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Gerrymandering of districts would be avoided by requiring that "electoral districts" be composed of compact and contiguous territory containing as nearly as practicable the number of persons which entitled the State to one Representative in the Congress.
It would give cqual weight, based on population, both to rural and urban districts. Each voter, regardless of where he lived, would vote for two “State Electors" and one "District Elector."
How the Proportional Method Would Work
• Electoral College and the office of the elector would be climinated, but the clectoral vote preserved.
• Each State's electoral vote would be equivalent to the number of Representatives and Senators from that State.
• Each candidate would receive the same proportion of the electoral vote as his share of the State's popular vote, with fractional votes carried out to three decimals.
• High man would win, provided that if no candidate received at least 40 per cent of the electoral vote nationwide, the new Senators and Representatives-sitting jointly and voting as individuals-would pick the Press dent from the two candidates having the largest electoral vote. A majority of the combined votes of the House and Senate would be needed to elect.
• Alleged unduc influence of minority groups in large States would be reduced to their number in the population.
Arguments in Opposition to District Method
• Election of “minority" Presidents would still be possible.
. It would unduly favor the rural sections of the country,
• The State legislatures would gerrymander the elector districts despite the standards laid down in the Amendment. Judicial enforcement attempts may not be effective.
• The influence of minority groups would intentionally be reduced through isolating them in individual districts and limiting their statewide force to only two electoral votes.
• It would concentrate campaigns in marginal districts.
• Splinter parties would concentrate all their efforts on a few elector districts in an effort to clect enough electors to swing the balance of power in a close national election of a President into the Congress.
Arguments in favor of the Proportional Method
• It is the nearest possible approach to electing a President by direct popular vote of the people and at the same time preserving the present relative strength of each state in the election of a President.
• The opposition party would be encouraged in currently one-party States because each citizen's vote would have some effect on the total national outcome.
• It would more closely than the present system equate the power and importance of individual votes in the large and small States.
• Electors and/or State legislatures would no longer have the power to frustrate the will of the people.
• It would reduce the influence of minorities in pivotal States because their influence would be measured by their numbers rather than by their bargaining power.
• Accidental circumstances and fraudulent voting or vote counting would be less likely to defeat the choice of the people, because the entire clectoral vote of a State would no longer hinge on a few questionable votes.
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• It would broaden the base for the selection of candidates by decreasing the incentive to nominate a man from a large State.
• The outmoded office of the elector, and the abuses which it invites, would be abolished, and the people would feel they had a more direct voice in the choice of a President.
• Every citizen's vote would count cqually under a direct election plan. Minority and special intcrest groups would have political power cqual to their actual numbers along with other citizens.
• Candidates would have to direct their campaigns to the population as a whole, rather than to special groups.
Arguments in Opposition to the Proportional Method
• It would still be possible for the electoral vote to elect a man who lost in the popular vote.
• Proportionate division of electoral votes would establish a precedent for the introduction for proportional representation in the Congress and the legislative bodies of the several States.
• Proportional division of the electoral vote as proposed would permit the election of a President receiving merely a plurality of the electoral vote, whereas at least hall of the total electoral vote is presently required.
• In a close clection, with votes being challenged and recounted, the mathematics would be complicated, and the election might hang in doubt for weeks.
• Rather than adopt a complicated method that has almost the same cffect as direct election, it would be better to adopt the simpler system of direct election.
Arguments in Opposition to the Direct Populor Vote
• It would strike a fatal blow to the concept of federalism.
• It would constitute a blow to state power.
• It would lead to irresistible pressure for national laws governing qualifications for voting which currently is left to the States to determine.
•The relative weight of cach State's vole would depend not on its population, but on the number of votes cast and counted.
• Nominces for the Presidency would most likely come from larger States, or from larger ideological groupings.
• Because of the opposition of the small States, a direct popular election amendment could never be ratified, regardless of its merits. About two-thirds of the States would lose relative influence
Retain Present System and Bind Electoral Vote
Direct Popular Vote Method
In the 88th Congress proposals were introduced calling for a form of nationwide popular vote for the Presidency One was introduced by U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-Me.). It would provide for separate direct national votes for President and Vice President, with a run-off election between the two highest candidates four weeks later if no candidate received a majority in the regular election.
Another proposal, introduced by Sen. Kenneth B. Keating (R-N.Y.), called for a direct national vote for President and Vice President, running together on single tickets, with the election awarded to any ticket with a plurality.
Arguments in favor of Direct Popular Vole
• If the President is to be the man of the people, he ought to be elected directly by the people without regard to the States.
• Most Americans think they vote directly now and would be incensed if the popular vote winner was denied the Presidency as could happen under the current system and certain proposals for reform.
