The Vote or Not the Vote

Why An Electoral College?

The Electoral College and the Vote…Why An Electoral College?

Americans have no constitutionally protected right to vote in a federal election.

We have the right to not be discriminated against in voting, based on race, color, previous condition of servitude (15th amendment), sex (19th amendment), failure to pay a poll tax (24th amendment) or age, if at least 18 (26th amendment).  But there is no right to vote in a federal election.

LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: People vote at a polling station 02 March 2004 in Los Angeles, California. Besides voting in the “Super Tuesday” primaries for the Democratic presidential nominee, California residents are voting for or against state budget propositions 57 and 58. AFP PHOTO/Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

How the electors for President are chosen is determined by each state’s legislature

Following the 2000 presidential election, there was a dispute as to how votes were to be counted and recounted in Florida.  The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, twice.

In one of those cases, entitled  Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court majority noted that initially, the electors from several of the states were chosen by that state’s legislature, rather than by a popular vote. The majority opinion  also noted that this method is still permissible under the Constitution.

The Constitution also does not require a popular vote for U.S. Representatives or U.S. Senators.

Those who elect members of the House of Representatives must have “the same Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.” Under the 17th amendment, the language for those who choose Senators is virtually the same. So, if a state decided to have the mayors of the state choose the members of the lower house of the state legislature, the mayors would also choose the U.S. Representatives and Senators.

If it decided the Township trustees should select the members of the lower house of the state legislature, the Township Trustees would also choose the U.S. Representatives and Senators. If it decided to have the members of the upper house of the state legislature (except Nebraska which has unicameral or one house legislature) choose the members of the lower house of the state legislature, the members of the upper house would also choose the U.S. Representatives and Senators. The federal Constitution leaves that entirely to the states.

The next question is what form of government do we have in the United States.

I will answer that in the next installment.

 

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John Barrett
About John Barrett 9 Articles
About this author - John B. Barrett: I have been an attorney for over 32 years. Initially, my passion for the Constitution was fueled by my passion for firearms and the second amendment. But as I dove deeper, I found that while the right to keep and bear arms is, as US Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Story, wrote, "the palladium of the liberties of a republic," there was much more I needed to understand. Chief among these is the importance of the founding fathers’ recognition of God as the source of our liberty. I have read Algernon Sidney's Discourses concerning Government, John Locke's Two Treatises Of Civil Government (plus a number of his other works), The Federalist Papers, The Anti-Federalist Papers, Letters from Federalist Farmer to the Republican, Common Sense, the Rights of Man, the transcripts of several of the state conventions considering ratification of the U.S. Constitution, as well as numerous other writings of the founding fathers and early US Supreme Court cases impacting our liberty and the power of government.

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