Prevent Dangerous “Lame Duck” Presidents by Shortening Time Between Elections and Inaugurations

Target: Representative Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Goal: Propose a Constitutional amendment to shorten the time between a presidential election and inauguration.

The United States has been plagued by violence during the time between the presidential election and the inauguration of President-elect Joseph Biden. The transition of power has neither been smooth nor peaceful, as five people have died as a result of a violent insurrection at the nation’s Capitol, led by disgruntled President Donald Trump supporters.

The time between the presidential election and the inauguration often leaves the nation with a lame duck president, who retains all of the powers of the highest political office in the most powerful nation in the world while not having time to enact any major changes. In the case of this most current election, this poses a grave danger to both the democracy of the United States as well as the nation’s citizens. Stanford Levinson of the University of Texas said, “There is something profoundly troubling in allowing repudiated presidents to continue to exercise the prerogatives of what is usually called ‘the most powerful political office in the world.’”

The two-and-a-half month length of time between the presidential election and the inauguration was built into the Constitution in 1933 to allow for a new administration to have sufficient time to travel to Washington, DC during the winter months. Travel is no longer delayed by weather as drastically as it once was. Even if foul weather was a factor, it would not take two-and-a-half months for a newly elected president to arrive in Washington, DC.

Sign this petition to urge Vice President Pence to propose an amendment to the Constitution that shortens the time between a presidential election and the inauguration of the new president.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Speaker Pelosi,

In Britain, Japan, France, India, and Canada, changes in political leadership after the democratic election of new politicians happen in under 20 days. The length of time between a presidential election in the United States and the inauguration of the new president is outdated and potentially dangerous. This stretch of time was originally built into the Constitution to provide travel time for the new president and his administration to travel to Washington, DC during the winter months, when foul weather could be in play. However, modern travel technologies have made weather delays a thing of the past. This travel time is no longer needed. The two-and-a-half months between the presidential election and the inauguration only result in the possibility of  a lame duck president.

During this election cycle, we have seen firsthand how this stretch of time in the transition of leadership in the United States can lead to unrest, violence, and death. When a president is elected, he should take office as soon as possible. I urge you to propose a Constitutional amendment that shortens the time between a presidential election and inauguration.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mark Rasmussen




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  • Aaron Grafton
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