Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 10:42:20 -0800 (PST)

The Electoral College

From Mike Hoekstra (Al's commentary follows):

So, how about this election stuff? Who'd have thought that the boringest campaign in recent years would end in the most exciting election of our generation. Quite the farce, if you ask me...

If anything has proven to me the need to retain the Electoral College it is this election. The popular vote is stuck at a virtual tie. No matter how many times they recount the votes they will not get an accurate tally, therefore creating a statistical dead heat. This should be left up to the Electoral College, which offically casts its ballots on December 18th, and all of this wrangling over the votes in Florida should cease. Ther is really no point in dragging any of this out any longer. The people have spoken, and they are divided almost right down the middle. Now is the time for our system to be allowed to work as it was meant to. I do not want to see this thing get decided in the House of Representatives, which is, although barely, Republican controled.

See you soon in the near future, on the other side of tomorrow, in the funny papers.



From Al:

Okay, I agree with Mike on retaining the Electoral College. Please consider that if we elected the president directly, we would have to recount every single vote in the country for this election. That would create a logistical nightmare. The current split between Bush and Gore in the popular vote is about a quarter million votes. That difference is statistically insignificant in that it represents only about three tenths of one percent of those who voted.

There's a problem. How should the Florida Electors vote? It's not clear. Additionally, I believe that each state has two sets of Electors, one for each of the two major parties. When a state falls to a particular party, the set of Electors is supposed to be chosen based on which party gathered the largest vote. If Florida does have two sets of Electors, there will be one hell of a problem in figuring out which set to use. Of course, the Dems and Reps could compromise by splitting their Electors, and out of fairness to what is taken to be the actual count in Florida, give the odd one to the Reps (or how about Nader? One Elector represents about four percent of Florida's population). That seems to be a reasonable compromise. Of course, we have to question the Constitutionality of such a procedure. Furthermore, we have to question the Constitutionality of multiple sets of Electors as well. It's pretty weird all around.

If the Electoral College can't decide, selection of the President goes to the House of Representatives, and selection of the vice-president goes to the Senate (see the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution). Each state gets only one vote in this. Being that twenty-seven states fell to Bush, we'll probably get Bush (Does D.C. Get a vote?). If the House can't decide, then the vice-president becomes president until such time as Congress is able to select a president (see also Section 3 of the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution).

Here's a nifty scenario: The House chooses Bush and the Senate chooses Leiberman. Then Bush gets shot and we have a Jewish president. That sounds like a win-win scenario all the way around (except that when questioned directly during the vice-presidential debate whether he supported equal rights for for all Americans rather than merely for heterosexual Americans, Leiberman got pretty wishy-washy when he should have just said "Yes!"). Alternately, we could have Gore-Cheney. Gore gets shot and we'll have Cheney which doesn't sound quite as scary as either Bush or Gore (but who can tell?).

On Friday night, I had the privilege of attending Ani DeFranco's concert in East Lansing. It was weird to see a band with no beer, no smoking, no place to go an sneak a toke, and no dance floor, but I guess people really dig this stuff anyway seeing that about six thousand or more people showed up. Anyway, Ani said something that I found to be naive but beautiful. She said something like this:

"What do you think about this election and having no president? I think we should keep it this way, and we can govern ourselves."

God bless America, everyone.

Alan Wescoat