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The Legal Effect of Political Conventions

published September 18, 2008

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left
( 3 votes, average: 3.6 out of 5)
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Conventions are a party's formal recognition of a candidate as its representative in an upcoming election. They give the members of the party an opportunity to formally meet the candidate and also to discuss the party's stand on the important political issues of the day. It is important for parties to hold conventions as a way of formally giving their support to a candidate. A party convention also introduces and markets the ideas of the party and the candidate to its supporters and potential supporters.

Eligibility of Candidates for the Ballot


A political nominee for presidency becomes legally able to enter the race after he or she has fulfilled a number of conditions. The conditions are outlined in the US Constitution and its Amendments. For instance, the person should be at least 35 years of age, he or she must be a citizen of the US by birth, and must have lived permanently in the country for at least 14 years.

The political nominee should also not have served more than two terms in office, and if he or she has served as the acting president, or was the president during another person's term, the candidate cannot be elected for more than an additional term. The candidate also needs one million signatures from supporters in order to be eligible to run for president.

Effects of Election Rules

The US election rules are founded upon the Constitution and Amendments and are outlined simply and clearly. The election rules can considerably effect whether one will become president or not.

The US has 538 electoral colleges and each college has one vote. Therefore the electoral colleges provide a total of 538 votes. The president is elected by electoral votes, and not the popular vote. It is important to note that one may lose the popular vote and still be the president if he or she wins the electoral vote. To win the electoral vote, a candidate requires over 50% of the electoral vote.

To determine the number of electoral votes of a particular state, the number of senators and members of the House of Representatives in that state is added. The District of Columbia has a number of electoral votes equal to the state with the smallest number. This constitutes the electoral vote. All states have two senators, but the number of members of the House of Representatives varies depending on the population of the states. States with larger populations have more members of the House of Representatives than those with lower populations.

Different states award the electoral votes differently to the candidates. In all states except Nebraska and Maine, the candidate who wins the popular vote (most votes) in the State gets all of the electoral votes. Nebraska and Maine allocate electoral votes depending on the votes of each congressional district. The candidate who is awarded the majority vote is the one who has won the popular vote in each congressional district.

In the event that no candidate wins the majority of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives will vote to determine the President. The presidential candidate is the candidate who wins the majority vote and not necessarily the popular vote.

Challenging a Candidate's Nomination

A candidate may challenge the nomination of a rival candidate in the party during the Convention. This can be done as a way to show the weaknesses of the rival candidate, or to show that candidate in a negative light.

A candidate may also opt to go to a court of law if he feels the party's constitution was violated during the nomination of the rival candidate. In the ongoing US presidential race, Senator Clinton could have challenged Senator Obama during the DNC Convention, as the two were on a neck-and-neck battle for the White House. However, she may have decided to forgo this for the sake of unity in the Democratic Party.

In the Republican Convention, there is no likelihood that any challenges will be brought against Senator McCain. All of his challengers for the Republican Party presidential nomination conceded defeat and are rallying behind him. McCain did not face any serious challenges from the other challengers.

Nature of Work of an Election Lawyer

Legal jobs offer many fields of specialization for those who pursue them. Political legal jobs require one to have completed a college degree and have gone to Law school for three years. One is also required to pass a written bar exam that is administered in the State where he wishes to practice. There is high competition for entry into law school.

Although it is not required, election lawyers should be proficient in writing, researching, reading, analyzing, and thinking logically. It is recommended that you have a multidisciplinary major background such as political science, government, public speaking, economics, history, English, and others. An election attorney also needs to be licensed or be admitted to the Bar of the state or states in whose jurisdiction he or she wishes to practice .

As a convention lawyer, some of your responsibilities include keeping abreast of what your client's opposition is doing, in order to protect your client. An election attorney may represent political action committees (PACs), political parties or oversight agencies. His or her responsibilities are both administrative and legal. If you are working in a political legal job in the private sector, you may be involved with fundraising during election campaigns. Election lawyers deal with both Democrats and Republicans, but not both at the same time. He or she advises his candidate on how to comply with election laws, and sets out legal strategies to be followed by the candidate or political party.

Conclusion

Political legal jobs have become lucrative fields in recent years. In fact, election lawyers have become critical as political candidates and parties lay down legal strategies to secure victory, and work to seal any legal loopholes through which their opponents may seek advantage.

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Harrison is the founder of BCG Attorney Search and several companies in the legal employment space that collectively gets thousands of attorneys jobs each year. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. Harrison is widely considered the most successful recruiter in the United States and personally places multiple attorneys most weeks. His articles on legal search and placement are read by attorneys, law students and others millions of times per year.

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