2 U.S. Code §383. Response of contestee

Section Text

(a) Answer

Any contestee upon whom a notice of contest as described in section 382 of this title shall be served, shall, within thirty days after the service thereof, serve upon contestant a written answer to such notice, admitting or denying the averments upon which contestant relies. If contestee is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of an averment, he shall so state and this shall have the effect of a denial. Such answer shall set forth affirmatively any other defenses, in law or fact, on which contestee relies. Contestee shall sign and verify such answer by oath or affirmation.

(b) Defenses by motion prior to answer

At the option of contestee, the following defenses may be made by motion served upon contestant prior to contestee’s answer:

(1) Insufficiency of service of notice of contest.

(2) Lack of standing of contestant.

(3) Failure of notice of contest to state grounds sufficient to change result of election.

(4) Failure of contestant to claim right to contestee’s seat.

(c) Motion for more definite statement

If a notice of contest to which an answer is required is so vague or ambiguous that the contestee cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive answer, he may move for a more definite statement before interposing his answer. The motion shall point out the defects complained of and the details desired. If the motion is granted and the order of the committee is not obeyed within ten days after notice of the order or within such other time as the committee may fix, the committee may dismiss the action, or make such order as it deems just.

(d) Time for serving answer after service of motion

Service of a motion permitted under this section alters the time for serving the answer as follows, unless a different time is fixed by order of the committee: If the committee denies the motion or postpones its disposition until the hearing on the merits, the answer shall be served within ten days after notice of such action. If the committee grants a motion for a more definite statement the answer shall be served within ten days after service of the more definite statement.

Editorial Notes

EFFECTIVE DATE Section applicable with respect to any general or special election for Representative in, or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress of the United States occurring after Dec. 5, 1969, see section 19 of Pub. L. 91–138, set out as a note under section 381 of this title.


2 U.S.C. § 383 (2018)