Tag Archives: Federal Election Law

2012 US Presidential Election, Electoral College, Electors, US Constitution, Federal Election Law, State Election Laws, State officers, State Election Officials, Judges, US Supreme Court Justices, Questions and answers

2012 US Presidential Election, Electoral College, Electors, US Constitution, Federal Election Law, State Election Laws, State officers, State Election Officials, Judges, US Supreme Court Justices, Questions and answers

“Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise
that it will last; but nothing in this world is certain but death and
taxes.”     Benjamin Franklin

Reprinted from Citizen Wells December 13, 2008.

Presidential Election

ELECTORAL COLLEGE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: What is the Electoral College?:

A: The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers
as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and
election by popular vote. The people of the United States vote for
the electors who then vote for the President. Read more

Q: Frequently asked questions:

A: Read more here

Q: Why did the Founding Fathers create the Electoral College?:

A:  The Founding Father’s intent

Here is a quote by Alexander Hamilton who, like many of the founding
fathers, was “afraid a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come
to power.” Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers:

“It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made
by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station,
and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a
judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were
proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by
their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to
possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated
investigations. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little
opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least
to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so
important an agency in the administration of the government as the
President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so
happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an
effectual security against this mischief.”

Q: What are the state laws governing Electors?:

A: List of states and restrictions on Electors

Q: What are so called “Faithless Electors”?:

A: “The Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require
that electors be completely free to act as they choose and therefore,
political parties may extract pledges from electors to vote for the
parties’ nominees. Some State laws provide that so-called “faithless
electors” may be subject to fines or may be disqualified for casting
an invalid vote and be replaced by a substitute elector. The Supreme
Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges
and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under
the Constitution. No elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to
vote as pledged.” Read more here

The US Supreme Court Obviously has not given Electors the option to
violate the US Constitution. Therefore, obviously, if the presidential
candidate is qualified, party pledges and state laws are permissable.

Q: What must an Elector be aware of when voting for a presidential candidate?:

 A: The following are important considerations when casting a vote. Voting
as instructed by a political party, another person, or a state law in
conflict with the US Constitution or Federal Election Laws is a serious
matter. Those not voting in accordance with higher laws are subject to
prosecution and may be guilty of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
High Crimes and Misdemeanors

UNITED STATES ELECTION LAW

“The following provisions of law governing Presidential Elections are contained in Chapter 1 of Title 3, United States Code (62 Stat. 672, as amended):”

“§ 8.   The electors shall vote for President and Vice President, respectively, in the manner directed by the Constitution.”

ARE ELECTORS REQUIRED TO VOTE ACCORDING TO POPULAR VOTE?

“There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires
electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in
their States. Some States, however, require electors to cast their
votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two
categories—electors bound by State law and those bound by pledges
to political parties.”   (From US National Archives)

SO CALLED “FAITHLESS ELECTORS”

“It turns out there is no federal law that requires an elector to
vote according to their pledge (to their respective party). And so,
more than a few electors have cast their votes without following the
popular vote or their party. These electors are called “faithless
electors.”

In response to these faithless electors’ actions, several states
have created laws to enforce an elector’s pledge to his or her party
vote or the popular vote. Some states even go the extra step to
assess a misdemeanor charge and a fine to such actions. For example,
the state of North Carolina charges a fine of $10,000 to faithless
electors.

It’s important to note, that although these states have created these
laws, a large number of scholars believe that such state-level laws
hold no true bearing and would not survive constitutional challenge.”
Read more here

STATE LAW EXAMPLE: PENNSYLVANIA

Ҥ 3192. Meeting of electors; duties.
The electors chosen, as aforesaid, shall assemble at the seat
of government of this Commonwealth, at 12 o’clock noon of the
day which is, or may be, directed by the Congress of the United
States, and shall then and there perform the duties enjoined upon
them by the Constitution and laws of the United States
.”

“The mysteries of the Electoral College has enabled Pennsylvania
to play an unusually major role in determining who is President.
In 1796, Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in Pennsylvania’s
popular election by only 62 votes, but the Pennsylvania electors
gave Jefferson 14 votes and Adams 1, though Adams did win the
Electoral vote, 71 to 68.” Read more here

ELECTORS HELPED SAVE THE UNION

1860 election: 4 electors in New Jersey, pledged for Stephen Douglas,
voted for Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln.

