"There's nothing in the Constitution which requires a popular election for the electors serving in the Electoral College," says John Nagle, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, meaning the body that officially elects presidents could convene without the general public voting.Here's how the Democratic National Committee wouls select a nominee to replace Hillary )via USNWR):
"It's up to each state legislature to decide how they want to choose the state's electors," Nagle says. "It may be a situation in which the fact that we have an Electoral College, rather than direct voting for presidential candidates, may prove to be helpful."
Both major parties do have rules for presidential ticket replacements, however, and Congress has the power to change the election date under Article II of the Constitution, which allows federal lawmakers to set dates for the selection of presidential electors and when those electors will vote.
But Congress would be up against a de facto December deadline, as the Constitution's 20th Amendment requires that congressional terms expire Jan. 3 and presidential terms on Jan. 20. Though it's conceivable to split legislative and presidential elections, they generally happen at the same time. And if the entire general election were to be moved after Jan. 3, Congress effectively would have voted themselves out of office.
Yale Law School professor Akhil Reed Amar considers in a 1994 article in the Arkansas Law Review the possibility of a special presidential election being pushed to after Jan. 20, with the speaker of the House serving as acting president until an election could pick "a real president for the remainder of the term." But he tells U.S. News that scenario probably is far-fetched.
Is it possible for the election to be delayed until after Jan. 20, leaving both the offices of president and vice president temporarily vacant? Perhaps, Amar says, but "it wouldn't make sense if it were permissible, given there actually are answers. Why would you ever do that?"
Amar recommends an up to four-week postponement of Election Day if a candidate dies just before voting, or even if there's a major terrorist attack.
The possible last-minute replacement of a candidate attracts some cyclical coverage, but this year the scenario would play out after consistent conjecture about the health of Democrat Hillary Clinton...
[T]he party rules for replacing a presidential nominee merely specify that a majority of members must be present at a special meeting called by the committee chairman. The meeting would follow procedures set by the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee and proxy voting would not be allowed...
Richard Winger, editor of Ballot Access News and an expert on presidential election history, says state election officials likely would be compelled to accept a major party's request to swap candidates, citing precedent set in 1972 when states allowed Democrats to replace vice presidential nominee Thomas Eagleton, who was revealed to be a shock therapy patient, with Sargent Shriver.
Winger says every state but South Dakota also allowed the prominent 1980 independent candidate John Anderson to swap his vice presidential candidate Milton Eisenhower for former Wisconsin Gov. Patrick Lucey.