SCOTUS to Hear Electoral College Case That Could Impact 2020 Election
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Thread: SCOTUS to Hear Electoral College Case That Could Impact 2020 Election

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    Ancient Gaseous Emanation Popeye's Avatar
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    Default SCOTUS to Hear Electoral College Case That Could Impact 2020 Election

    Supremes to Decide if Electoral College Voters Must Vote for Winner of State Popular Vote

    Bronson Stocking
    Jan 17, 2020


    On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that would decide whether electoral college electors must vote for the winner of their state's popular vote. Half the states currently have laws requiring electors to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state.

    Electors who do not vote in accordance to the winner of their state's popular vote are known as "faithless electors." According to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], the so-called problem of faithless electors has never really been an actual problem before. In fact, most states simply throw out the ballot of an elector who doesn't follow the state's popular vote.

    But in 2016, the Democrats ran such a rotten candidate that several electors in states carried by Hillary Clinton cast their ballots for someone else. One elector in Colorado voted for John Kasich, one in Hawaii voted for Bernie Sanders, and four in Washington state voted for two different people -- three for Colin Powell and one for Faith Spotted Eagle, the name of a Native American activist, not Elizabeth Warren. Other Democratic electors contemplated voting differently but were [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] pressured into voting for Clinton. Colorado simply replaced its errant elector with one that would vote for Hillary, while Washington state fined their independent-thinking electors for violating state law.

    The Washington state Supreme Court ruled against the electors who challenged the fines imposed upon them. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Steven Gonzalez took issue with the court's decision, arguing "[t]he Constitution provides the state only with the power to appoint, leaving the electors with the discretion to vote their conscience."

    While states can choose their own electors and require them to pledge certain loyalties, once the electors form the electoral college they are no longer serving a state function but a federal one.

    The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Justice Gonzalez's dissent, ruling that electors can vote for any legitimate candidate they choose.

    "The states' power to appoint electors does not include the power to remove them or nullify their votes," the 10th Circuit declared.

    Just like Arizonans can vote to send Jeff Flake to the Senate, but, once there, the voters cannot nullify Flake's votes or fine the senator for voting his conscience, as much as the voters would like to.

    In 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state laws requiring electors to abide by the popular vote of the state did not violate the Constitution, but the high court never ruled whether the states can enforce those pledges after the fact.

    The lawyer for the Washington State electors, Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig is hoping the case will focus attention on what he characterizes as shortcomings in the Electoral College when it comes to reflecting the outcome of the popular vote.

    “It could also convince both sides that it is finally time to step up and modify the Constitution to address this underlying problem,” Professor Lessig [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. The professor suggested such fixes as the National Popular Vote plan or even a constitutional amendment.

    Because a Democrat lost the last presidential election, surely something must be wrong with the Constitution that allowed it to happen.

    The case goes before the court this spring and a decision is expected by the end of June.




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    Senior Member NGF Addict! square target2's Avatar
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    It's a shame that something like this even needs to go to court. While i sympathize with the ones that tossed out their votes(especially the one for the eagle!) for hillary it was wrong.
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    Senior Member RaySendero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popeye View Post
    Popeye Posted Link Quote:

    On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that would decide whether electoral college electors must vote for the winner of their state's popular vote. Half the states currently have laws requiring electors to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state.

    Electors who do not vote in accordance to the winner of their state's popular vote are known as "faithless electors." .....

    Ok maybe silly question: Why have "ELECTORS" in the first place?

