Congressional Democrats Allowed Fifty Trump Electoral Votes Despite Illegitimacy
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Congressional Democrats Allowed Fifty Trump Electoral Votes Despite Illegitimacy

On Dec. 19, 538 presidential electors convened and officially elected Donald Trump into office.

The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution speaks on presidential elections. Elector eligibility is left to state legislators and, like several other government processes, there is a tight set of rules which dictate who is eligible to be an elector for a state.

This year several of the nominated electors are breaking at least one of the rules.

“Among the at least 50 Republican electors that we identified, at least 16 electors lived outside the congressional districts they represented, in violation of state statutory resident requirements,” according to the electoral vote objection packet.

“And at least 34 electors held dual offices, in direct violation of statutes prohibiting dual-office holding.”

Because there are so many congressional districts that vary in qualitative political desire, it was seen as crucial to writers of the Twelfth Amendment for the elected officials to reside in their respective district.

On the other hand, the clause regarding holding dual-office means that people who are already public officials on a state level are ineligible to also be elected to represent a district in the Electoral College.

The intention behind this part of the amendment was to give more power to the people as opposed to politicians.

Occasionally, some ineligible electors are nominated and vote in the Electoral College for president but it has never made a significant difference in the outcome of the election.

This past year all 50 of the illegal electors cast their ballot for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes.

On Jan. 6, Congress met to certify the Electoral College results. If Congress had chosen to approve a quarter of the illegitimate ballots then Donald Trump would not have been over 270 electoral votes: the number needed to be president.

Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip, had mentioned that he would support an effort in Congress to elect someone besides Donald Trump but he feels that it is unlikely.

“I don’t frankly think he’s going to get a Senator to join in with him, which the process requires,” said Hoyer. But “if he has the Senator, I will support him.”

His effort to stop Trump, along with that of other democrats, has fallen flat.

The Electoral College’s results have only been challenged twice since 1877, most recently in 2005.

The unconventional protocol is not new to this election cycle.

Hillary Clinton became the democratic nominee despite being under an FBI investigation. In a typical year, this would have sunk her campaign from the beginning.

Likewise, Trump has not released his tax returns, a decision that would be considered absurd in previous election years.

Many are angry because of President Trump’s constant chastising of illegal voting despite only being elected because of illegal Electoral College votes.

On Jan. 25, Trump in two tweets said, “I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead. Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”

Others are angry because of the lack of fight given from the Senate and the House to push back against Trump.

Not only have they let the rule breaking electors slide, they have also been passing all of his Cabinet nominees thus far in spite of their strong rhetoric in hearings.

This year has shown a contrast of Americans’ tendency to care about standards in politics.

People have begun reassessing rules made hundreds of years ago and approaching former traditions with a lackadaisical attitude.

 

Wesley Hortenbach

Reporter

Wesley.S.Hortenbach@uwsp.edu

About Wesley Hortenbach

Wesley Hortenbach
I love musicals, politics, and musicals about politics.

2 comments

  1. Hi Wesley – - The 12th Amendment says absolutely nothing about who can be appointed an elector. If I am mistaken, please let me know the wording in the 12th Amendment to which you refer.

    Article II of the Constitution gives each state virtually exclusive right to appoint electors in the manner each state legislature specifies. That means a state could, if it likes, require that electors reside in some particular district, but that is entirely a matter of state law. With 48 of 50 states appointing electors on a winner take all basis, and with the winning political parties at state level normally doing the actual naming of electors who would serve if their candidate wins, in practice most states do not specify residence requirements for choosing their electors. Again, this is totally an area of state law, and once the state certifying official (typically the Secretary of State) certifies the voting of electors in their state, the matter is to all intents and purposes closed. True, Congress gets a final OK, but that rarely makes any difference, as was the case in the recent election.

    • Wesley Hortenbach
      Wesley Hortenbach

      Hi David,
      You are correct. The details are left up to state legislators to decide so it does vary from state to state, albeit only slightly. Of the 16 electors mentioned who didn’t have the residency rule met, all of their respective state legislature they must. I was referring to the fact that the 12th amendment, by default, says how the elector rules are made. My apologies if the wording was confusing. As far as congressional power to OK and put the final stamp on the vote, historically there’s not precedent for that to happen but that power was given to them for a reason and this election year has been a bit out of the ordinary.

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