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solely on the basis of population or of votes cast in all 50 States and the District of Columbia would be to downgrade very greatly all of the smaller States in the Union, including not only the two smallest States which I have named, Alaska and Nevada, but each of the 32 States whose population is less than the average population of all 50 States, or about 3.6 million persons in 1960.
It will be understood that all of these population statistics are based on the 1960 census necessarily, since that is the last one available.
As just one instance of the terrific impact of popular election of the President and Vice President, and assuming that in all States the votes cast would be approximately in proportion to total population, I call attention to the fact that the District of Columbia—763,956—would by this method be given more weight in a presidential election than Alaska-226,167—and Delaware_446,292-combined, or greater weight than Wyoming—330,066—and Vermont-389.881—combined. The District of Columbia—763,956—would be given greater weight than any of the following 11 States: Alaska, 226,167; Delaware, 446,292; Hawaii, 632,772; Idaho, 667,191; Montana, 674,767; Nevada, 285,278; New Hampshire, 606,921; North Dakota, 632,446; South Dakota, 680,514; Vermont, 389,881; and Wyoming, 330,066.
I was glad to support the 23d amendment by which the District of Columbia was given the same weight as our smallest State in the electoral college for the election of the President and Vice President, but I am not prepared to approve this additional adventure by which the District of Columbia—which does not have any of the duties or responsibilities of sovereign statehood—would be given greater weight than any of the 11 States which I have listed and much greater power in the election of Presidents than is conferred on it now by the 23d amendment. Sometimes in this day of constant pushing for increased centralized, Federal power, we are prone to forget that the States are still sovereign in so many fields and that by their laws they handle so many of the matters which are completely vital to all of their citizens. While the States have lost some of their jurisdiction due to Federal encroachment, the States still retain and administer most of the matters which vitally affect the lives of their average citizens such as the following:
Taxing real and personal property; operating the public schools; keeping vital statistics, such as registration of births and deaths; appointment of guardians for minors and incompetents and handling their estates; ownership and conveyancing of property; providing for the distribution of the estates of deceased persons; providing for the licensing of teachers, doctors, dentists, engineers, lawyers, and other vital professional and business persons and institutions; creating and regulating corporations and trusts; providing for the marriage and divorce of their citizens; handling civil actions and criminal prosecutions; enforcing law and order; taking life as a penalty for certain heinous crimes; providing, through police, firemen, inspectors and sanitary workers, for their security and that of homes and business; providing for the poor house and for hospitals for the insane, the feebleminded and the ill; controlling the highways; regulating the rates of water, power, gas and local transportation and controlling fresh water supplies.
In short, and this is not a full list of the State powers still retained, the States handle most of the important aspects of life for both their
citizens and transients. None of these activities are controlled for itself by the District of Columbia—all by the National Congress. Yet, it is proposed both to give the same weight to the District of Columbia which is given to States according to population and it is also proposed to take away from the small States the equal weight which they were given by the Founding Fathers, and have always had, to represent their State and local interests, not just in the Senate of the United States, but also in the electoral college.
I do not believe that many of the advocates of the direct election of the President and Vice President have carefully thought the matter through. I do not believe they want to downgrade the States as would be done by the adoption of the proposed direct election amendment. Particularly in the Senate, I cannot believe that the advocates of the direct election of the President and Vice President realize that the proposed action is a direct encouragement to later action toward depriving the States of their equal representation in the Senate. And I realize that that would be very very difficult under the Constitution. We have already seen that the Supreme Court is willing to override ancient, constitutional safeguards when they conflict with its philosophy as to what they feel should be the law in the 20th-century Republic. I am not willing to take this far-reaching step which so completely changes the underlying philosophy of our Republic of dual sovereignty as stated by the Founding Fathers and as practiced with relative success and public approval through 180 years of practical government of our ever-growing and evermore powerful Nation.
Mr. Chairman, it is interesting to note, as shown on the attached table, the great shift in weight of the several States if the election of the President and Vice President were by popular vote. The large States would be given increased weight and power at the expense of the smaller States as follows:
(a) Under the popular election plan, based on 1960 census figures, and assuming that votes cast would be in proportion to population, 32 States and the District of Columbia would have a smaller voice in the election of the President and Vice President than they have under the electoral college system; five States would retain equal voice, and 13 States would gain a stronger voice.