Q: What happens after the Electoral College vote?:

A: Electoral College procedures

Q: What is the significance of your vote?:

A: The US Constitution clearly gives the states the power
and duties associated with electing a qualified president.
It is also clear that the states have not performed their
duties to ensure that the Electoral College votes will be
for a Qualified candidate. The Electors have a constitutional
duty to perform that supersedes any party contract or state
law. Each day that passes without verification of eligibility
of any candidate being voted for by Electors, brings us closer
to a constitutional crisis. There are pending court cases before
the US Supreme Court and state courts. Congress will meet in
January to count and certify votes and there will certainly be
challenges in Congress. If Congress or the courts shall fail to
do their duty, a Supreme Court Justice will be faced with a
decision to uphold the Constitution. The crisis will increase
in intensity.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the
Citizen Wells blog. Every effort has been made to ensure the
accuracy of the content. Readers are encouraged to visit source
material such as the US Constitution, Federal Election law and
state laws.

2008 US Presidential Election, Electoral College, Electors, US Constitution, Federal Election Law, State Election Laws, State officers, State Election Officials, Judges, US Supreme Court Justices, Democratic Disaster, Questions and answers

“Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise
that it will last; but nothing in this world is certain but death and
taxes.”     Benjamin Franklin

Presidential Election

Electoral College Questions and Answers

Q: What is the Electoral College?:

A: The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers
as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and
election by popular vote. The people of the United States vote for
the electors who then vote for the President. Read more

Q: Frequently asked questions:

A: Read more here

Q: Why did the Founding Fathers create the Electoral College?:

A:  The Founding Father’s intent

Here is a quote by Alexander Hamilton who, like many of the founding
fathers, was “afraid a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come
to power.” Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers:

“It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made
by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station,
and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a
judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were
proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by
their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to
possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated
investigations. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little
opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least
to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so
important an agency in the administration of the government as the
President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so
happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an
effectual security against this mischief.”

Q: What are the state laws governing Electors?:

A: List of states and restrictions on Electors

Q: What are so called “Faithless Electors”?:

A: “The Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require
that electors be completely free to act as they choose and therefore,
political parties may extract pledges from electors to vote for the
parties’ nominees. Some State laws provide that so-called “faithless
electors” may be subject to fines or may be disqualified for casting
an invalid vote and be replaced by a substitute elector. The Supreme
Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges
and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under
the Constitution. No elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to
vote as pledged.” Read more here

The US Supreme Court Obviously has not given Electors the option to
violate the US Constitution. Therefore, obviously, if the presidential
candidate is qualified, party pledges and state laws are permissable.

Q: What must an Elector be aware of when voting for a presidential candidate?:

 A: The following are important considerations when casting a vote. Voting
as instructed by a political party, another person, or a state law in
conflict with the US Constitution or Federal Election Laws is a serious
matter. Those not voting in accordance with higher laws are subject to
prosecution and may be guilty of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
High Crimes and Misdemeanors

UNITED STATES ELECTION LAW

“The following provisions of law governing Presidential Elections are contained in Chapter 1 of Title 3, United States Code (62 Stat. 672, as amended):”

“§ 8.   The electors shall vote for President and Vice President, respectively, in the manner directed by the Constitution.”

Are Electors required to vote according to Popular Vote?

“There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires
electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in
their States. Some States, however, require electors to cast their
votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two
categories—electors bound by State law and those bound by pledges
to political parties.”   (From US National Archives)

So called “Faithless Electors”

“It turns out there is no federal law that requires an elector to
vote according to their pledge (to their respective party). And so,
more than a few electors have cast their votes without following the
popular vote or their party. These electors are called “faithless
electors.”

In response to these faithless electors’ actions, several states
have created laws to enforce an elector’s pledge to his or her party
vote or the popular vote. Some states even go the extra step to
assess a misdemeanor charge and a fine to such actions. For example,
the state of North Carolina charges a fine of $10,000 to faithless
electors.

It’s important to note, that although these states have created these
laws, a large number of scholars believe that such state-level laws
hold no true bearing and would not survive constitutional challenge.”
Read more here

State Law Example: Pennsylvania

Ҥ 3192. Meeting of electors; duties.
The electors chosen, as aforesaid, shall assemble at the seat
of government of this Commonwealth, at 12 o’clock noon of the
day which is, or may be, directed by the Congress of the United
States, and shall then and there perform the duties enjoined upon
them by the Constitution and laws of the United States
.”