    Why wasn't the system just designed to have all state electoral votes go to the winner?
    I really don't see the need for "ELECTORS" at all !!!
    Ray

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    Electoral College

    The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List 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 shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing 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. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.
    Article II, Section 1, Clause 3
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    At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, delegates had expressed concern that a meeting of a single body in the nation's capital to elect a President opened the door to intrigue and undue influence by special interests, foreign governments, and political factions. Meeting in their home states, electors would find it difficult to collude or buy and sell votes.
    A more difficult problem was how to structure the voting within the Electoral College. During the debates at the Constitutional Convention, some delegates argued that the diversity and dispersal of the people over an expansive territory militated against direct popular election, for voters would be unable to form a majority behind any one candidate. In response, James Madison proposed that every individual voter cast three votes for President, at least two for persons from a state other than his own. Madison's idea later resurfaced, and the Convention applied it in modified form to the presidential electors of the Electoral College. Requiring each elector to cast two votes for President increased the chances that electors could form a majority. Indeed, under the arithmetic, it was possible that as many as three candidates could have a majority of the votes of the electors. The provision did not prevent a New York elector from voting for two Virginians, but prohibited a Virginia elector from doing so. The Framers also accepted Madison's small but significant amendment to add the word "appointed" after the original text requiring a "Majority of the whole Number of Electors" for election. Thus the basis of what constitutes a majority changes if a state fails to appoint electors. As it turned out, in the first presidential election, New York failed to appoint electors, and George Washington won by the unanimous vote of the electors appointed.
    If two or three persons received a majority vote and an equal vote, the House of Representatives must choose one of them for President. In deference to a suggestion by George Washington, the Convention gave this responsibility to the popularly elected House, not the Senate, but representatives had to vote as state delegations, each state having one vote. If no candidate received a majority of the electoral vote, the House would choose from among the top five candidates. Because each state had one vote, regardless of population, the procedure gave proportionately more influence to the smaller states. The choice of five also gave to smaller states a greater chance of having one of their residents elected by the House, a concession to them that balanced the advantage that large states had in the electoral vote. The contingency election process also reassured delegates who had favored congressional election of the President in the first instance. The Twelfth Amendment modified these provisions, following a crisis in 1800, when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each received an equal number of electoral votes.
    The creation of the office of Vice President appears to have been directly related to the mode of choosing the President. The Constitution gives to the Vice President only two specific constitutional responsibilities: he is President of the Senate, and he receives and opens the electoral votes. In 1789, the Senate elected John Langdon as President of the Senate "for the sole purpose of opening and counting the votes for President of the United States" (there being no sitting Vice President). In 1793, the Vice President, John Adams, "opened, read, and delivered" the certificates and votes of the electors to the tellers appointed by the respective houses. The tellers "ascertained the votes." By 1797, Vice President Adams only opened and delivered the certificates and reports of the electors to the tellers who counted the votes. Practice has generally followed that precedent. The issue of who counts the votes was particularly sensitive in 1876, during the contested election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden. There were disputes in South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, and Oregon about which electors had been appointed. The President of the Senate, Thomas W. Ferry, was a Republican; the Democratic Party controlled the House and the Republicans controlled the Senate. The Congress invented a novel solution to the problem of who would count the votes by creating an electoral commission, composed of five Senators, five Representatives, and five Supreme Court Justices, to determine the results.
    Finally, under this clause, whoever was runner-up in the electoral vote, with or without a majority vote, presumably a national figure competent to serve as President, became Vice President. Clearly, the Founders did not anticipate rival national political parties whose top candidates could be the top two vote recipients. In the 1796 election, Federalist John Adams became President and Republican Thomas Jefferson (Adams's bitter political opponent) became Vice President. Four years later, both Jefferson and his Vice-Presidential running mate, Aaron Burr, received an equal number of votes. The House ultimately voted in favor of Jefferson, but only after thirty-six ballots. Hence, the Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, also changed this method of choosing the Vice President. In the contingency election for Vice President, the Senate makes the choice. Senators do not vote as state delegations; thus, disagreements between the two Senators from a state do not lead to a stalemate. Only one time in U.S. history, in 1836, did the Senate choose the Vice President, Richard M. Johnson, who served under Martin Van Buren.
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    Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    The Twelfth Amendment (Amendment XII) to the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] provides the procedure for electing the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. It replaced the procedure provided in [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], by which the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] originally functioned. The amendment was proposed by the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] on December 9, 1803, and was ratified by the requisite three-fourths of [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] on June 15, 1804. The new rules took effect for the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and have governed all subsequent presidential elections.
    Under the original rules of the Constitution, each member of the Electoral College cast two electoral votes, with no distinction made between electoral votes for president and electoral votes for vice president. The presidential candidate receiving the greatest number of votes—provided that number equaled a majority of the electors—was elected president, while the presidential candidate receiving the second-most votes was elected vice president. In cases where no individual won a vote from a majority of the electors, as well in cases where multiple individuals won a majority but tied each other for the most votes, the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] would hold a [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] to select the president. In cases where multiple candidates tied for the second-most votes, the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] would hold a contingent election to select the vice president. The first four presidential elections were conducted under these rules.
    The experiences of the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] spurred legislators to amend the presidential election process, requiring each member of the Electoral College to cast one electoral vote for president and one electoral vote for vice president. Under the new rules, a contingent election is still held by the House of Representatives if no candidate wins a presidential electoral vote from a majority of the electors, but there is no longer any possibility of multiple candidates winning presidential electoral votes from a majority of electors. The Twelfth Amendment also lowered the number of candidates eligible to be selected by the House in a presidential contingent election from five to three, established that the Senate would hold a contingent election for vice president if no candidate won a majority of the vice presidential electoral vote, and provided that no individual constitutionally ineligible to the office of president would be eligible to serve as vice president.

