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In the past election, President Nixon received 43.4 percent and former Vice President Humphrey received 42.7 percent of the popular vote. Although there was only 7/10 of 1 percent difference in the popular vote, the electoral vote was 301 to 191 in favor of President Nixon and the third party candidate received 46 electoral votes. There is obvi. ously something wrong with a system that spells out an end result such as this when the popular vote of the two leading candidates is almost identical.
As a matter of interest to the committee, I have prepared a table showing the total electoral vote by State, the electoral vote received by each candidate in the last election and the electoral vote each candidate would have received under S.J. Res. 4. And I ask that that collation be copied in the record at this time. Senator BAYH. Without objection it is so ordered. (The tabulation referred to, consisting of two pages follows:)
1968 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS
Electoral vote received
Percent electoral vote based on
S.J. Res. 4
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2. 24 11.75 3. 02 2.99 12.64
1.25 3.11 2.06 4.15 9.50 2. 26 1.59 5. 20
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Senator HOLLAND. Another of the traditional and oft-repeated arguments against any character of electoral reform is that the South is a single party area and that the topheavy and overwhelming majorities it gives to Democratic candidates is unfair to the splits that exist elsewhere in the country. It is quite untimely to mention that point right now, Mr. Chairman, but it has been mentioned repeatedly in the past as one of the arguments against the adoption of the proportional election system.
Further, the point was made that the one-party system created such apathy in general national elections that only a fraction of the population turned out to vote. There have been fundamental changes in the voting patterns of Southern States that eliminate completely any validity that these arguments might contain against electoral reform.
First, let us examine what has happened to the "one-party South” in the elections since electoral reform was last considered in the Senate. In the presidential election of 1956, Alabama cast 56.5 percent of its vote for the Democratic candidate, 39.4 percent for the Republican; Arkansas 52.5 percent Democratic, 45.8 percent Republican; Florida 42.7 percent Democratic, 57.3 percent Republican; Georgia 66.8 percent Democratic, 32.8 percent Republican; Louisiana 39.5 percent Democratic, 53.3 percent Republican, 7.2 percent unpledged; Mississippi 49.3 percent Democratic, 24.5 percent Republican, 17.3 percent unpledged ; North Carolina 50.7 percent Democratic, 49.7 percent Republican; South Carolina, 45.4 percent Democratic, 25.2 percent Republican, 29.4 percent unpledged; Tennessee 48.6 percent Republican, 49.2 percent Democratic; Texas, 44.0 percent Democratic, 55.3 percent Republican; and Virginia 38.4 percent Democratic, 55.4 percent Republican.
In the 1960 presidential election, Alabama cast 56.9 percent Democratic votes, 41.8 percent Republican; Arkansas 50.2 percent Democratic, 43.1 Republican; Florida 48.5 percent Democratic, 51.5 percent Republican; Georgia 62.6 percent Democratic, 37.4 percent Republican; Louisiana 50.4 percent Democratic, 28.6 percent Republican, 21 percent Independent; Mississippi 36.32 percent Democratic, 24.7 percent Republican, 39 percent unpledged; North Carolina, 52.1 percent Democratic, 47.9 percent Republican; South Carolina 51.2 percent Democratic, 48.8 percent Republican; Tennessee 45.8 percent Democratic, 52.9 percent Republican; Texas 50.5 percent Democratic, 48.5 percent Republican; and Virginia 47 percent Democratic and 52.4 percent Republican.
In 1964 no votes were registered in Alabama for the Democratic candidates, the Republican received 69.54 percent of the total and the balance went to unpledged electors. In Arkansas the vote was 56.5 percent Democratic, 43.41 percent Republican; Florida 51.15 percent Democratic, 48.85 percent Republican; Georgia 45.88 percent Democratic, 54.12 percent Republican; Louisiana 43.19 percent Democratic, 56.81 percent Republican; Mississippi 12.86 percent Democratic, 87.14 percent Republican; North Carolina 56.15 percent Democratic, 43.85 percent Republican; South Carolina 41.1 percent Democratic, 58.9 percent Republican; Tennessee 55.6 percent Democratic, 44.4 percent Republican; Texas 63.46 percent Democratic, 36.54 Republican; and Virginia 53.82 percent Democratic, 46.18 Republican.
In the 1968 presidential election Alabama cast 18.6 percent Democratic votes, 14.1 percent Republican, 66 percent for the third party;
Arkansas 30.3 percent Democratic, 31 percent Republican, 38.7 percent third party; Florida 39.9 percent Democratic, 40.5 Republican, 28.6 percent third party; Georgia 27 percent Democratic, 29.7 percent Republican, 43.3 percent third party; Louisiana 28.2 percent Democratic, 23.5 percent Republican, 48.3 percent third party; Mississippi 23 percent Democratic, 13.5 percent Republican, 63.5 percent third party; North Carolina 29.2 percent Democratic, 39.5 percent Republican, 31.3 percent third party; South Carolina 29.6 percent Democratic, 38.1 percent Republican, 32.3 percent third party; Tennessee 28.1 percent Democratic, 37.8 percent Republican, 34.1 percent third party; Texas 41.1 percent Democratic, 39.9 percent Republican, 19 percent third party; Virginia 32.5 percent Democratic, 43.4 percent Republican, 23.6 percent third party.
