Here Is One Way to Steal the Presidential Election

(Originally published by The New York Times on January 22, 2024)

Voting hands

What happens when you stress-test America’s system for electing a president? How well does it hold up?

After the assault on the nation’s Capitol three years ago, we worked through every strategy we could imagine for subverting the popular will by manipulating the law. What we found surprised us. We determined that the most commonly discussed strategies — such as a state legislature picking a new slate of electors to the Electoral College — wouldn’t work because of impediments built into the Constitution. We also concluded that the most blatantly extreme strategies, such as a state canceling its election and selecting its electors directly, are politically unlikely.

(Continue reading the opinion essay on The New York Times’ page here)

Matthew Seligman, JD ’11 (BA/BS/MA ’02), is a fellow at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. He is a lawyer and legal scholar whose academic research focuses on election law, with a particular emphasis on disputed presidential elections. His broader research interests span constitutional law, federal courts, contracts, and private law theory. His scholarship has appeared in the Stanford Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and elsewhere. His work on disputed presidential elections has received extensive coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and dozens of other venues. He is a frequent commentator on election law issues, including numerous appearances on CNN, MSNBC, and other news channels.