for the Democrats or Republicans to change their candidate on the November ballot? Also, if that date has passed, does the VP candidate automatically become the party's nominee?

I found questions similar to this for 3rd party candidates, but not for the 2 major parties.

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    Related, but definitely not a dupe: How would a new candidate would be chosen?
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 2:48
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    I found an answer to my question on CNN. It says "each state has separate deadlines, most of which are before or around Labor Day" Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 23:04
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    You should post that as an answer @user5108_Dan.
    – yannis
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 9:14

2 Answers 2


December 19, 2016.

The President of the United States is elected indirectly: voters in each state chose electors, who in turn cast the actual votes for President and Vice-President. Normally, the voting by the electors is entirely a formality, but in unusual situations (such as a candidate becoming unable to serve), the voting would become a meaningful decision.

Currently, by law, Electoral College voting takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, which this year is December 19.

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    You misunderstood the intent of my question. I meant the last date to change the name on the ballot the voters see in the booth. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 10:28
  • @user5108_Dan That is still decided at the state level. And could presumably be changed by a friendly state legislature in states that the party wishing to undertake such a feat control.
    – origimbo
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 10:38
  • Any idea when the 1st deadline is? Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 10:41
  • No. But if you go to thegreenpapers.com/G16 there are links to State pages which in turn link to the relevant parts of state election websites. It's possible not all of them have a formal cutoff for this though.
    – origimbo
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 10:52

BallotPedia has a list of certification deadlines by state for candidates to appear on the November ballot. As with many things in the US federal system, it's messy. Looking at the list, it appears that a few deadlines have already passed. The earliest I could see was for Michigan, which requires certification by the day after the convention (!): July 22 for Republicans, July 29 for Democrats. The latest deadline listed is September 19 (Washington.)

However, the preamble to the list also notes that courts have allowed these deadlines to be waived in the past. The list of dates should probably not be regarded as the dates beyond which change is impossible, but rather the dates before which change is freely permitted (if you see the distinction.)


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