A July 14 editorial was right to caution against a panicky response to the prospect of terrorist disruption of the elections, but the editorial included some legal mistakes.

The Constitution does not say that elections "must take place on a single day across the country." Instead, it merely authorizes Congress to require a uniform date, and in fact early elections for the presidency did not take place on the same day.

Also, existing law already contains a fallback position. It provides that if a state attempts to hold an election on Nov. 2 but the election fails to result in "a choice on the day prescribed by law," then "the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct." Under this provision, states disrupted by a terrorist attack have the authority to reschedule the election while the rest of the union votes on the assigned national day.

While there might well be better long-term solutions, it would be a serious mistake to try a last-minute revision before November.


New Haven

The writer is Sterling professor of law and political science at Yale University.


The editorial on the appropriate time to hold elections was illuminating, but the day elections must be held is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, not the first Tuesday in November as the editorial indicated.


San Jose