(6) Under the proposed popular election system, nine States, having 51.5 percent of the population, could control the election.
(c) Under the present electoral system, 11 States, having 50 percent of the total electoral vote, could control the election.
As may be readily seen from the table, the loss in State weight, under the popular election system as opposed to the electoral system, is 83 percent in the case of Alaska; five States would lose over 50 percent of their weight; 10 States would lose over 25 percent of their weight; and 17 States would lose from 4.8 percent of their weight to 25 percent of their weight.
I submit, Mr. Chairman, that those Senators from those 32 States who support the popular election plan must have given little thought to the loss of weight of their respective States under the proposal. At this point, I ask that the table referred to be included in my statement as a part thereof.
Senator Bays. Without objection it is so ordered.
Senator HOLLAND. I say again the figures in this table are based on the 1960 census, which I know is not up to date, but you will never
have population figures up to date but for a very short time, under our present system of decennial census. They will become out of date within a year to some extent, and much more out of date before the next decennial census.
Mr. Chairman, if one would study the unusual weather phenomena occurring during the period of the month of November that presidential elections occur it could be readily seen how adverse weather conditions could play a part on the fairness of direct elections, and incidentally if the proposals of President Nixon were adopted, we should have a second election coming let us say in December, the chance of disturbance of the weight of many of the States would be even more adversely affected, because the weather conditions in December are even worse in the colder States than they are in November.
A study of the weather conditions would make it completely clear that in the event of nationwide direct election of President and Vice President the people in one or more States might not be given their full weight in comparison to other States of the Nation due to no fault of their own. Of course, adverse weather affects voting in each State, singly, and always has, but the State will still have its full electoral strength and the votes actually cast should be fairly representative of the attitude of the people of the State as a whole.
The district plan, that has been discussed, where two State electoral votes are awarded for each Senator on a statewide basis and one for each separate congressional district in the State, recognizes the Federal system, but it is subject to a marked degree of human and political control and manipulation by those who control the machinery of State government. Besides, the winner-take-all principle would still apply statewide to the two statewide electoral votes and would also apply, in each district, to the district electoral votes. Then, too, there are substantial population shifts and changes that take place between the decennial censuses for which compensation cannot be made. Many who have supported this plan in the past may now have second thoughts in the light of the decisions in the (legislative) apportionment cases which will be discussed later. This plan is still eminently preferable over the present system or that of popular election, in my opinion.
The proportional method of selecting the President and Vice President, which I advocate, is in complete harmony with our constitutional forms. It is precise and not subject to political manipulation or human frailties. It is fair to the States, both small and large, and it gives to each and every qualified elector in a State the right to have his vote counted for his candidate for President and Vice President. I firmly believe that a State should be entitled to electoral votes proportionate to its total representation in Congress.
I further feel that the electoral vote of each State should be divided between candidates in the exact proportion in which the total vote of that State is cast. This is substantially the same plan that was contained in the proposed Lodge-Gossett amendment for which I was proud to cast my vote in 1950 when it was adopted in the Senate by a vote of 64 to 27. I have introduced Senate Joint Resolution 4 which contains this substantial language:
Each person for whom votes were cast for President in each State shall be credited with such portion of the electoral vote thereof as he received of the total vote of the electors therein for President and each person for whom votes were cast for Vice President in each State shall be credited with such proportion of the electoral votes thereof as he received of the total vote of the electors therein for Vice President. In making the computation, fractional numbers less than one-thousandth of an electoral vote shall be disregarded. The person having the greatets number of electoral votes for President shall be the President if such number be at least 40 per centum of the whole number of such electoral votes. If no person has at least 40 per centum of the whole number of electoral votes, then from the persons having the three highest number of electoral votes for President, the Senate and House of Representatives sitting in joint session shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. A majority of the votes of the combined authorized membership of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall be necessary for a choice.
The Vice President shall be likewise elected, at the same time and in the same manner and subject to the same provisions, as the President, but no person constitutionally ineligible for the Office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.
The adoption of this language will effect a basic, far-reaching and necessary reform in our constiutional method for selecting a President and Vice President and provide for the retention of the federal system and will preserve the political dual identity of the States and regions in the administration of vital matters, such as age, residence, registration, and absentee voting requirements.
