As a habitual pessimist, I sometimes have horrible thoughts. This morning, I woke up with a pair of what ifs?
What if the president-elect dies after the election but before inauguration?
What if the candidate dies after the convention but before the election?
I didn’t know the answers to these questions. I thought it might be covered in the constitution. The answer to the first is found there: article two, section 1, and amendments XII and XX.
I googled the question, and came up with http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_pvp.html
Here’s the way I interpret what the website tells me:
Say the president-elect is Obama and he dies of accident, illness, or assassination before inauguration. This is a no-brainer. Biden takes over as both president and president-elect. If it’s Romney, then the constitution says that Ryan becomes the president-elect and will be inaugurated. If it’s both, then the members of the Electoral College select a president and vice-president.
If the candidate dies before election day, his name may remain on the ballot, if it has already been printed. If not, the party in each state can substitute another name. The voters may end up voting for a dead person, but they are really voting for the electors from the state, who will cast their votes for whoever they see fit in December.
So, it’s all covered. Let’s hope these things never happen, but it’s good that procedures are in place.