Abolishing the Electoral College?

by DARLENE CASELLA October 10, 2011
 
Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in the Presidential Election of 1800. Jefferson was subsequently elected by a vote in the House of Representatives.  To ensure that this could not happen again, Congress proposed and ratified a new design of the Electoral College which was ratified in 1804, as the 12th Amendment. 
 
The popular vote idea was presented at that time, and rejected.  The Founders were acutely aware of the populist degeneration into dictatorship that resulted from the recent French Revolution. They saved our country from a similar fate.
 
The United States of America is a Republic, not a Democracy. This leads to misconceptions about our election processes. 
 
The Founders conceived a concept to prevent a majority from infringing upon the rights of a minority. They accomplished this by establishing a representative, rather than democratic, election process.   The majority mob rule of France had taken away property rights and eventually civil rights from the minority with which they disagreed. The Wall Street protestors appear to have a similar goal. The founders disavowed the popular vote to insure fundamental freedoms of all citizens; and to protect minority interests from a majority mob influence. 
 
In 1804 the Electoral College established fair representative electors. Each state’s electors are determined by the combined number of senators and congressmen in that state. Each state has two senators. The number of Congress Members is determined by population poll statistics. California has two senators and 53 members of Congress, for a total of 55 electoral votes.  Tiny Vermont has two Senators and one Congressman for 3 electoral votes.
 
Elections for President and Vice president of the United States are indirect elections. Voters cast ballots for a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or other slate.   The state electors in turn directly elect the President and Vice President.  The Founders strongly desired that small population states, as well as large, have a voice in determining the Presidential outcome.   That is accomplished through the Electoral College system. 
 
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) has been a populist movement since 2007.  Their goal is to replace the Electoral College of the 12th Amendment.  NPVIC uses a technical detail in the Constitution to bypass the two thirds majority vote in both houses required to overturn an Amendment.  The 18th Amendment, Prohibition, was overturned by the 22nd Amendment which repealed Prohibition.  
 
As of September 2011 the NPVIC bill has passed the state legislatures of California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington.    This gives it 132 of the required 270 electoral votes needed to enact the popular vote legislation.
 
Votes are pending in the states of Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. 
 
The bill passed twice in the uber liberal legislature of California; however it was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The third time through, Gov Jerry Brown signed it into law.
 
If the NPVIC gets the required 270 electoral votes, 8 cities will elect the president. The latest statistics show that the largest population centers in the country are Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and San Jose. Eight cities in six states would determine the election. This is not the geographic distribution desired by the Founders.
 
The populist path to hell, paved by George Soros and Michael Moore, seems the route that liberal Americans wish to take. Claims that the democratic process is incompetent and failing and needs an overhaul may be true. However holding the Electoral College responsible for problems of government is wrongheaded.  This rhetoric plays well to the masses who may have degrees, but are not educated. Their slogan could be “We are mad as hell, and we don’t know why”. 
If your state is pending this legislation, please contact your elected representatives. Under the radar, the NPVIC virus is spreading across the country. 
 
 
Family Security Matters Contributor Darlene Casella was, before her retirement, an English teacher, a stockbroker, and president/owner of a small corporation. She lives with her husband in , California, and can be reached at thedeadseawest@aol.com.La Quinta
 

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