I should add that I am not in favor of the Federal Government taking over the control of those vital election machinery provisions always provided by State law, and I think properly so provided, because the experience of the States differs in this very vital field.
Mr. Chairman, the historical arguments as to why the electoral college system should be reformed have been stated and restated in the past with such power, force, and eloquence that I am reluctant to advert to them now and do not believe that it is necessary to inform and enlighten the members of this committee and the people on the issues. Committee hearings of both the House and Senate and the Congressional Record are replete with these arguments, and I congratulate this committee upon the fullness of its hearings heretofore, and I am sure upon the fullness of the hearings now underway. You have allowed, and I am sure will allow, every point of view to be heard at all reasonable length.
The urgent need today is to examine and weigh on the scales of judgment new evidence and new developments that have effect and influence on the issue involved.
We are all familiar with the decision of the Supreme Court on March 26, 1962, in the case of Baker v. Carr, commonly known as the Tennessee Legislative Reapportionment Case requiring the one-man, one-vote as applied in setting up State legislative districts. We know of the Court's decision in Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1, which extended the doctrine of the one-man, one-vote to the setting up of districts for the election of Members of the House of Representatives.
Since the 17th Article of Amendment was enacted subsequent to the 14th, it is pleasant to suppose that we Senators are safely beyond the reach of the Court. But, when one considers how far the actual election of a President and Vice President has in fact departed from the electoral college concept written into the Constitution by the Founding Fathers, a serious question is presented.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, in his book "Paths to the Present,” describes what happened in this language:
What demoted the electoral college from a deliberative body to a puppet show was the rise of political parties. As people began taking sides on public questions, they were unwilling to leave the crucial choice of the Chief Executive to a sort of lottery. Instead, each party publicly announced its slate of electors and the candidate they would support. This usurpation of the electors' functions, though peaceably achieved, amounted to a coup d'etat. It was an amendment of the written Constitution by the unwritten constitution. The electors, while retaining the legal status of independence, became henceforth hardly more than men in livery taking orders from their parties.
In the opinion of many, of whom I am one, the Supreme Court of today has, in fact, acted in an extralegal and supraconstitutional manner. Acting as it has, would it not be entirely within the realm of possibility for the Supreme Court to assert its judicial power if it felt that great masses of citizens in these United States were being denied equal protection of the laws in having their vote for President and Vice President discarded because they failed to vote for the candidate or candidates that received the highest number of votes in their respective States.
In any event, it would be most appropriate for Congress and the States to implement the principle of fair and proportionate districting of areas from which public officers are to be elected by providing for the division of the electoral vote of a State in accordance with the proportionate vote by the candidate, and that is what my amendment would do, down to the thousandth point, but not beyond that point.
The trials and tribulations of the electoral college system have differed from election to election. The election of 1948 dramatically illustrated how third party movements and splinter parties could so dilute the vote between candidates that the States' electoral vote would be cast to candidates receiving less than a majority of the popular vote. In the States of California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Virginia where the total population vote amount to 19,985,102, the candidate carrying the entire State electoral vote for a total of 184, received less than a majority of the popular vote. There is no way to predict what will happen in regard to the future of third and splinter parties. But historically, one thing that is certain regarding national politics is the uncertainty of what will develop.
In the 1948 election in Florida, which I have the honor to present in part, 577,643 votes were cast. We are now casting 2 million or better. The Truman-Barkley ticket received 281,988 votes, or 49 percent of the total vote against 194,280 votes, or 33 percent of the total vote for the Dewey-Warren ticket; 89,755, or 16 percent, the total vote for the Thurmond-Wright ticket, and 11,620, or 2 percent of the total vote for the Wallace-Taylor ticket.
The Truman-Barkley ticket received all eight electoral votes, but under my resolution the total electoral vote would have been distributed—the Truman-Barkley ticket receiving 3.9 electoral votes, the Dewey-Warren ticket receiving 2.6 of the electoral vote, the Thurmond-Wright ticket receiving 1.3 of the electoral vote and the WallaceTaylor ticket receiving 0.2 of the electoral vote. No voting citizen would have been disenfranchised.
In 1960 the presidential election was so close that the winning candidate received 49.7 percent of the popular vote and the losing candidate 49.5. Although there was only 2/10 of 1 percent difference in the popular vote, the electoral vote was 303 to 219 in favor of the leading candidate.