“The mysteries of the Electoral College has enabled Pennsylvania
to play an unusually major role in determining who is President.
In 1796, Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in Pennsylvania’s
popular election by only 62 votes, but the Pennsylvania electors
gave Jefferson 14 votes and Adams 1, though Adams did win the
Electoral vote, 71 to 68.” Read more here

Electors helped save the Union

1860 election: 4 electors in New Jersey, pledged for Stephen Douglas,
voted for Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln.

Q: What happens after the Electoral College vote?:

A: Electoral College procedures

Q: What is the significance of your vote?:

A: The US Constitution clearly gives the states the power
and duties associated with electing a qualified president.
It is also clear that the states have not performed their
duties to ensure that the Electoral College votes will be
for a Qualified candidate. The Electors have a constitutional
duty to perform that supersedes any party contract or state
law. Each day that passes without verification of eligibility
of any candidate being voted for by Electors, brings us closer
to a constitutional crisis. There are pending court cases before
the US Supreme Court and state courts. Congress will meet in
January to count and certify votes and there will certainly be
challenges in Congress. If Congress or the courts shall fail to
do their duty, a Supreme Court Justice will be faced with a
decision to uphold the Constitution. The crisis will increase
in intensity.

If anyone has any further questions they can be asked on this
blog or go to:

http://www.democratic-disaster.com/


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the
Citizen Wells blog. Every effort has been made to ensure the
accuracy of the content. Readers are encouraged to visit source
material such as the US Constitution, Federal Election law and
state laws.

2008 election, Obama not eligible, States have power to challenge, US Constitution, US Supreme Court, Federal Election Law, State laws, Secretary of State, Election Boards, Congress, Electoral College, Berg Donofrio Wrotnowski lawsuits, Hold accountable

The founding fathers set up guidelines for presidential elections and laid out the rules in the US
Constitution and subsequently Federal Election laws. There are two aspects that stand out about the
rules. First, the eligibility requirement for president is defined. But even more clear than
presidential eligibility, the powers given to the states are clearly defined. The states are given
control of the election process through the vote by the Electoral College Electors. The state
election laws vary widely and regardless of how explicit and detailed they are written, they all
fall under the guidelines and rules of the US Constitution. The ultimate objective is to elect a
qualified president. All laws and procedures must work to that end. The Electoral College Electors
are bound to uphold the US Constitution and therefore must only vote for a constitutionally
qualified candidate.

State laws have evolved out of tradition and indeed tradition drives many procedures and opinions
about allowing candidates on ballots and proceeding through the election process to being chosen
by Electoral College Electors. Allowing candidates to appear on ballots from instructions by major
political parties has evolved into many variations by state. The political parties are given no
special powers in the US Constitution. It is clear that each state has the full power and obligation
to ensure that a candidate running for president is qualified to hold office. To do otherwise
threatens to disenfranchise a myriad of voters. The citizens of each state expect state officers and
election officials to protect them and their votes.

It is clear that the states have been given the power to control the election process through the
Electors vote. Some states have recognized their power to challenge eligibility in state laws. It is also
clear in the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution, part of the Bill of
Rights, that any powers not reserved for the federal government or the states, are reserved for the
people. Any state taking the position, incorrectly, that they have no power to challenge the
credentials of a presidential candidate have relinquished that power to their citizens.

One thing is clear from the research I have done. There is much confusion and misunderstanding about
the election process and responsibilities. As stated above, tradition is a huge driving force. I have
reviewed the US Constitution, Federal Election law and many state election statutes. I have also read
legal opinions and writings from constitutional experts. Below are federal and state laws and the major
players who have responsibilities in governing elections, state officers and election officials, judges
and congressmen.

Read about the US Constitution, Federal Law and Electors

Laws applicable in NC

Examples of state laws that address the issue of challenging eligibility

North Carolina

NC Statute § 163-114.  Filling vacancies among party nominees occurring after nomination and before election.

“If any person nominated as a candidate of a political party for one of the offices listed below (either in a primary or convention or by virtue of having no opposition in a primary) dies, resigns, or for any reason becomes ineligible or disqualified before the date of the ensuing general election, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment according to the following instructions:
Position

President 

Vacancy is to be filled by appointment of national executive
committee of political party in which vacancy occurs”

Georgia

§ 21-2-5.  Qualifications of candidates for federal and state office; determination of qualifications
“(a) Every candidate for federal and state office who is certified by the state executive committee of a political party or who files a notice of candidacy shall meet the constitutional and statutory qualifications for holding the office being sought.

