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Author Topic: Election process if no one gets a majority in the Elec College?  (Read 12039 times)
Ryan
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« on: November 03, 2003, 09:49:40 am »
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In Presidential elections if no one gets a majority of electoral votes it goes to the house of reps. However I understand its not a simple vote. Each delegation casts one vote, which is determined by the will of the majority of the delegation).

(I'm not 100% sure about this but if its true its throws up some interesting possibilities. In the 2000 election, if the House decided it (and all party members voted for their party’s candidate) then Gore would have won Texas, Mississippi and North Dakota while Bush would have won Connecticut & Delaware among others. :)Incidentally in such an election Bush would have won as the GOP holds most state delegations.

Still not 100% on the whole thing though, can anyone confirm or expand on the above?
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2003, 09:20:32 pm »
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In a nutshell, yes, each state delegation gets 1 vote in the House of Representatives. So California would get 1 vote, same as Wyoming! But they can only vote on the top 3 electoral vote candidates. Whoever gets a majority is President, then they vote again for VP.   (See The 12th Amendment to the Constitution )
As you may know it's only happened twice - in 1800 when Jefferson and Burr were tied and in 1824 when 4 candidates had electorals, but none  had a majority.  
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Ryan
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2003, 02:32:23 am »
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thanks for confirming that. Does anyone know what happens if a delegation is evenly split between candidates? That would actually happen in several cases right now. How does the delegations one vote get decided?
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Dave Leip
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2003, 10:42:19 am »

Actually, NorthernDog, the Vice President is chosen by the Senate, not the House - see U.S. Constitution Amendment XII

In 1824, the VP was not decided by the Senate, as John Calhoun received 182 Electoral Votes vs. 78 Electoral Votes for all other VP candidates.

The Senate, however, did choose the VP in 1836 when the democratic electoral votes for Vice President were split between Richard Johnson (147) and William Smith (23) (with 124 Electoral Votes for other Vice Presidential candidates).  Johnson won the Senate vote.

I'm actually not clear on whether the Senate actually voted for Burr in 1800, as the rules under Article II, Section 1 were in effect at the time state: In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. - which would have been Burr, without a Senate vote.

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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2003, 02:25:52 pm »
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If that ever happend the congress would tear itself apart.
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Platypus
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2003, 02:28:27 am »
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I think New Zealand has the best idea-Compulsory Preferential voting by party (congress) or individual (president)

ie, everyone votes; they vote for the party they like best, then second, third, etc., for congress

For presidents, have preferential primaries, and then preferential presidential. Make primaries optional (obviously) but the vote for the actual president should be compulsory.

It is the only way a majority of the adult population can truly elect their choice; if it isn't preferential a candidate coulw win with 45% of the votes, and with only 50% of the population voting-thats less then a quarter of the population!
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Ryan
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2003, 12:22:53 pm »
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I still havent got a reply to the main questions and would be very keen to know.
I'm gonna state em again just so its clear what I'm asking.

A) We have confirmed that each state gets a single vote decided by the delegation. Does anyone know what happens if a delegation is evenly split between candidates? That would actually happen in several cases right now. eg. In Mississippi the GOP and dems each have two reps.
 How does the delegations one vote get decided?

B) What happens if the house is split 25-25 on the top two candidates?


C) While I'm at it, does anyone know who gets control of the House if its split 50-50. Right now there are 435 seats so either party should have a majority of at least 218 but suppose one member refuses to vote or dies and the house is split 217-217, What happens?
The senate provision for Vice-Pres deciding vote is well known but I've never heard of any provision for an even split in the house.

Could anyone at least point me to where I could get answers for these??? I havent found any on the net?
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2003, 11:04:19 pm »
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I still havent got a reply to the main questions and would be very keen to know.
I'm gonna state em again just so its clear what I'm asking.

A) We have confirmed that each state gets a single vote decided by the delegation. Does anyone know what happens if a delegation is evenly split between candidates? That would actually happen in several cases right now. eg. In Mississippi the GOP and dems each have two reps.
 How does the delegations one vote get decided?

B) What happens if the house is split 25-25 on the top two candidates?


C) While I'm at it, does anyone know who gets control of the House if its split 50-50. Right now there are 435 seats so either party should have a majority of at least 218 but suppose one member refuses to vote or dies and the house is split 217-217, What happens?
The senate provision for Vice-Pres deciding vote is well known but I've never heard of any provision for an even split in the house.

