Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Twelfth Amendment

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”
This past election, as well as the 2000 campaign, saw widespread discussion of the electoral process and specifically the role of the Electoral College.  How we pick someone to be President has been an issue from the beginning of the Republic, and it was recognized as early as the third election the process, as defined in the Constitution was flawed.
When the United States began the role of the political parties was not widely considered, in fact, the parties really didn’t exist, so the framers set up a process where the top candidate was selected as President, and the Vice President was the runner up.  In the 1776 election, John Adams won, while Thomas Jefferson came in second and became the Vice President.  The problem was Adams was a Federalist, while Jefferson was a Social-Democrat.  Their differences in political beliefs caused Adams a number of problems during his term, and the fact the Vice President served as a tie breaker in the Senate meant Adam’s couldn’t count on him to support him on close votes.
It got worse.  In 1800, there was a tie in the Electoral College with Thomas Jefferson and Arron Burr both getting 73 votes and it went to the House of Representatives to decide who would be President.
The method proved so unsatisfactory for the young republic that the Congress approved the new amendment in December, 1803 and the states ratified it by June, 1804 (189 days) so it could be in place for the 1804 election.
For those complaining about the Electoral College, all you have to do is gain control of sufficient state legislators and the Congress to shove through your own amendment, just as they did in 1804.  The problem for you is right now you, and your party, don’t seem to be doing very well at the grass roots level in the majority of the country.

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