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    Senior Member NGF Addict! Fitasc Shooter's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be interesting if we elected the President and Vice President separately? Some states do that with the Governor and his Assistant............Could be interesting to have one from one party and the other from the other party...............
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    Senior Member up2it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitasc Shooter View Post
    Wouldn't it be interesting if we elected the President and Vice President separately? Some states do that with the Governor and his Assistant............Could be interesting to have one from one party and the other from the other party...............
    It can happen now according to the 12th Amendment.

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    Electoral College Background


    Indirect Popular Voting
    The Electoral College system is an indirect system of voting. Under the Electoral College, American citizens are voting for an elector, who would then vote for the President. Those citizens are not directly voting for the President. The framers of the Constitution had a number of different reasons for doing this. Some of those reasons were embedded firmly in the nature of the time period in which the Constitution was written. For example, a direct election would have been impractical for the time. Collecting all the votes of all the citizens and then tabulating those votes would have taken inordinate amounts of time to do as a single, direct election. By splitting it into an Electoral College system, in which each citizen is effectively voting within his or her State, the system became much more easily managed.

    Additionally, the framers of the Constitution were attempting to prevent too much power from being directly put into the hands of the public. They were consistently wary of any one party having too much power, and there was no difference between a tyranny of one individual and a tyranny of the majority, in their opinion. The Electoral College system was designed so as to nullify some of the potential for the tyranny of the majority by making population less important in the whole of the Electoral College process. For more information about the indirect voting system of the Electoral College and its advantages and disadvantages, follow the link.
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    "You talkin to me?" NGF Addict! Viper123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitasc Shooter View Post
    Wouldn't it be interesting if we elected the President and Vice President separately? Some states do that with the Governor and his Assistant............Could be interesting to have one from one party and the other from the other party...............
    why? so the VP could counter the POTUS.. seems to me they would probably be at odds with each other and could not work out an agenda to suit POTUS.... just my 2 cents
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    Senior Member NGF Addict! Rivervalley0311's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaySendero View Post
    Ok maybe silly question: Why have "ELECTORS" in the first place?

    Why wasn't the system just designed to have all state electoral votes go to the winner?
    I really don't see the need for "ELECTORS" at all !!!
    This is why we need the Electoral College.....Hillary won the popular vote in 2016....the founding fathers knew the populace wasn't to be trusted to make the right decision....hence the Electoral College.

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