 A)   To answer the question about what would happen if the delegation is evenly split within the state, like with Mississippi. More than likely they would have to just fight it out until someone gives in. I am taking all my information from a book I remember reading as well as the internet, and I'm very upset that I can't find any of this information again. I will look for it again. But if I am unable to, I would greatly appreciate if anyone else would confirm or deny what I say.

B)  From what I understand, and I know I may not be right, so if anyone would like to correct me, go right ahead. But from what I understand, if the election is thrown to the house, and the state delegations vote 25 to 25, then the House would just keep voting, and voting, and voting, until something changes. And if it doesn't change (because you've got some hard headed polititians out there) then the Vice President (assuming that the Senate was successfull in electing the Vice President) would be sworn in as President at noon on January 20th. Uh oh, but what if the state delegations are 25-25, AND the Senate is 50-50. Well, then I guess the world will end! Or if you consider the line of succession, the Speaker of the House would become President.

C)  I'm fairly certain I know the answer to this question, even more so than the other questions. First lets start with the Senate. If the Senate is 50-50, then we all know that the Vice President gets to be the deciding vote. But if the House is, lets say,  218 Republicans to 217 Democrats, and one of the Republicans die making it 217 to 217,  then they would just have to wait for the election of the missing person. Unlike the Senate, if someone dies or resigns from the House, an emergency election takes place right away in his or her district. During the time span in which it is split 217 to 217, the Speaker of the House (who would be a Republican, following my scenerio) would continue to be Speaker. One thing I'll have to look up though, it is my impression that the Speaker is elected to serve for the duration of the congress. Accordingly, he would serve from January 3rd of one odd numberd year to January 3rd of another odd numberd year. Therefore, even if 10 Republcians die or resign and 10 Democrats are elected to replace them, making it 227 Democrats to 208 Republicans, the Republican Speaker would continue to be Speaker of the House.

« Last Edit: November 09, 2003, 02:16:53 am by Demrepdan »Logged

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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2003, 02:52:56 am »
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I believe you are mostly correct on A and B, except that if the Senate were divided 50-50 on the choice of the VP then the previously sitting VP would break the tie (since the vote would take place before Jan. 20). A state would essentially not have its vote for President count if its delegation was split evenly, but 26 delegations are still required for victory. If no one had 26 delegations (and remember the 3rd place candidate if there is one is still in contention, unlike the Senate which can only vote for the top two thus guaranteeing someone will win) then the House would have to keep voting until it could come to a decision. Likewise individual delegations could thus vote again and someone might eventually win a majority in a state to get that state's vote. If the House can't decide by Jan. 20 on a President, the VP elected by the Senate would be acting President until the House could elect a President.
But what if the VP vote was filibustered in the Senate? Or can it even be filibustered? I honestly don't know the answers to those, but then I would guess the Speaker would become acting President until someone can get elected to something.
As for C, I am pretty sure that a majority of the House can decide to hold a new election for Speaker, as the office of Speaker has changed hands before in midterm (not since the early 1930's though I believe). If the election were a tie, I believe that the old sitting Speaker would remain in office. Another interesting thing about the Speaker of the House is that it doesn't have to be a member of the House. Anyone can be elected Speaker, they don't have to actually be a representative. No one who wasn't a House member has ever been elected, but it's been tossed around before as a possibility.
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Ryan
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2003, 10:35:46 am »
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Good answers, Thanks Smiley These questions were beginning to piss me off. I hope everyone realises they are very much still a possibility in the near future.

One thing I still have to clarify. Your answers on the House majority process assumes there will always be an odd number of members so someone has to have a majority. There have been many congresses in the past when there were even numbers.

23rd   1834-1835   240
24th   1835-1837   242
25th   1837-1839   242
26th   1839-1841   242
27th   1841-1843   242
Just to name a few. Btw if the proposal to give DC a full seat works out ..........right away there will be 436 members and a chance for a 218-218 split.

