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Category: Monticello College Comments: 9

The Twist

On October 13 I posted the idea of voting your conscious rather than following the offerings of the parties in an article entitled The Sting. A few days ago Unite for America (a progressive organization) uploaded a video making an appeal to all Republican Electors of the up coming Electoral College.
Unite for America is asking the Republican Electoral College Electors to not vote for Trump. Most people I have shared this with have no idea what this means. “I thought we already voted Trump in as president,” they respond. Well, not really.
Let’s review.  November last, American citizens voted for the next president of the United States. Well, that’s what most thought they were doing. Really what was happening is that we were fulfilling the requirements of Article 2 Section 1 of the US Constitution, it reads: “Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in Congress…”
This means that these special Electors are really the ones who vote for president. Our job as voters is to select the Electors. The method used by all the states is the current party system. For the vast majority of the states, there is a “winner takes all” approach which means whichever party gets the most presidential votes, that party’s group of electors will represent the state in the presidential Electoral College election. “What? There is another election for the president? I thought we the people were voting for the president? I thought this was a democracy?”
Actually it’s not, it is a Democratic Republic and we have been following this same system for the past 226 years.
Article 2 continues (it was modified by the 12th Amendment in 1804): “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 of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed t0 the seat of government…”
The meeting of the electors takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election (December 19 for this election). The electors meet in their respective states, where they cast their votes for President and Vice President on separate ballots. Your state’s electors’ votes are recorded on a “Certificate of Vote,” which is prepared at the meeting by the electors. Your state’s Certificates of Votes are sent to the Congress and the National Archives as part of the official records of the presidential election. The votes are tallied by the President of the Senate, (Vice President) in the presence of the House and the Senate, the President being the person having the most votes, and the same follows for the Vice President.
This is all outlined clearly in the US Constitution Article 2 and in Federalist Paper 68.
Right now, you may be saying, “Wait a second, I thought Trump was President-Elect because he already got the majority of the electoral votes?” Well that’s not quite accurate. Trump is President-Elect because he got the majority of Electors, or a majority of the voters in a majority of the states voted Republican. That means that in each of those states, the Republican Electoral College Electors will represent that state in the real Presidential Election on Monday December 19, 2016.
Now to the real point of this post. As I started out, Unite for America is not happy with the direction of this election and they have created a video to try to influence the The Republican Electors to not vote for Trump and either swing to Hillary or cause the election to move to the House of Representatives.
I find this interesting. Progressive groups have been trying in earnest to abolish the Electoral College for decades, but now, when it seems to serve their interests, they are trying to use it to influence the election.
Unite for America is encouraging the Republican Electors to vote against their party or to become a “faithless elector.” This November 8, 2016 New York Times Article will walk you thru this in a bit more detail.
If this is new to you or not really clear, perhaps it is time to get a better education on how our government works and what part we play.

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Comments (9)

  • Name

    It would be better if WE elected the Electors, not have each party elect their own, as was the Founders intent.

    December 17, 2016 at 1:09 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      I agree. The party system is a major part of the problem. But until the average American understands the basics of our system, not much will change.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:38 pm
  • Sandy stapley

    I would have been confused by the election had I not studied the content of the constitution under your mentorship. Thank you for having a passion for freedom and the proper role of government.

    December 17, 2016 at 5:51 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      thanks Sandy but it is you who did all of the hard work.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm
  • Julie Mathison

    Hello Dr.Brooks. I don’t see hypocrisy here. Democratic Party members have long favored the abolition of the electoral college because in most cases where it becomes an issue, — if not all –Democrats have won the popular vote. The resistance to its abolition is a function of the Republican Party ‘s recognition that they are a minority party and must therefore resort to voter disenfranchisement to achieve and retain power. But here we are, and if there were ever an argument for the electoral college it is to prevent the destruction of our form of government. This is why you see both Republicans and Democrats invoking their right of choice here. And you might mention too that Trump himself was a vocal opponent of the electoral college until he was named President-elect, if you’re looking for hypocrisy.

    December 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm
    • Shanon Brooks

      Thanks for commenting Julie. I am not suggesting hypocrisy. I am a strong proponent of the Electoral College and actually encourage these kinds of efforts as a means to increasing awareness and making use of the system available to us. I just find it to be a contradiction. Those who seem to constantly attempt to erode the foundations of liberty, are now trying to use one of the most genius liberty-protecting mechanisms created by the founders to protect their position in the face of an apparently fairly won position of president-elect. By the way, I am not a Trump fan.

      December 18, 2016 at 8:31 pm
      • Julie Mathison

        Point taken. I think the way you phrased it frames it as a partisan effort, when I would argue that the effort is motivated by fears for the continued survival of our constitutional democracy. When I hear a president-elect propose stripping citizens of their rights and jailing them for flag burning (whether you like that or not) I get cold chills. There are many such signs there — you don’t have to look as far as Russian shores. I’m not a Trump fan either, but would never seek extraordinary action if it were just a matter of partisan policy disagreements. I believe there’s something much more significant at stake. By the way, it’s vote you conscience, not conscious — typo above (the English major in me). Although vote your conscious is an interesting twist itself…

        December 19, 2016 at 9:34 am
        • Shanon Brooks

          Got to love those persistent typos. Thanks

          December 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm
  • Christopher

    If the electoral college is abolished, the union should be abolished with it. The united states were formed as a collection of societies. The electoral college sets up a framework to elect a president that would respect the views and policies of a balance of the societies. By switching to a popular vote, only a minority of societies would have their values represented in a president and the rest of the societies would have no representation.

    December 27, 2016 at 8:54 am

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