Electoral College – the strongest fear, is the fear of the unknown
Would our founding fathers recognize the present day Presidential election? Is a party based, primary laden, conventions, media promoted process what the founders had in mind? Or has it morphed into a bastardization version of the intended process?
Every four years the voters of United States go to the polls to “elect” it’s President. The Electoral College process has been under scrutiny. Many feel the process is archaic and should be changed.
“Not so fast!” Who really understands the Electoral College? Our founding fathers were brilliant men. Would they have created a flawed system? In order to have a discussion on the Electoral College we first need to review the rules and understand the intent of the founders.
“What the hells going on out there?”
The United States is a republic, a constitutional, confederate republic. A republic differs from a democracy in that the voters elect representative to serve as their voice.
A republic usually includes a charter. The charter of the United States is the Constitution. The Constitution describes our representative governmental procedures and the balance of powers.
A confederacy is an organization by which several smaller states agree to become a members of a larger one. Our confederacy is some times called a union. Our union of fifty states is the bases of our name, the United States of America.
The Intent – Failures Are Errors in Justice, Not of Intent
The founding fathers developed a unique process to elect the President of the United State. They had several issues that they wanted to addressed. The four most common were as follows;
- Majority rule or popular vote. They believed this was not the best way to determine a leader. They felt that majorityism (majority rule) could be too reactionary, too emotionally and could be overly influenced by current events and populist movements.
- Distrust of central authority. They wanted to insure against the executive branch becoming a monarchy. The felt that the process should be diverse.
- Independent. They felt that the president should be beholden to no one. They wanted to insulated the selection process from the influence of individual, group or organizations.
- States sovereignty. They wanted the states to be the most powerful broker in the selection process. The sanctity of the state was paramount.
Their intent was to create a selection process that was decentralize and promoted discussion and discourse. This process would be insulated from the influence of special interest groups while being controlled by the elected representatives of the sovereign states. The result was the Electoral College System.
The Process – Is the road to hell paved with good intentions?
- Voters elect representatives
- The elected representatives, represent the voter at different levels of government. These levels can be local, state or national.
- Representatives at the state level become part of the State Legislature.
- State Legislature is a generic term, some state have different names for it (General Court, General Assembly, Legislative Assembly)
- Representative at the national level become part of Congress either in the House of Representatives (Congressmen) or in the Senate (US Senator)
- The State Legislature select the Electoral College Members.
- The Electoral Members vote to elect the President of the United States.
* If, in the Electoral College procedure, no candidate receives the majority of the total Electoral votes, the the House of Representative will then select the President
The Electoral College – It’s a State Institute
The Electoral Process satisfies the founder’s four concerns.
1) Majority rule or popular vote. The process is as close to the voter as possible without the voter directly selecting the President.
2) Distrust of central authority. It is a decentralized process. Each state, all fifty state , hold elections on voting day to “elect” the President.
3) Independent. The Electoral College Member are, in theory, independant citizens selected from the state’s community.
4) States sovereignty. The Electoral College process is controlled by the states citizens, State Legislatures and state selected Electoral College Members.
Graduate Studies – More About the College
The number of Electoral Members is determined by the number of representatives that the states has in Congress (the number of US Senators plus the number of US Representative). The more populated states would have more votes, they represented more people, but the less populated state would be proportionately represented.
The Electoral College would be selected every four years. The members could not include “Senator or Representative persons holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States”
The intent being that the Electoral members would be non-partisian, well respected citizens from their state’s community having the state best interests in mind.
Voting – Who wins a popular vote for dinner between 2 wolves and 1 chicken?
Congress will determine the time of chusing the Electors. Each state will hold their state’s elections on the same day.
Upon receiving the election results, the Electors will meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President. The Electoral Members will make a list of all persons receiving votes. The results are delivered to the President of the United States Senate.
In front of Congress, the President of the Senate will open and count the votes. The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President.
If the top vote getter does not receive a majority of all the Electoral cast the process is moved to the House of Representatives along with the names of the top three vote getters.
House of Representatives – Where Overtime Sudden Victory Happens
Every state will receive one vote. However, the one vote is determined by the contingent of that state’s US Representatives. The State will conduct a quorum. The quorum will only commense when two-thirds of the US Representative are present. Each US Representative will vote for their choice.
The winner of this vote will be that state’s one vote. Each states will then cast it’s one vote. The President would be determined by the majority.
Do Votes Count? – Add Your Voice to the Choir of Opinions and Action
Yes! Kinda! We delegate our voice to the representatives we elect . The State Legislature, is the closest voice of we the people. The State Legislature selects the Electoral College members.These members technically select the President.
On voting day, the citizen cast their vote for a Presidential candidate. The votes are counted. The results “determine” how the Electoral College member will vote. Ultimately, the President is “elected” by the 50 states’ Electoral College members. It’s a process consistent for a constitutional, confederate republic.
Part 2 will attempt to answer the question, “Has the intent of the process been compromised?”