Is Florida in violation os US 3 S.5?
At Mario’s lair, Mick suggests that:
“The state of Florida is now in violation of US Code 3 S. 5 (3 U.S.C. § 5) for not adjudicating with finality a properly made election challenge by the “safe harbor” of 6 days prior to the Elector Meeting (Dec. 17).”
“If any State shall have provided, by laws enacted prior to the day fixed for the appointment of the electors, for its final determination of any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of all or any of the electors of such State, by judicial or other methods or procedures, and such determination shall have been made at least six days before the time fixed for the meeting of the electors, such determination made pursuant to such law so existing on said day, and made at least six days prior to said time of meeting of the electors, shall be conclusive, and shall govern in the counting of the electoral votes as provided in the Constitution, and as hereinafter regulated, so far as the ascertainment of the electors appointed by such State is concerned.”—US Code 3 S.5
The relevant part is ”If any State shall have provided…” So has Florida provided for such a law? If not, then there is no violation of the “safe harbor” component.
As this article explains: If the State fails to make a final decision by the deadline, Congress has much greater latitude in deciding what path to follow but if the State submits a single slate, there are no pending disagreements.
The federally prescribed Electoral College procedures put a premium on states resolving post-election disputes by the safe harbor date. Looking at both recent history and plausible scenarios for the 2008 election casts doubt on whether this can fairly be accomplished under the existing timetable in the event of a close and disputed election.
So contrary to Mick’s suggestion 3 USC 5 does not require a State to resolve its disputes. In fact, the failure to resolve the issue means that the slate of electors certified by the State of Florida will have to be recognized by Congress as the safe harbor deadline has passed.