(b) The Secretary of State upon his or her own motion may challenge the qualifications of any candidate at any time prior to the election of such candidate. Within two weeks after the deadline for qualifying, any elector who is eligible to vote for a candidate may challenge the qualifications of the candidate by filing a written complaint with the Secretary of State giving the reasons why the elector believes the candidate is not qualified to seek and hold the public office for which he or she is offering. Upon his or her own motion or upon a challenge being filed, the Secretary of State shall notify the candidate in writing that his or her qualifications are being challenged and the reasons therefor and shall advise the candidate that he or she is requesting a hearing on the matter before an administrative law judge of the Office of State Administrative Hearings pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 13 of Title 50 and shall inform the candidate of the date, time, and place of the hearing when such information becomes available. The administrative law judge shall report his or her findings to the Secretary of State.”

Florida

102.168  Contest of election.–

“(1)  Except as provided in s. 102.171, the certification of election or nomination of any person to office, or of the result on any question submitted by referendum, may be contested in the circuit court by any unsuccessful candidate for such office or nomination thereto or by any elector qualified to vote in the election related to such candidacy, or by any taxpayer, respectively.”

Examples of ignorance, bias and tradition in positions of responsibility:

Connecticut Secretary of State
Susan Bysiewicz

“The court was satisfied that officials in Hawaii have stated that there is no doubt that the Democratic
presidential candidate was born there and that the state’s health department posseses Senator Obama’s
original birth certificate. This is now a matter of public record.”

What the Hawaii Health Officials said

Judge Surrick ruling on Philip J Berg case
Constitutional expert Ellis Washington responds:

“Constitutionally speaking, Judge Surrick’s reasoning is completely illogical and a total dereliction of his duty as a judge to substantively address this most vital constitutional controversy. Instead, in a gutless manner, Surrick dismissed Berg’s complaint 10 days before the elections on a technicality of standing, which to any rational person begs the question: If Philip J. Berg as an American citizen, a respected Democratic operative and former attorney general of Pennsylvania doesn’t have the “standing” to bring this type of lawsuit against Obama, then who in America does have standing? The good judge in all 34 pages of legal mumbo jumbo didn’t bother to answer this pivotal question.”

Read more

Senator Mel Martinez of Florida

The following is from a response from Senator Mel Martinez of Florida. Mr. Martinez clearly has no
understanding of the US Constitution  or election laws. The scary part is that Congress is part of the
last checks and balances during the election. Congress has the power to sertify the Electoral College
votes and challenge them.

“Thank you for contacting me regarding President-Elect Obama’s citizenship. I appreciate hearing from you and would like to respond to your concerns.

Like you, I believe that our federal government has the responsibility to make certain that the Constitution of the United States is not compromised. We must fight to uphold our Constitution through our courts and political processes.

Article II of the Constitution provides that “no Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.” The Constitution, however, does not specify how that qualification for office is to be enforced. As you may know, a voter recently raised this issue before a federal court in Pennsylvania. On October 24, 2008, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania released an order in the case of Berg v.Obama.In that case, the plaintiff, Phillip Berg, raised the same issue that your letter raises regarding proof of the President-Elect’s birthplace. Through his lawsuit, Mr. Berg sought to compel President-Elect Obama to produce a certified copy of his birth certificate.

The District Court dismissed Mr. Berg’s suit and held that the question of Obama’s citizenship is not a matter for a court to decide. The court further noted that voters, not courts, should decide whether a particular presidential candidate is qualified to hold office.

Presidential candidates are vetted by voters at least twice – first in the primary elections and again in the general election. President-Elect Obama won the Democratic Party’s nomination after one of the most fiercely contested presidential primaries in American history. And, he has now been duly elected by the majority of voters in the United States. Throughout both the primary and general election, concerns about Mr. Obama’s birthplace were raised. The voters have made clear their view that Mr. Obama meets the qualifications to hold the office of President.”

I contacted Senator Martinez’ office this morning and no one has responded. If Senator Martinez would like
to respond, we welcome that. If you are a citizen of the state of Florida you may want to contact Senator
Martinez and voice your concerns over his lack of knowledge. I am certain he is not the only member of
Congress to be informed.
What we have here is a failure to communicate and a real mess.

What can we do?

Continue to inform all of those involved in the election process of their legal duties and demand that
Barack Obama prove legally that he is eligible.

For those state officers, election officials, Electors, judges and congressmen that fail to do their
job and uphold the US Constitution, hold them accountable. State laws vary but their are usually remedies
available such as recall, impeachment and dismissal. Don’t forget, you have more power than is normally
recognized. The Tenth Amendment gives us plenty of power. Also, make sure you share information with
others and ask them to do the same.

God help us if the US Supreme Court fails us