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Facts Forum News, Vol.5, No. 8, August 1956
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Facts Forum. Facts Forum News, Vol.5, No. 8, August 1956 - File 021. 1956-08. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. June 4, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1352973/item/1469/show/1420.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Facts Forum. (1956-08). Facts Forum News, Vol.5, No. 8, August 1956 - File 021. Facts Forum News, 1955-1956. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1352973/item/1469/show/1420

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Facts Forum, Facts Forum News, Vol.5, No. 8, August 1956 - File 021, 1956-08, Facts Forum News, 1955-1956, University of Houston Libraries, accessed June 4, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/1352973/item/1469/show/1420.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Facts Forum News, Vol.5, No. 8, August 1956
Series Title Facts Forum News
Creator
  • Facts Forum
Publisher Facts Forum
Date August 1956
Language eng
Subject
  • Anti-communist movements
  • Conservatism
  • Politics and government
  • Hunt, H. L.
Place
  • Dallas, Texas
Genre
  • journals (periodicals)
Type
  • Text
Identifier AP2.F146 v. 5 1956; OCLC: 1352973
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries
  • Facts Forum News
Rights No Copyright - United States: This item is in the public domain in the United States and may be used freely in the United States. The item may not be in the public domain under the copyright laws of other countries.
Item Description
Title File 021
Transcript rust. ,, change in tbe electoral process involves an amendment to the Constitution, a complicated and time-consuming procedure which requires a two-thirds vote by both branches of Congress, plus ratification by three- fourths of the states. Second, the concensus after each attempt seems to be that the proposed change, in attempt- •ng to solve one or more problems, Would create others, so that apparent- 'y it would be better to hold off until a more perfect solution presents itself. The most progress such a proposed '"nendment has ever made was passage by the Senate of the Lodge-Cos- sett amendment in 1&50, only to be followed by defeat in the House. What Is the Present System? L Under the present procedure for the election of the President and Vice President, the Constitution provides "at each state appoint, in such manner as its legislature directs, a number °t electors equal to the number of senators and representatives of that state "J the U. S. Congress. Although the e'ectors, meeting in their respective ■We capitals, are not under any legal Propulsion to vote for the candidates 0 whom they are pledged, in general "ey east their votes in accordance w>th their pledges. The candidates for . resident and Vice President reeciv - nS a majority of the electoral votes ast are elected. « no candidate for President re- ('lvi's a majority, the House of Repre- entatives chooses the President from e three candidates having the great- vst number of electoral votes. This st°''ng in the House is conducted by ('s- each state having one vote re- wdless of its size, the vote of each ate being determined by separate . te of its delegation. A majority vote "ecessary for election. j, Similarly, if no candidate for Vice . esident receives a majority from tbe ectoral college, the outcome is decid- 'n the Senate from tlie two highest and''dates. jc ederal statutes govern the mechan- (L °f the electoral process, including Jaws determining time of election, ti ?ting of the electors and casting of tor'i Da"ofs> am' counting of the clee- al ballots in Congress. 'ate laws determine the manner in ?ov ''le electors are chosen and h. ''rn other election procedures and y activities within their respective tJiit s' T,l('sc laws naturally vary, Ur(_ '" one important aspect the states "niform: they have all adopted the J? ^Ts Forum News, August, 1956 "unit rule." This means, for example, if one state has 24 electoral votes, and a popular election gives 14 for the electors on the slate of the Democratic partv- and 10 for the Republican, the Democrats would control all 24 votes. As originally conceived, the electoral college was intended to be composed of men of ability and reputation, who would exercise an independent judgment in their selection of the President and Vice President. At first the states elected or appointed members lo the electoral college by districts. There was no such thing as a party slate of electors. Then in 18(10 several northern anti-Jefferson state legislatures amended their election lavs in such a way thai the voter would vote for a general ticket of the state's entire quota of electors. Thus an entire state bloc of electors would be elected hy majority vote, and the minority of pro-Jefferson voters, in those states, would have no representatives in the electoral college. The Virginia Assembly then adopted a similar law in defense of Jefferson, and the "unit rule" was on its way toward being universal — as it is today. It has remained common to all stales down through the years. It is, of course, to the advantage of whichever political party is dominant in a state to retain the system. Legally, the electors cannot he hound to vote in the electoral college for any nominee, but may vote as thev- please. Politically and morally, however, they are pledged in advance as a unit ancl thev so vi'le with rare exception. Thus the "unit rule" is part state law and part political custom which has gained the force of law.1 Reasons for Maintaining Present System Proponents of the present electoral system defend it primarily on the basis that it has served the people reasonably well for many years, in spite of certain defects. More specifically, they say unit rule has discouraged the growth of minority parties. The two- party system, as opposed to multiple- party or coalition government, is generally conceded to be an integral part cl the success story of American government. None of the sponsors of contemporary proposals for change, at anv rate, want to encourage the development of splinter parties, the scourge of European politics. Homer Ferguson, U. S. Ambassador to tbe Philippines and former senator, says: It is perhaps the best commentary on the importance and durability of the two- party system that this country has known 70 political parties iu its history, each of which has elected at least one member of Congress, tint each one, and in a very short time, disappeared or was absorbed in one <>l the two major parties. This did not happen by luck or chance. The electoral system itself had much to do with it. . . . Under the present unit system, minority political groups, usually advocating extreme views, rarely attract enough votes to capture the electoral vote of a state. At most, they can swing their voting strength between the two major parties. . . . Their inability to gain electoral votes under the unit rule deprives them of incentive to remain compact and to grow as individual parties. At the same time, their limited voting strength is enough to cause ferment in the major parties, which are forced to clean house and adopt new ideas to gain the aid of minority groups. The result is to prevent fragmentation into multiple parties with all its attendant evils, and to preserve and to invigorate the two-party system." Some who favor the present system, or at least who feel that the best possible alternative has not been produced as yet, point out that the electoral college i.s federal in its concept, preserving the basic rights of the states to vote as states. Defects in Present System The defects of the prevailing method of election, according to those who would change it, are threefold: (1) Relenlion of the office of elector. The electoral college has degenerated into a mere rubber stamp, say its critics. Instead of being selected for ability, prestige, and keen judgment, as envisioned by the framers of the Constitution, present-day electors are often unknown, completely meaningless to the average voter. More important, the individual elector is only morally and politically bound to vote for candidates of his party. Legally, there is the possibility that electors may disregard their pledges, thereby conceivably creating a dangerous situation. For instance, if on election day it appeared that one candidate needed but one electoral vote to command a majority in the electoral college, the pressure on individual electors would be tremendous. One or more such changed votes. under the unit rule, could change the vote of the entire state, perhaps having a decisive role in the total election picture. There i.s the risk, furthermore, that a successful candidate for the Presidency or Vice Presidency will become incapacitated between the date of the election and the date on which the electoral college meets. The selection of a substitute candidate would necessarily be left to the discretion of the electoral college. ing r n ' "W'li.il (lie I .;iw Now Provides,* Dig. rt, Vii.il. L956, p. 102. Congressional -"Should tbe Tropordonal' Adopted?" ibid., ». 109. Electoral Method Be Page 19
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