Clinton Says Election Results Could Be Fake. Can She Contest?

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton was criticised for swearing on TV. Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Hillary Clinton is now floating the possibility of questioning the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Clinton, who has been touring the nation in support of her new book about the election, What Happened, said during an interview with NPR on Monday she wouldn't rule out questioning the legitimacy of the election, even though it is now more than 10 months since her surprising loss to Donald Trump.

"I want to get back to the question, would you completely rule out questioning the legitimacy of this election if we learn that the Russian interference in the election is even deeper than we know now?" host Terry Gross asked.

"No, I would not," Clinton responded.

She pointed out that even if she did challenge the results, she does not believe there is a mechanism to handle the unprecedented request.

"I don't know if there's any legal constitutional way to do that; I think you can raise questions," she told NPR. "…there are scholars, academics, who have arguments that it would be [constitutional], but I don't think they're on strong ground. But people are making those arguments; I just don't think we have a mechanism."

She could be correct.

The Constitution is designed to handle the administration of elections, but not questions about their legitimacy, Julia Azari, an associate professor of political science at Marquette University, wrote for FiveThirtyEight. She pointed to the Constitution, which gives the Electoral College "broad discretion to resolve disputes as it saw fit."

"The text of the Constitution pretty much says an election is legitimate when the Electoral College says it is," she wrote.

Azari wrote that legal scholars have argued both ways on whether a re-do is even an option, adding that the only clear mechanism in place to undo an election is impeachment.

But even that might not be the right solution in this case, because it needs to be based on "individual wrongdoing."

"In that sense, even if collusion revelations did lead to Trump's impeachment and removal from office, the process wouldn't really address the question of whether his election had been legitimate in the first place," Azari wrote.

She said a change in the Constitution on this point is well overdue.

"When it comes to the possibility that the winning side colluded with a foreign power to influence the election outcome, the Constitution doesn't offer much in the way of a plan," she said.

Clinton Says Election Results Could Be Fake. Can She Contest? | U.S.