Also you havent noted that a sitting member (especially an independent)
may choose not to vote for speaker leaving an even split. What happens then? Anyone have an idea??
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2003, 10:38:06 am »
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Are you suggesting that Bernie might cause trouble Wink
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Ryan
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2003, 10:58:20 am »
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Are you suggesting that Bernie might cause trouble Wink

LOL no, although he has been chafing at the bit of late. He complains that the dems are treating him like a Junior member of their own party and not as an important congressional ally. Still I dont see him jumping ship anytime soon. Smiley

I was suggesting that in the future a fiercely independent member might refuse to vote for either partys nominee regardless of inducements. However just as likely a conservative democrat like Ralph Hall or liberal republican like Jim Leach might refrain from casting a vote in case of a split. What happens then??
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2003, 07:11:55 pm »
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20th Amendment
Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before
the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may
by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

There you have it. If the President-elect can not serve as President, then the Vice President-elect shall serve as President until such a time when the congress can qualify a person to become President. Also in the 25th Amendment, as we all know the line of Presidential succession is Speaker of the House after the Vice President, therefore it is implied that if neither the President OR Vice President is elected by January 20th, then the Speaker shall assume the office of President until such a time when congress has qualified the President or Vice President. But in order to do so, the Speaker must first resign from office of Speaker as well as Representative, which would force him to lose a great deal of power. Accordingly, this would give the Speaker the incentive to make SURE that there is either a President-elect or Vice President-elect by January 20th.

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Taken from the U.S. House of Representatives
government website:
Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution states:
"The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers." The Speaker is elected by roll call vote when each new House first convenes. Customarily, the conference of each major party nominates a candidate whose name is placed in nomination. Although the Constitution does not require the Speaker to be a member of the House, all Speakers have been members. Members normally vote for the candidate of their own party conference, but could vote for any individual, whether nominated or not. To be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of votes cast, which may be less than a majority of full membership of the House, because of absentees of Members voting "present." If no candidate receives the requisite majority, the roll call is repeated until a Speaker is elected.

There you go.  It never says in the constitution that the Speaker MUST be a member of the majority part, let alone does he have to be a member of the House of Representatives! However, it is implied that the Speaker shall be a House member (as the speaker always has been) and it is also implied that the Speaker be in the majority party. Accordingly, I would guess that if there were a quick CHANGE in power in the House (e.g. my scenario from my previous post), they would call for an emergency election of a new Speaker. But he doesnít gotta be kicked out. But Iím sure that the majority party would just go CRAZY if the Speaker was of the minority party. Thus, a new election for Speaker would be held.




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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2003, 08:57:01 pm »
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What's really wild is if the winning Presidential candidate dies before the Electoral College votes.   Jeff Greenfield of ABC News wrote a book on this in the '90s.  Book was dumb but intriguing.  If you think the VP just moves up a slot to Pres., think again. He's not yet the VP-Elect, so can't assume the role of President-Elect.  I know that the losing candidate died in an election in the late 19th Century, and his electoral votes got splintered all over the place(Horace Greeley was it?) This is probably the weakest link in the Electoral College system.
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2003, 01:37:25 am »
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Well, if the President elect died before the EC voted, then the electors could vote for anyone they wanted to. Presumably the party would want to decide on one candidate for them all to vote for, because if they split their votes the race could get thrown into the House. But, the electors could vote for whomever they chose, the party would probably try to get them to vote for the VP elect, but they wouldn't have to.
Yes, Horace Greeley in 1872 died before the EC voted, it didn't really matter since he lost the election, and thus the Dems didn't really worry about who the electors voted for. The electors ended up splitting their votes several ways.
If the House is evenly divided on the vote for Speaker I believe (but am not entirely sure) that the old Speaker would continue to hold the office until the tie could be broken. Either that, or the Speakership may be completely vacant until the tie can be broken. The Constitution seems unclear on this.
The Vice Presidency couldn't be vacant though unless there was a filibuster, since the Senate must decide from the top 2 candidates and there is a provision to break a 50-50 tie (the sitting VP votes). Thus, this ensures that at worst the VP-elect becomes acting President if the House can't elect a President.
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« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2003, 09:01:25 pm »
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If the House is evenly divided on the vote for Speaker I believe (but am not entirely sure) that the old Speaker would continue to hold the office until the tie could be broken. Either that, or the Speakership may be completely vacant until the tie can be broken. The Constitution seems unclear on this.
 
