So assume sometime on the night of November 8th or maybe in the wee hours of the morning on the 9th, the media declares one Hillary Clinton the next president of the US. In response Donald Trump does not accept the results of the election as legitimate.

What are his legal options? Assuming the he is meeting with his crack legal team, what are they going to tell Donald Trump about their options and likelihood of success if Trump goes forward with a challenge to the results?

  • 1
    @SJuan76 I edited out the mention of Trump, because it is irrelevant for the question which candidate loses the election.
    – Philipp
    Oct 24 '16 at 21:50
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    The media declaring a winner doesn't really matter. I remember that the media called Florida for Bush in 2000 and everyone went to sleep and then woke up the next day to find out that the election wasn't over. Oct 24 '16 at 22:00
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    Are there any legal options I don't know about which are only available to Donald Trump and to no other candidate in the same position in this, any past or any future elections? Well, if you want your question to be less useful, that's your loss.
    – Philipp
    Oct 24 '16 at 22:24
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    @NonResidentAlien - I only have 3 words for you. Dewey Defeats Truman
    – user4012
    Oct 25 '16 at 1:52
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    @Philipp I see your point, but also see Jon's point. Technically, the answer applies to any candidate. In reality, it is only plausible with one candidate.
    – user1530
    Oct 25 '16 at 15:26

He can legally demand recounts in States where he can demonstrate a recount is permissible. Since state recount laws vary by state, see this excellent database if you have additional questions.


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    If the current polls are any indicator, he will not get recounts in enough states to make a difference, most states need it pretty close to recount and while he may make this burden in a few states, he will not be likely to win doing this. I was thinking what other legal arguments he may have that would actually have a chance.
    – Jon
    Oct 24 '16 at 19:05
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    Unless there is a specific allegation of election fraud or a recount that is necessary in a given state, there is very little any politician can do to legally challenge results. For more on certifying election results you can go here: uniformlaws.org/shared/docs/military%20and%20overseas%20voters/…
    – user9790
    Oct 24 '16 at 19:11
  • let me clarify, he is going to have to legally disenfranchise/void large numbers to have any chance to turn the results of a large margin win by HC, is this even a remote possibility? If so how?
    – Jon
    Oct 24 '16 at 19:15
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    No, that's not a possibility unless he can somehow prove that those ballots were cast illegally.
    – user9790
    Oct 24 '16 at 19:16
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    Nice, informative answer.
    – SJuan76
    Oct 24 '16 at 20:21

Well the obvious answer was he can sue for recounts, which I accepted as the answer.

But today, election day Donald Trump sued the Clark County elector for letting people in line at closing time still vote. Read details here.

It should be noted that Nevada is a state where Las Vegas and Reno will lean toward the left in an election and the rest of the state is on the right. So if there is a legal strategy here, it is to put into limb the votes in left leaning areas. This particular polling place was at a Latino super market.

In the lawsuit Trump, a New York businessman and reality TV personality who has never previously run for political office, asked that the ballots from that polling place be kept separate from other votes, pending any future legal challenges to the results in the state.

Hanging things up in court, is one of the options.

I would love to hear more options like this, and would like to broaden the question to include this kind of thing. (kind of late I know).

  • This additional question doesn't have at all to do with Trump winning or losing.
    – user9790
    Nov 8 '16 at 20:10

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