If a presidential candidate in the USA drops out of the race before (or during) election day, but after early voting has begun, what happens to that party's ticket?

For example, if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton drop out of the 2016 American presidential race now (October, 2016), what happens?

The Vice President candidates on their tickets are not running for the office of President, so it's not clear if the "line of succession" would be implemented or something else would happen.


Who will be the new nominee?

Simple answer:

The US Constitution does not have any rules or procedures to fill in the vacancy, thus the party gets to decide.

Long answer:

The parties will get to decide their new nominee. The vice-presidential candidate will not be given any special consideration, and will remain if another candidate is selected. Nor will those candidates in the primaries.

They can pretty much choose anyone they want, just that the candidate can garner enough votes from the officials. There's no line of succession.


Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party follow similar procedures.

According to the rules of the Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee is responsible to nominate another nominee. Party officials would each cast one vote at a special meeting and the winner is whoever gets the majority. Party officials would be the "superdelegates".

Article Two, Section Seven of the Democratic Party bylaws states that

"a special meeting to fill a vacancy on the National ticket shall be held on the call of the Chairperson."

For the Republican Party, the Republican National Committee will choose the new nominee.


Since the nominees are officially nominated by their party, the party cannot force them to step them. Only the candidates can make the decisions themselves.

How about those who already voted?

For all of those voters who already cast ballots through absentee or early voting, the new candidate will get all their votes.

This is because when voters are not really voting for a presidential candidate but instead voting to select the representative that will represent their state at the Electoral College.

Representatives of the Electoral College, who are bound a particular candidate according to their state's results, will then meet in December to officially elect the next American president.

Articles to check out:

I've found some articles that addresses this issue and would be useful to check it out:

| improve this answer | |
  • If a candidate drops out this late, wouldn't there be deadline issues with getting a new name on the ballot in most states at all? – Geobits Oct 14 '16 at 4:21
  • @Geobits Yes, their names will remain but voters will be voting for the new candidate – Panda Oct 14 '16 at 6:30
  • Your assertion that the candidate can't be forced out by the party isn't true, but it is unlikely that such a thing would occur. – NL - Apologize to Monica Oct 14 '16 at 14:29
  • The articles cited fail to mention a key fact. If the presidential nominee dies just before the election, there isn't enough time to change the name on the ballots because the ballots have already been printed up. So regardless of what the party's central committees might decide to do, the candidate actually getting the votes would be a dead candidate no matter who the party nominates to replace him or her. I don't know of any law that allows parties or states to transfer votes from dead candidates to living candidates. – sanitycheck Mar 11 at 1:31

In the presidential race, there isn't just Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton are just the representative of their different parties, the Republican party (Donald Trump) and the Democratic party (Hilary Clinton). Each party believes in different things (eg. LGBT, Gun Laws, etc.) and each candidate for each party must follow those beliefs. Also, before the election of the party, there is the election of who will represent the party as the president. That's how happened with Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and all comes into all the political kafuffle. There are many OTHER parties which you can vote for like the Libertarian and the Green Party, who each have different views.

| improve this answer | |
  • The last sentence you wrote is correct. I edited the question to make it more clear that I want to ask what happens to that party's ticket. – RockPaperLizard Oct 13 '16 at 6:15
  • Oh, I see what you're saying. Sorry about that. – JohnyNich Oct 14 '16 at 1:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .