Inspired by this tweet:

In Detroit, there are FAR MORE VOTES THAN PEOPLE. Nothing can be done to cure that giant scam. I win Michigan! -@realdonaldtrump

Let us, for the sake of argument, assume the following claims from the tweet are true:

  • "there are FAR MORE VOTES THAN PEOPLE" (i.e. there are invalid votes)
  • "Nothing can be done to cure that giant scam." (invalid votes cannot be identified and removed from the count)
  • Trump would have won Michigan except for Detroit. (implied in the tweet)

What would be likely to happen if these three points could be proven in court?

  • 9
    It should be noted, conspicuously, that the first assumption is counterfactual (i.e., the claim is false: Detroit's actual participation rate "was 49.6%, with 250,138 votes cast and 504,714 registered voters"). (Source: freep.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/06/…) If the claim were true, the participation rate would be "FAR" greater than 100%.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 16:58
  • 2
    which is why I said "for the sake of argument" Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 17:01
  • 15
    Of course. But that is rather too subtle for some, and in fact assuming something "for the sake of argument" doesn't necessarily imply that it is counterfactual; it only calls attention to the possibility. An explicit statement to that effect is warranted.
    – phoog
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 17:03
  • Surely there are lots of mechanisms, lots of courts, lots of ... What is the mechanism by which an aeroplane can be constructed? What would be likely to happen if we attached some wings and a fuselage and an engine? It seems very broad. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 17:11
  • 2
    "Far more votes than people" is probably not true. See (the Snopes links in) skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/49808/… for how such a conclusion is usually derived in the US. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


Up until the vote is certified, a legal action could be brought asserting that the result was improperly and inaccurately certified, probably in a state court.

Once an electoral vote has been cast based upon a result, that electoral vote is not justiciable, i.e. outside the jurisdiction of the courts.

Congress could decline to recognize the electoral votes cast with a joint resolution passed by majorities of both the House and the Senate (as reconstituted on January 3, 2021 and possibly later depending upon when the vote is held).

Otherwise, the electoral votes stand and are given effect, notwithstanding the irregularities involved. One could not, for example, remove a President from office on that basis once the electoral vote tally is confirmed by Congress, even if blatant fraud was discovered.

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