Pursuant to law promulgated by Congress and regulations by the Federal Electronic Election Commission (FEEC) presidential elections will take place as follows:
* Ten days prior to the constitutionally required election date the FEEC will provide each appropriate registered voter, as determined by federal and state law, with a unique identifying code, the voter shall cast his/her ballot online and receive a vote verification code.
* The FEC will declare a winner one hour after the closing of the voting window.
Maybe in a few years, a decade, all voting will be online. Yes, I know the cyber world is capturing our lives, too many of us live online. How many times have you looked over a group of people and most, all, were staring at their phone and tapping away. According to Moore’s Law computing power doubles every two years – change is inexorable.
A friend, only half jokingly, said, “Pretty soon they’ll be stapling a chip into everyone’s earlobe.” A colleague responded, “I’ll never allow them to do that to me.” My friend: “Are you kidding, in six months you’ll be begging for the upgrade.”
How long before artificial intelligence (AI) catches up to human intelligence, then again, is our president-elect the first example?
Voting electronically will make voting easier and quicker; however, will not change the current constitutionally mandated electoral college.
Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
The delegates to the Constitutional Convention did not trust the masses, the “mad cry of the crowd,” as Abigail Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson in her January, 1787 letter. The founders feared a chief executive who would morph into George III, a king called a president. The electors, selected by the states, were intermediaries to protect the embryonic nation from the masses and to empower states. The delegates were seeking an alternative to the Articles of Confederation, our first government that created a weak central government; in fact, the new nation for virtually all services, was made up of thirteen separate nations, our name, the United States of America, was more hopeful than real.
In four previous instances candidates were elected who lost the popular vote. John Quincy Adams won the electoral college vote in 1824 but lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson, who won the next two elections. Rutherford B. Hayes was elected in the infamous 1876 election although Samuel J. Tilden won the popular vote. The election was decided by an electoral commission that included a “deal,” the commission would declare Hayes the victor in exchange for the end of Reconstruction and the removal of federal troops from the former confederate states. Benjamin Harrison was the electoral vote winner in 1888 versus Grover Cleveland, who was the only president to serve non-consecutive terms. George Bush was the electoral college winner in an election determined by the Supreme Court, Al Gore won the popular vote by 500,000 votes.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over 2.6 million votes, and lost the electoral votes 306 – 232; however, if we remove California, Trump won the popular vote in the total of the other 49 states.
Calls for recounts in a few states have stumbled, and calls for changes in the constitution are futile. An amendment to the constitution requires a 2/3 vote in each house of the Congress and approval by the legislatures of 3/4 of the states. All states have winner-take-all elections with the exception of Maine and Nebraska who use a combination of at-large electors bound to the popular vote and district-specific electors bound to the outcome in their respective districts.
All states have the option of adopting iterations of the Maine and Nebraska systems. Each congressional district would, in effect, select an elector. Instead of the current fifty state elections we would have 436 elections – one in each congressional district plus the District of Columbia.
Each congressional district has about 711,000 residents, the number that registers and votes varies widely from district to district. The number of congressional districts in each state is determined by the census – the next census – 2020.
Congressional boundaries are set by state legislatures pursuant to standards that are determined by federal statues and court decisions.
The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear over the past quarter century that racial gerrymandering is an unconstitutional no-no, but partisan gerrymandering is still permissible. The question is: How do you tell the difference? Especially when the Voting Rights Act allows for some consideration of race to ensure minority representation, and when party affiliation often correlates with race.
Is there a “better” system? How would you define “better?”
Would a popular vote system benefit large cities and disadvantage smaller towns?
About 1/6 of Americans live in large cites, 1/6 in rural areas and 2/3 in suburban and exurban areas. On the other hand large cities tend to include more Democratic voters, although voter turnouts are lower in large cities.
The Democrats did gain two seats in the Senate and six seats in the House. The Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, the Vice President breaks ties. Under Senate rules 60 votes are necessary to bring a bill to the floor – the cloture rule; however, presidential nominees only require a majority votes. Barring Republican votes the Trump nominees will be confirmed.
The bottom line: It is unlikely that any change will be made in the electoral college, Trump will get his cabinet level nominees appointed and the Democrats can block bills in the Senate.
The first domestic crisis may be the federal debt ceiling.
The federal debt limit, which was suspended by Congress and the president in November 2015, is set to be reinstated on March 16, 2017. At that point, the government’s outstanding debt would immediately bump up against the new debt limit of about $20.1 trillion, and the Treasury Department would be forced to take “extraordinary measures” to ensure the smooth functioning of the federal government’s finances.
… extraordinary measures would allow Treasury to continue meeting its financial obligations for a limited amount of time, at least until mid-summer of 2017.
Will President Trump allow the nation to default?
Snarky early morning tweets are a lot different than actually running the nation.