• Direct vote for President would sweep away many areas of possible abusc involved in the current method, including the right of State lcgislatures to direct methods of choosing clectors, the right of electors to disobey instructions, the chances of fraud changing an election result, and the possibility that the popular vote winner would lose the Presidency due to insufficient clectoral votes.
Another method of electoral college reform was introduced in the 88th Congress. Under the proposal, the present unit vote system would be retained except that the office of elector would be abolished. This method would have the effect of ensuring that the electoral votes of each State would go to the Presidential candidate who won the State by a majority or a plurality of the popular vote.
Proponents of this method of reform contend that it would remove one of the most "flagrant defects" in the present system without changing its essential nature.
Opponents fall into at least two categories: those who insist that there should be no tampering whatsoever with the present system, and thosc who agree that electors should be bound, but who feel that this would be only a half-way measure which overlooks many other inequities in the present system,
In 1963, Sen. Kefauver said:
"There is an almost unanimous consensus of opinion in this country that something should be donc abo'it the system of electing our Presidents and Vice Presidents. However, nothing has been donc primarily because the Congress has been unable to agree upon any one of the several suggested substitutes for the existing method."
A decision on the matter will come about only through cnlightened public opinion reflecting itself either through a clear consensus by the American People that the present system should be retained, or through Congressional action on an appropriate Amendment to the Constitution for Electoral College reform.
STATEMENT OF DOROTHY FROOKS, ATTORNEY, NEW YORK CITY You know I am mindful of the seriousness of the Electoral College proposed changes.
I am very well aware that we live in a small segment of time. We are the beneficiaries of a strong Republic established for us in the last two centuries. It is a very serious duty for you here today to do as legislators what you have the power to do which can affect the future of our country.
We must retain the Electoral College with modification that improves and simplifies the system and not resort to the politically minded, pentagon type of running around in circles, causing confusion, waste of time, public monies, adding to hardship and tax burdens through re-run elections or percentages and confusion of totals.
The present method is unfair, but a change must be aimed at correction, not devastation.
We as a Nation in the United Nations have only ONE vote regardless of sizes or population of the 126 Nations. We, the United States of America-ONE VOTE.
Our flag has 50 stars, each the same size regardless of population of each State. My proposal for the change for the betterment to elect the President and Vice President is by plurality vote in each State. The candidate receiving the greatest number in each State should get the ONE instructed electoral vote for the State. This vote is cast at the Electoral College.
Although it was not the intention originally to have residents in the seat of Government it nevertheless was recognized and therefore the District should be added to the 50 States for the 51st ONE instructed electoral vote to be cast at the Electoral College. The candidates for President and Vice President re ceiving 26 votes should be the elected President and Vice President.
I believe that every state is sovereign regardless of population, area, political considerations. I think that Rhode Island is as important as Texas, Connecticut as important as Pennsylvania, New Jersey as important as California, and so on. The states which form the Union are equal to each other. The present method of selecting electors is not only unfair to the smaller states, but is dangerous.
All information at my disposal and yours too indicated the subterfuge relating to the selection of electors is notorious and can be pinpointed by you people present and those absent.
We, as educated people can see through this method if we permit it to continue. Electors could vote for anyone, not the candidates.
So you see that we must correct by appropriate change. We want each state to make its decision by the plurality of votes in the state even if it is winning by ONE VOTE. The ONE ELECTOR directed to vote the state's selection must cast the vote accordingly at the Electoral College.
It was the intention of the founders of this Republic not to have majority rule at all levels of representation.
This must be resolved in such manner that we shall serve under representational government or mob rule.
This plan is one state—one vote.
RESOLUTION Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America relating to the election of the President and Vice President.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), that the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States :
"Sec. 1. The President and Vice President shall be elected by the people of the states and the district constituting the seat of Government of the United States
"SEC. 2. Each state and the district constituting the seat of Government of the United States, shall be represented by ONE Elector, elected by popular vote.
"SEC. 3. The names of the presidential and vice presidential candidates shall be joined on the ballot, and these candidates' names shall be neither split nor joined with another.
"SEC. 4. The candidates in each state and the district constituting the seat of Government of the United States receiving the greatest number of votes shall be elected. Such plurality shall be converted into ONE electoral vote.
"SEC. 5. The times, places, and manner of holding such elections and entitlement to inclusion on the ballot shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations. The holding of elections and entitlement to inclusion on the ballot shall be prescribed by the Congress for the district constituting the seat of Government of the United States. The Congress shall prescribe by law the time, place and manner in which the results of such elections shall be ascertained and declared.
"SEC. 6. The Congress shall prescribe by law the time and manner in which the Elector of each state and the district constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall transmit the ONE electoral vote certifying the candidates who received the greatest number of votes.