File this under "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it".  
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2003, 09:47:18 pm »
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Well, here is a not so unlikely 2004 result: if Bush loses WV and NH, arguably outside of FL the two states he is most likely to lose, then the result is a 269 to 269 tie!  No EV majority and it goes to the House, unless one faithless elector switches before the Electoral College votes in Dec.  
I think tremendous pressure will be generated for one elector to switch to the popular vote winner and save us from a Constitutional crisis.
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2003, 10:51:23 pm »
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It wouldn't be a "constitutional crises". The election would just be thrown the the House of Representatives for the third time in U.S. history, and for the first time since 1824.
   If that were to happen to GWB, that would be pretty funny. John Quincy Adams (son of a former President, like W Bush is) did not recieve the majority of the popular vote (just like GWB). In addition to that, John Q. Adams was elected by the House of Representatives.
     And if that 269 to 269 tie were to occur in the 2004 election, Bush would get elected by the House (just as Quincy did) since the House would be in Republican control by the end of 2004, and most likely into 2005.
   The humor in that would be, that George W. Bush would be elected twice without being what many consider to be "officially" elected. Since he didn't win the majority of the popular vote in the 2000 election, and with my given scenario, he wouldn't have even been elected by the Electoral College in the 2004 election. So he would be like John Quincy Adams in that respect. The son of a former President, who was never "really" elected President.
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« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2003, 05:02:06 am »
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Well, here is a not so unlikely 2004 result: if Bush loses WV and NH, arguably outside of FL the two states he is most likely to lose, then the result is a 269 to 269 tie!  No EV majority and it goes to the House, unless one faithless elector switches before the Electoral College votes in Dec.  
I think tremendous pressure will be generated for one elector to switch to the popular vote winner and save us from a Constitutional crisis.

I don't foresee either an elector defecting or a constitutional crisis.

Electors are nowadays chosen very very carefully and its at least 100 to one against anyone "bolting".

As to the crisis bit the scenarios we discussed above are only if the house delegations are divided 25-25. That is not the case right now. The GOP holds over 30 state delegations so a GOP victory is all but guaranteed.
Incidentally it is the current congress not the one elected in 2004 which would decide a tie so even for those dems with hopes of a congressional sweep in 2004 it wont help you elect a President from the house. Cheesy
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Ryan
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« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2003, 05:06:42 am »
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If the House is evenly divided on the vote for Speaker I believe (but am not entirely sure) that the old Speaker would continue to hold the office until the tie could be broken. Either that, or the Speakership may be completely vacant until the tie can be broken. The Constitution seems unclear on this.
 
File this under "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it".  

Well, if there is no clear constituational provision, thats what we are gonna have to do anyway. Still its disconcerting that the lower house will be in limbo if such an event were to occur.  I think its unlikely this decade but with the country so evenly divided and both parties working so desperately for every seat, its not impossible.

Of course for it to happen this decade (since there is an odd no of representatives)  in the future a fiercely independent member might refuse to vote for either partys nominee regardless of inducements. However just as likely a conservative democrat like Ralph Hall or liberal republican like Jim Leach might refrain from casting a vote in case of a split.
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« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2003, 12:10:27 am »
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Actually, it would be the new House, not the old, that would elect the President, since the House is sworn in on Jan. 3 and the Electoral College votes aren't certified until Jan. 6, so the vote in the House and Senate for President and Vice President would occur with the newly elected Congress.
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Ryan
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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2003, 05:18:17 am »
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Thanks for the Correction. My mistake was in the date electoral votes are counted Smiley


Actually, it would be the new House, not the old, that would elect the President, since the House is sworn in on Jan. 3 and the Electoral College votes aren't certified until Jan. 6, so the vote in the House and Senate for President and Vice President would occur with the newly elected Congress.
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« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2003, 12:11:56 pm »
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When was Cermack of Chicago killed?  HE was riding int he car with Pres elect Roosevelt at the time, were the EV counted then?  I have always wondered how the world would have been dramatically different if the assassin had killed FDR that day.
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« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2003, 12:13:49 pm »
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As to const question.  I think they should do away with actual people as electors.  Just make it the numbers, you win the number in that state you win it then you don't have a rogue voter here and there.

Why do the EV have to be certified on Jan 6, is that a law somewhere.  Couldn't the old House come in early and decide if they wanted to?

Please inform me.
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« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2003, 02:44:48 pm »
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I believe the Jan. 6 date for counting Electors is prescribed in the Constitution, although I'll admit I'm not 100% sure.
The bullet meant for Roosevelt that killed Chicago mayor Anton Cermak was fired on Feb. 15, 1933 by Guiseppe Zangara. (They weren't riding in a car, BTW, I think you are confusing it with Kennedy's assasination). Cermak himself didn't die until March 6, 2 days after Roosevelt was inaugurated. If Roosevelt had died on Feb. 15, his Vice President John Garner would have become President on March 4 (which is when the inauguration was held then, the last time before it was moved up to Jan. 20). That definitely would have changed the whole face of history regarding the Depression, WWII, etc., although how so no one can say for sure. If Roosevelt had lived until March 6 and died like Cermak did, he actually would have been inaugurated on March 4 while on his deathbed and served for 2 days.
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