« 上一頁繼續 »
New York, which is almost invariably evenly divided, to split its vote, electoral votes, 22 to 21 and contribute one vote to the winning President's margin, whereas a small one-party State votes on a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 basis and contributes three times as much to the margin of that winning President.
Senator ERVIN. But, after all, the President is not only supposed to be the chief executive officer of the Nation for those who go out and vote. He is also supposed to be the Chief Executive officer of those who have the right to vote but do not go out to vote, is he not?
Mr. SORENSEN. No, Senator, I prefer to recognize and reward those who actually take the trouble and have the information and the interest to vote. I see no reason why we should award electoral vote strength to those who do not cast a vote on election day.
Senator ERVIN. The President, he is the President, he is supposed to be the President of all the people, both those who vote and those who do not vote, equally.
Mr. SORENSEN. That is right. Just as you are the Senator from North Carolina, but you are only elected by those people who go to the polls on election day.
Senator Ervin. Yes, but I have an obligation to all of them equally. Mr. SORENSEN. Yes.
Senator ERVIN. And the electoral vote system as it now exists, and especially since the one-man, one-vote decisions of the Supreme Court, is a system which in effect is based upon population, is it not? Mr. SORENSEN. No, it is not, unfortunately.
Senator Ervin. Well, it is though so far as the votes of—the electoral votes which are based upon the congressional representation.
Mr. SORENSEN. That is true, to the extent that the reapportionment following each decennial census is accurate.
Senator ERVIN. Yes. Mr. SORENSEN. But California in 1969 was considerably larger than California in 1960 and, according to its proportionate share of the population, deserved a larger share of the electoral vote under the present system. But it was denied that share.
Senator ERVIN. Of course, you cannot count up all the population very well before every election.
Mr. SORENSEN. Exactly. Then you have in addition to that two Senators for each State, so that the electoral vote is not proportionate to population.
Senator ERVIN. I have enjoyed your presentation, but I still maintain that I am totally incapable of accepting your argument that the presidential candidates, if a popular election is-should come about by constitutional amendment, are going to cater to the small States. I think they are going wherever the votes are, and it is just like people from small States going to urban centers of population, because they have greater opportunities for advancement or greater opportunities to employ their talents, and I think that the presidential electors, being elected by popular votes, they are going to do just exactly like the Senators and Congressmen do. They are going to do most of their campaigning in places where the most votes are.
Senator THURMOND. Thank you very much.
I just want to state that I agree with the distinguished Senator from North Carolina that if the popular vote system passes, it will have the candidates going where the votes are. That is natural, I think, just like the Senators and House Members running for Congress are going to spend their time chiefly where the votes are.
Mr. SORENSEN. Of course, we all agree with that, Senator. I am sure we all agree that that is desirable and proper, that they should go where the votes are. But they should go to where the votes are in small States as well as where the votes are in large States.
Senator THURMOND. Then in that case you are going to have about two-thirds of the States being neglected by the President or the candidates running for President because he will be in large cities like New York and Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, and other large cities.
Another thing, too, do you think there will be more corruption under that type system because you might have some corruption now that might be confined to a State, but if you adopt this type system you have got corruption spilling over into the Federal Government on a much greater scale and there would be greater temptation than you have in a State?
Mr. SORENSEN. No; I do not think so, Senator Thurmond. I think just the opposite. Under the present system, for example, a political manager in California recognizes that he can affect by shifting California's electoral votes which he may be able to do if it is a close election by corrupting only a few thousand votes or less. By doing that he can provide 10 percent of the electoral votes necessary for a candidate to win the election. That is quite a temptation. But under a popular vote system the political manager in California or in any other State would see that with 80 million people voting there was no real way that he could influence more than a tiny fraction of the votes that would go into the winning column.
You cannot eliminate corruption under any system, but we have, as I say, so much experience with popular voting at every other level that I would think we ought to confront and crack down on corruption in a system that we fully understand and have a lot of experience with and that is accepted by the American people than the present system which, frankly, is not very well understood.