"SEC. 7. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives, open the certificates of the electors and the votes shall be counted. The joined candidates having the greatest number of votes shall be elected President and Vice President.
"Sec. 8. In the event of a tie the House of Representatives shall act with each State Representation having ONE vote.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Albany, N.Y., January 22, 1969. Miss DOROTHY FROOKS, The Murray Hill News Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y.
DEAR Miss FROOKS: In answer to your inquiry, please be advised that the state committees of the political parties each select forty-three candidates for the office of presidential elector.
While the names of the electors do not appear on the voting machine ballot, the names of the candidates for president and vice president endorsed by the individual parties do appear on the ballot. Small write-in slips are provided right in the machine which bear the names of the electors. If a person wishes to vote for someone other than those persons named as electors, he may do so by use of these write-in slips. The forty-three persons receiving the highest number of votes at the general election then become electors and cast their ballots for President and Vice President in the Electoral College.
If I can provide you with any further information, please do not hesitate to communicate with me. Very truly yours,
JOHN P. LOMENZO,
Secretary of State, By THOMAS W. WALLACK, Direotor, Election and Law Bureau.
GENERAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS
September 1968. The nominating conventions of our two major political parties are over-and between now and November 5th when we shall go to the polls, each one of us ought to give serious thought to the whole process of presidential and vice presidential selection.
And what better time than this to review several of GFWC's resolutions which touch on this subject?
REVISION OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE SYSTEM (CONVENTION 1949)
Whereas, Under the present procedure the election of the President and Vice President of the United States does not necessarily reflect the will of a majority of the people; therefore
Resolved, That the General Federation of Women's Clubs urges the adoption of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States abolishing the Electoral College and dividing the electoral vote in each state in proportion to the popular vote.
VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION (CONVENTION 1965) Whereas The designation of the President of the United States by one person was not the intent of the founders of our form of government; and
Whereas A vice presidential nominee selected by the nominee for President could result in the elevation to the presidency of a man named by one person; and
Whereas The practice which has been developing in recent years of nominating as candidate for the vice presidency the man designated by the presidential nominee as his preference is contrary to the precepts of our government; and
Whereas The success of a republican form of government depends on the fullest exercise of the right of franchise by the greatest number of informed citizens; therefore
Resolved, That the General Federation of Women's Clubs urges the major political parties at the local and state levels to promote the selection of the vice presidential nominee by popular choice of the national convention delegates of the respective parties.
SHORTENING PRESIDENTIAL PREELECTION CAMPAIGN (CONVENTION 1952) Whereas The General Federation of Women's Clubs believes that the time now ela psing between the nominating convention of the two major political parties and the presidential election prolongs opportunity for mutual vituperation with an increasing tempo of partisan hysteria ; and
Whereas The devotion of long periods of time to a political campaign is not necessary to acquaint the public with the issues at stake nor to clarify the positions taken by candidates on these issues in a world characterized by radio, television, and airplane transportation; therefore
Resolved, That the General Federation of Women's Clubs declares its conviction that the time given to active campaigning in presidential elections should be materially reduced and that campaigns should be commensurate in dignity with the gravity of the issues involved; and further
Resolved, That the General Federation of Women's Clubs, in the public interest, requests both major political parties to consider seriously the shortening of political campaigning before presidential elections.
LIMITATION OF CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES (CONVENTION 1967)
Whereas The disclosure of heavy expenditures in the recent national campaign has shocked the nation and the situation so presented constitutes a definite threat to the continuance of free elections in the United States; therefore
Resolved, That the General Federation of Women's Clubs declares its conviction that:
1. Reforms in the laws governing political campaign spending are imperative;
2. There should be an enforceable and enforced ceiling placed upon campaign expenditures, both personal and total;
3. There should be a full public accounting of campaign funds;
4. A standardized system of reporting campaign funds should be established which will eliminate the loopholes existing in the law now governing such expenditures.
EFFICIENCY IN ELECTION PROCEDURES (CONVENTION 1961) Whereas The General Federation of Women's Clubs is cognizant tbat, to effect the greatest efficiency in operation, it is necessary from time to time to review methods and procedures; and
Whereas Modern transportation and communication facilities enable the public to become better informed on candidates and issues and eliminate the necessity for lengthy campaigns; and
Whereas The method of electing the President and Vice President of the United States merits consideration and study; and
Whereas Many responsible citizens in changing their place of residence bare been deprived of their right of franchise in national elections due to the variation in state residency laws; therefore
Resolved, That the General Federation of Women's Clubs urges that a bipartisan committee be appointed by the Congress of the United States to study and make recommendations for modern efficient and equitable campaigns and election procedures.