Holding the 2020 Election Under Crisis: Assessing the Constitutional and Legal Challenges

1.5 ethics credits

The 2020 presidential election faces unprecedented challenges, from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, threats of foreign interference, and social unrest, to questions about the United States Postal Service’s resources and ability to handle unprecedented volume of ballots by mail. These issues interact with and could amplify existing disparities in access to voting related to race and socioeconomic status. With experts widely predicting that full election results may not be available for many weeks after election night, pivotal states like Pennsylvania must think through and put into place measures to ensure the integrity of the election process.


On Wednesday, September 2, from 12:30-2:00 p.m. EDT, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, in partnership with Keep Our Republic, a non-partisan non-profit composed of citizens, bipartisan former officials and civic leaders who are committed to ensuring the smooth and regular operation of our electoral system, will host a virtual symposium during which a panel of experts from different fields will assess the aforementioned risks to, and potential problems with, the election process, and propose practical responses to mitigate those risks and shortfalls.

Key issues to be discussed:

  • What are some of the novel risk scenarios for holding this election?
  • How might a delay of vote counting and certification affect the process and outcome?
  • What can states do to mitigate the various risks to the election process?
  • What are the Constitutional parameters and guardrails that come into play?
  • How would a contingent election work under the 12th amendment?


Your Instructor


University of Pennsylvania Law School
University of Pennsylvania Law School

Course Curriculum


  Holding the 2020 Election Under Crisis
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