These percentages reflect a very healthy balance between the two major parties in the Southern States. In the foreseeable future there is no reason to assume that the pattern will change. In fact, there are indications that the Republican Party will continue to grow and thrive in the South. On the other side of the coin, there has been a marked change of voting habits in those States that were formerly famous for their rockribbed republicanism, such as Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In the 1964 election the Democratic candidate carried Maine 262,224 to 118,701. Johnson carried New Hampshire 182,065 to 104,029. He carried Vermont 107,674 to 54,868. In 1968, Humphrey carried Maine 217,312 to 169,254, while New Hampshire and Vermont were carried by President Nixon by 154,903 to 130,589 and 85,142 to 70,255 respectively. The two-party system is now very clearly a reality throughout the entire United States in presidential elections.
Competition between the parties for votes, coupled with the elimination of the poll tax as a prerequisite in voting in the election of national officers and the application of the voting rights provisions of the various Civil Rights Act, resulted in a marked increase in the total number of votes cast in the general election for President and Vice President. In a few more elections, there will be no substantial difference between the percentage of the total vote cast in Southern States from that cast in other areas of the United States.
As I previously stated, I can endorse, to a degree, the proposal contained in President Nixon's message of February 20, 1969. However, I cannot give carte blanche approval to his recommendations as they contain a provision for a runoff election by popular vote for the Presiident and Vice President, between the top two candidates, in the event no Presidential slate receives 40 percent or more of the electoral vote in the regular election.
This method of electing the President and Vice President would delay materially the election of the President and Vice President and would add greatly to the cost of elections. And this provision also adopts the plan for election by national popular vote, with which I am in total disagreement in the second election. I cannot think of anything that would be more encouraging to the formation of splinter parties or third parties than this feature in the President's proposal. I am in total disagreement with this part of the President's program, the encouragement which this part of the program would give to formation of third parties and splinter parties is self-evident. That third party effort might be based on genuine interest in the new program, in the new platform of a candidate, or might be fomented by one of the principal parties through an effort to get some splinter party in to cut down the vote of the other party. Regardless of how it came, the addition of splinter parties, of third parties, is deliberately encouraged in my opinion by such a program as the President's suggestion in the event there is no candidate in the first election which gets 40 percent of the total electoral weight.
I should add again, when I said earlier in my statement that such an election would add very greatly to the expense of elections, which are already too great in the opinion of most citizens, and are largely responsible, in my opinion, for the disfavor in which politics now exists in the minds of too many people, and would also bring about a great delay.
If that delay came up into December, it would bring about a throwing of the election in confused weather conditions, which would be sure to downgrade the weight of certain of the States. This would not happen to be in my part of the Nation, but nevertheless certain States would find themselves downgraded, if there were a popular election of Presidents in that second election as suggested by President Nixon.
I agree, therefore, with all of the earlier portion of his suggestions. I greatly approve the fractional division of the electoral weight of each State as the preferable course to follow.
Second, I would prefer the so-called District Plan, which is certainly much better than either the present program or than the popular election of Presidents. But I cannot approve the Presidents going to the popular election plan in the event a second election is called, and I much prefer what is provided in my own amendment, which would throw the matter then into the entire Congress, the House plus the Senate, with every Congressman and every Senator having a full vote in the election of the President between the two candidates who had the highest vote in the electoral weight count in the first election.
That would come as near to preserving the republican system which we have, the federal system under which we have lived, since the Constitution was adopted, as anything else, because it would still give two votes to each State, based on their statehood, based now on two Senators, and would give the vote to each district in the State based on the population of that State.
Under my proposal, S.J. Res. 4, in the event no candidate for the office of President and Vice President receives 40 percent of the electoral vote, Members of the House of Representatives and Senate, sitting in joint session shall choose, immediately by ballot, the President and Vice President—the majority of the votes of the combined membership of the House of Representatives and Senate being necessary for a choice. As you can see, should my resolution be adopted, each State will retain its full weight by population and its weight as a sovereign State unit of government as it now has under the present system, and as envisioned by our Founding Fathers in order to protect remote and underdeveloped smaller States from perpetual stepchild status.
My proposal would not be an open invitation for the formation of splinter or third party efforts.
Former President Johnson voted in 1956 in favor of the Daniel comprise amendment which permitted States the choice between the
proportional and district plan of reform. Former Presidents of the United States, Truman and Eisenhower, have communicated with this committee and expressed agreement that change should be made in the method of selecting our President and Vice President.
Mr. Chairman, there will never be a better time than the present to completely overhaul the ancient and outworn machinery now provided for the election of the President and Vice President. There is and should be an absolute bipartisan effort. And in my judgment, no plan has yet been advanced which preserves and safeguards our federal system, that better achieves the result of fair and democratic reform of the electoral system than does the proportional plan which I now propose. I urge its acceptance by both this subcommittee and the full Judiciary Committee. I also request that the complete text of my resolution be printed in the record of the hearings at this point. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and in closing may I just say this, and I am not saying this in disrespect to anyone, because I think that there is plenty of room for good conscientious differences in this matter, but as one who has been engaged in practical politics for a long time, during which I have also tried to remain in the constitutional field, it seems to me that it would be completely futile to suggest to the States the election of President and Vice President by popular vote.
I cannot see the 32 States, which are deprived of a part and some of them of a great part of their weight in the election of the President and Vice President supporting that particular amendment.
Certainly I think there would be well more than 12 of them, because more than 12 are hurt very seriously, are hurt in a major way, are cut down by a major percentage in their importance in the selection of President and Vice President by the popular election system, and I just do not believe that practical thinking can bring the conclusion that there is a chance for the adoption of the constitutional amendment requiring election of President and Vice President by popular vote by the legislatures of 39 States as required.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for your indulgence and courtesy.
(The resolution Senator Holland referred to follows, together with the tabulation consisting of three pages to be included in the record at this point:)