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View Diary: How to Repair the Voting System: Sec. Debra Bowen's Answer (302 comments)

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  •  The constitution (0+ / 0-)

    Under Article I Section 4 states that:

    The times, places, and manners of holding elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter any regulations, except as to the places of choosing Senators.
    This means that Congress can make laws that the states would have to respect for any election that has the election of members of Congress.

    Article II Section 1 states (concerning elections for President and Vice-President):

    The Congress may determine the time of choosing of the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.
    Unlike the Senate or House elections the Constitution does not provide for Congress to specify the manner nor places of voting for President or Vice-President.

    Perhaps an amendment would be useful to modify Article II Section 1 so it is consistent with Article I Section 4 and we could have at least uniform laws for all federal elections.

    The bigger issue would be elections that involve only state or local issues. That would come under the 10th Amendment.

    I think we would be all best served if the Constitution were to be amended to cover all elections throughout the United States, federal or otherwise. It would require States to voluntarily (at least 38 of them) to give up their 10th Amendment Right.

    There is nothing stopping Congress other than a Presidential veto or Supreme Court ruling from making laws to address the issues. States would either have to accept them or provide two separate voting systems and quite possibly two separate election days if the state did not want to conduct their elections under the same laws as the federal elections. And, of course, the states would be free to have the vote for President on their other system along with state, county, and local races and issues.

    •  that's helpful specificity (0+ / 0-)

      Elsewhere a few of us distinguished between federal and state/local elections, although we didn't further distinguish the presidential contest. Of course an awful lot of legislation and judicial precedent overlays the basic constitutional format.

      As a practical matter, I don't think we need a constitutional amendment to make huge legislative progress on these issues.

      Election protection: there's an app for that! -- and a toll-free hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
      Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

      by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 02:51:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think so either (0+ / 0-)

        The one concern would be however, is if you had an obstructionist movement within various states or a political party that stood firmly on 10th amendment grounds.

        The key difference is that while the federal courts and Congress have stepped into various aspects of voting and elections it concerns individual rights to vote that not devolve to the states under the 10th amendment whether it be the equal opportunity clause or the protection clause.

        But when you get into manner, places, and times of voting that is where the trouble starts.

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