minority groups found in metropolitan
"liters who often can swing an election within a state from one major
Partv to the other. Senator Karl Mundt
°f South Dakota explains further:
Sometimes these minority Oleics are
ethnic, religious, political or economic
"' character, but in the main they inhabit
Hie metropolitan communities, where such
Woes can hold the balance of power in
''ie states with large blocks of electoral
w>tes, t" llie point of determining presidential decisions for 175 million people
"i 48 stales. Such groups ancl organizations should have the right to operate
Politically in our body politic. They have
1 Perfect right to endeavor to sell their
"-'"''"> lo (he average voter. However, . . .
"ey should he compelled, as presidential
Candidates should he compelled, 1 alee
ii nationwide appeal, instead of a localized
The nm't rule method is charged
*ith discouraging individual political
"Chvity in "sure" stales, hew members
''' the minority party bother to vote.
j""(( they know their votes will be
0sb nor do many members of tbe
Majority party vote, since they know
their votes are not needed.
Vnother serious shortcoming of the
"lit rule system is the possibility that
9 ''resident can be elected not only
* 'tn less than a majority popular vote,
'"' with fewer popular votes than his
'.'"ding opponent. This latter situa-
'°ri has actually happened in the case
? Adams in 1824, Hayes in 1876, and
•'rrison in 1888.
Nc Problems for
The first problem that must be re-
,'bed in seeking electoral reform is
"' very one that plagued the framers
,' "ie Constitution: Should each voter
ottlj the sovereign states be thi
^»r voting units/
"lose vvho favor a strong central
kve an equal voice in the selection of
President and Vice President, or
government, with each individual
lfr having an equal
""ect popular vote. This would nee-
erase state lines during an
.''•"m. and would eliminate the electa! college entirely. Advocates of a
V1'" vote remind us that ours is, or
a government of the people,
the people, and for the people.
(,s<' who want to maintain the unity
,,'" identity of each state in a national
'.'^ion. believing that tbe chief oxec-
0 is President of the United States
• than of the American people as
lv'duals, favor either a proportional
'strict vote, or a compromise of
The second problem is inherent in
any election: Within either system,
what simple procedure will result in
selection of the candidate whom a
majority will prefer over his leading
opponent? The present system pro-
vides that whenever a majority is not
achieved in the electoral vote, such a
decision would be made by the House
of Representatives, in the case of the
President; or by the Senate, in the case
of the Vice President. Most people
seem to think that an election should
not be made in Congress except in the
most exceptional cases, vet perfecting
an election mechanism that would prevent such an event seems to be extremely difficult and controversial.
Many approaches have been embodied in amendments recently presented and debated before Congress.
None of these amendments have been
passed but they will be coming up
again, in one form or the other, with
many of the same arguments for and
against them presented over and over
One of the most interesting observations at the conclusion of the recent
debate on the Daniel-Mundt amendment was made by Senator Prescott
bush of Connecticut, who said: "I
think other senators, like myself, can
testify that we have received virtually
no communications from the voters of
our states, from the people vvho would
be most affected by the amendment.
Interest in the proposal is at a very
low ebb, indeed. I think that is very
significant, because, as 1 have said, we
are debating a very important amendment to the Constitution of the United
In view of this lack of a show of
interest on the part of the voters, the
various major proposals for electoral
(•(•form will be considered here in
some detail in the hope that voting
citizens may become better informed,
and will let their congressmen know
their wishes on this important matter.
In 1950 the Lodge-C.ossett amendment passed the Semite, but was subsequently defeated in the House. The
Daniel-Kefauver amendment, essentially the same as the Lodge-Gossett
plan and embodying the proportional
method of counting electoral votes,
was debated this spring.
A second major proposal receiving
attention was the Mundt-Coudert
plan, which would provide for the
"" "vw„„„i Record, March 22, 1956, p. 4754. •Congressional Record, March 27, 1958, p. 5047.
^s Forum News, August, 1956
district method of computing electoral
Shortly before the two plans were
to be discussed, Senator Price Daniel
of Texas announced that since neither
plan could count on enough votes for
passage, a compromise had been
agreed upon by cosponsors of the two
proposals, and therefore he would present a substitute amendment. This
compromise became known as the
Daniel-Mundt plan, and provided for
a choice to be made by each state in
the electoral procedure.
When the Daniel-Mundt proposal
was introduced, and before action on
it was taken, Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota proposed two substitute amendments providing for a
direct popular vote and totally changing the picture of the original proposed amendment. After due consideration, both substitute amendments
Another substitute amendment was
introduced by Senator William Langer
of North Dakota, which would make
use of the direct popular vote, but
with variations. The Langer amendment was also rejected.
The simplest of the direct vote
amendments was introduced by Senator Herbert Lehman of New York.
This plan garnered a few more votes
than the Langer proposal, but it, too,
After several days of exhaustive and
thorough debate, S. J. Res. 31 as proposed by Senator Daniel and Senator
Mundt was not voted upon, but instead was recommitted to the Senate
Committee on the Judiciary, along
with several suggested changes and
amendments for further study.
Soon thereafter, Senator Mundt
worked out a new formula and introduced it into the Senate as a basis for
study, but not for action any time
soon. He indicates the new proposal
simplifies his former plan and is
framed to meet various objections
which arose during the March debates.
With this over-all picture of recent
Senate action, let us consider each of
the resolutions mentioned above, w ith
a condensed statement of the pros and
cons as aired in the Senate.
This amendment would do the following:
(1) Abolish the electoral college.
(2) Abolish tlie office of presidential elector.