Bruce Letsch writes with his concerns about Donald Trump cancelling the 2020 election and remaining in office (“Would Trump cancel the election?,” letter, April 16). Is there any constitutional guidance to consider to mitigate such a proposal? Let’s read the law.

First, are voters electing the president (and vice-president)? No, we’re choosing “electors” (four in Maine) who meet and cast ballots as members of the Electoral College. Article II, Section 1 reads, in part, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”

So, each state is responsible for holding elections to choose the number of electors. As just witnessed in Wisconsin’s primary election, local officials take that responsibility of holding elections pretty seriously; the federal executive has no right to intervene.

Is Trump able to remain in office, seemingly forever, as has been suggested? Not according to the 20th amendment, ratified in 1933. If successors have not been chosen and their election certified, “the terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January.”

But there’s more.

Without successors, Congress shall designate a person to serve in the office of president “until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.” The new Congress shall have been seated (the 20th amendment termed out the old one on Jan. 3) and it would be the speaker of the House taking the reigns of power as president.

If re-elected, how likely would it be for the present speaker to move into the Oval Office?

Cancel the election? Maybe not!

F. Gerard Nault

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