Senator THURMOND. You remember the election in 1948 when Lyndon Johnson was running for the Senate out in Texas against a man by the name of Coke Stevenson, and Mr. Stevenson was in the lead and then the votes in a certain county down there were manipulated, came back and gave Mr. Johnson that powerful lead of 84 votes in the whole State.
Now, would it not be possible by withholding votes as they did there until they saw what Mr. Johnson needed to get the election, would it not be possible in some State of the Nation to withhold votes and then supply the few votes needed if it is a very close election?
Mr. SORENSEN. Let me simply say, Senator, first of all, that Lyndon Johnson needs no defense from me. That particular election has been the subject of considerable public scrutiny and no one has ever demonstrated that anything illegal or improper occurred, so I do not think we should let that statement pass.
Supreme Court, sed on properly. Hess on it. That is the
Senator THURMOND. The courts never did pass on it. That is the reason it never was really passed on properly. He was voted by a member of the Supreme Court, and the matter never was adjudicated properly.
Mr. SORENSEN. As I believe you recall, Senator, it did go before the courts of Texas, but that is neither here nor there.
The point is that your question actually indicates the weaknesses of the electoral vote system, because it demonstrates that in an individual State when we go—when we elect Presidents on a State-by-State system in a State such as Texas or California or New York or Illinois, they have a very large block of electoral votes and it can really affect the outcome, that there is going to be a temptation for corruption by the political managers of those States.
But on a nationwide election, the political manager in Texas by shuffling a few thousand votes in some counties, such as you suggest occurred, would not be able to do have any marked influence on the outcome at all.
Senator THURMOND. If one State withheld its election and there were only 5,000 votes needed and they supplied those votes, withheld their votes until it all come in, and they were last to come in, withheld their votes, they could easily throw the presidential race one way or the other.
Mr. SORENSEN. That is exactly what happens now under the electoral vote system. The electors do not even meet until December, and they can withhold their votes and change the outcome. That is the worst possible system.
Senator THURMOND. Well, the precedents throughout our history, there have been so few, you can name them on your fingers, there have been so few, until there is pure evidence there is no corruption there, whereas in this popular vote situation I can visualize great corruption.
Now, under direct election, is it not likely that the Supreme Court rather than the people would ultimately decide who was elected President because of election contests being appealed! Mr. SORENSEN. No. Senator THURMOND. You do not think there is a danger of that? Mr. SORENSEN. No, sir.
Senator THURMOND. After all, Supreme Court Justices are human, and we have had some terrible decisions by some Supreme Courts.
Let me ask you this: Under the Constitution, article I, section 2, it provides that the States shall fix voter qualifications, but yet in spite of that, in some places today, in a number of States today, the Federal Government is sending down registrars and registering illiterate voters in violation of the requirements that a State has fixed pursuant to their authority to do so under the Constitution.
The question I ask you, Do you think it is proper for illiterates to vote?
Mr. SORENSEN. Senator, I believe that question has been presented to the Senate previously, and your side lost. I do not know whether it is helpful to reargue the whole question of literacy tests and their discriminatory use in some States.
Senator THURMOND. Well, the right side does not always win when there are pressure groups in the country pushing the other way.
Mr. SORENSEN. All I am suggesting, Senator, there is very little to be gained by you and I rearguing a question that has previously been settled.
Senator THURMOND. I am asking whether you think it is proper to ignore the setting up of qualifications to vote by State law as set forth in the Constitution.
Mr. SORENSEN. Senator, I supported the civil rights statutes permitting the registrars to register those entitled to vote.
I favor the present statute of the Congress which allows illiterates to vote.
Senator THURMOND. Under that, now if you have a popular election and inject the Federal Government into that, will there not be more and more illiterates if the Federal Government is going to
Senator ERVIN. I amend your statement, it allows southern illiterates to vote, but not northern illiterates where they have a literacy test.
