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To elect the best man

November 16, 2012
The Daily News


Personally I am relieved the election is over. I'm tired of the lengthly campaign, sick of all the election posters and advertising and appalled at the amount of money expended on behalf of the candidates.

And it will not get better in the future. In fact, prior to the next election candidates in both parties vying for the nominations, it will likely be worse.

I have heard calls to eliminate the Electoral College but I believe we would be well off to return to the electoral process as established by the fathers of our country. Most people are probably not aware that in addition to the legislative checks and balances, the founding fathers also built the following system of checks and balances into the electoral process as follows:

The federal government consists of four separate parts: The Supreme Court, the president, the Senate and House of Representatives. All four achieved their offices in different ways. The Supreme Court was, and still is, appointed by the president. The House of Representatives, representatives of the people in their districts were elected, and still are, by popular vote of the people in their districts.

The senators were to represent their states and were elected by their state legislatures. That was changed with the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1917.

The Electoral College elected the president as follows: Each state chose a number of electors (the Electoral College) equal to the number of that state's senators and representatives.

Those electors could not be office holders or government employees. On the designated day, the electors from each state met in their state capitols, all on the same day. Each elector in each state secretly submitted two names for the presidency.

An elector would have no way of knowing what names other electors were submitting in his or any other state. The ballots in each state were then sent to the seat of the federal government. The elector's job was then completed.

On the day of the presidential election, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, the electors' ballots from each state were opened and the totals tallied.

If one person received a majority of the votes, not a plurality, he became the president.

If no one received a majority of the votes, then the House of Representatives would chose the president from the five people who had received the highest number of nominations by the electors.

Each state delegation in the House would case one vote. This went on until one candidate received a majority of the votes, again not a plurality. That person became the president. The person with the second most votes at that point became the vice president.

The two could be from different parties.

In this way there were no lengthly campaigns or political parties involved and money and special interests played no part in the process. The goal was to elect the best man.

This began to change with the adoption of the 12th Amendment in 1804 and gradually the political parties have gained complete control of the process.

If only we could go back.

Dr. John P Dougoveto

Breitung Township



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