Senator THURMOND. Well, under the law now an illiterate is allowed to vote in North Carolina but he is not allowed to vote in your State of New York. Would you favor that?
Mr. SORENSEN. No; as a matter of fact, I am in favor of abolishing the present literacy test in the State of New York also.
Senator ERVIN. In other words, you favor allowing illiterates to vote everywhere? Mr. SORENSEN. You might put it that way.
Senator Ervin. At least I commend you for your fairness in taking the same position in all the States which this law you said you favored doesn't do.
Now, if the Federal Government enters the field of elections at the presidential level by a popular vote, then the Federal Government has great power, and the party in power might use its power to a greater extent than ever to enroll people to vote who are not allowed to vote under the law of the State or maybe under the Constitution. Don't you think there would be a temptation there instead of letting the States run the elections for the Federal Government to go further in order to win that presidential race? Don't you feel you are injecting the Federal Government into a field that eventually could be a very dangerous situation?
Mr. SORENSEN. No; I don't think so, Senator. If by the party in power you are referring to the party now in control of the administration, I share your concern, but I am confident that the legislative branch is going to make certain that any laws relating to the right to vote that are enacted are going to be fair and proper.
Senator THURMOND. Of course, I am not as much concerned under the Nixon administration as I would be if your party gets back in power again.
Senator Bayh. I am glad to see we have total political objectivity in our approach to the subject. (Laughter.]
Senator THURMOND. He brought it up first so I just answered his statement.
Now, if the Federal Government enters the field of elections at the presidential level by popular vote, then don't you think there is going
to be a temptation for the Federal Government to inject itself more and more as time goes by into State elections, maybe down into Governor's elections or other officials in the State. The Federal power has a way of creeping, and it has been creeping now for a long time, and don't you think that you are going to set a precedent here that might ultimately affect State elections that would be detrimental to the powers of the States.
Mr. SORENSON. Senator, I have been involved in Washington matters for a long time, and I must say I have never been impressed by arguments raised either by liberals or conservatives who oppose particular legislation or constitutional amendments on the grounds that its logical extension is going to lead to some extreme or that this is a first step, that is the camel's nose under the tent and so on.
All I am asking the Congress to do is to take this step. It doesn't lead to any other step necessarily. The Congress is not going to suddenly be bereft of its wisdom and discretion. It will know where to draw the line on this matter as it has on all matters in the past.
Senator THURMOND. That is what those proponents of the measures say in the Congress. Just take this step and then in another year it is another step, and in another year it is another step, and now we have the Federal Government injected into a great many fields of activity, never contemplated by the framers of the Constitution and for which there is no constitutional power, and I am very much afraid of that. But thank you very much for your appearance here.
Mr. SORENSEN. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Ervin. I might say I am not impressed by your theory of corruption. I think you have about the same amount of corruption under both systems.
Mr. SORENSEN. I agree with you, Senator, that corruption is always possible under any system. We have corruption today and I hope we could eliminate it entirely. But as I say, I think it is easier to deal with corruption when we have a system that all people understand because they use it in all the other elections.
Senator Bayh. I apologize for having to leave.
I think it is a very comprehensive statement, as I said before. I am particularly impressed by your point that it would be very difficult, if indeed not impossible at these times to be President of the United States if you are defeated by the rank and file voter. To me this is fundamental and I appreciate your zeroing in on that.
Let me just quickly deal with two or three points. This business of fraudulent voting, human nature being what it is, we want to do everything we can to prevent fraudulent voting, but when it gets right down to it, isn't our chance of prohibiting fraudulent voting better when those votes are less likely to have an impact on the election?
For example, California now has 40 electoral votes. To use your example of a political manipulator in California
Mr. SORENSEN. And in the next election, I think they will have a good deal more.
Senator Bayh. Yes, they will have more, but as of right now, those 40 votes out of the 270 required to win under the present system is a significant percentage. The incentive to involve one's self in fraud to produce an additional 10,000 votes in California, which represents, according to my figures, between 14 and 15 percent of that 270, is great