« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
ALTERNATE METHODS OF REFORM Some people recognize the need for reform, but Minority party votes would not go uncounted as RETAIN PRESENT SYSTEM - ELIMIrecommend other proposals. Two of the more popular they are under the present system.
NATE ELECTORAL COLLEGE alternate reform proposals are: - The electoral vote would conform far, more
How It Would Work 1. The Proportional Method
closely to the actual popular volle than the pres2. Retain present system-eliminate electoral
- Person and office of elector eliminated.
- Each state would be entitled to cast for Presicollege - Individual electors and/or state legislatures
dent and Vice President a number of electoral woold no longer have the power to frustrate
votes cqual to the whole number of Senators and THE PROPORTIONAL METHOD
the will of the people.
Representatives to which such state is entitled - It would more accurately measure the overall in the Congress. (same as present system) How It Would Work popular strength of the various candidates by
- Each state's entire clectoral vote would be cast - Electoral college and the office of the elector ccasing to allot to any candidato a greater pro
for the candidate receiving a plurality of the would be eliminated, but the electoral vote pre- portion of each state's electoral vote than he
popular vote in that state. (same as present served. received of the popular vote in the state.
system) - Each state's electoral vote would be equivalent - The method would reduce the influence of or
If no candidate has a majority of the whole to the number of Representatives and Senators ganized minorities in pivotal states because their
number of electoral votes for President or Vice from that state. influence would be measured by their numbers
President, the House and Senate, sitting jointly - Each Presidential candidate would receive the
rather than by their bargaining power in swing
and voting as individuals, would choose the same proportion of the electoral vote as his share marginal states.
President from the top three candidates. Plurality of the state's popular vote, with fractional votes - Accidental circumstances and fraudulent voting of entire House and Senate would elect. Quorum carried out to three decimals.
or vote counting would be less likely to defeat would be three-fourths of whole membership. High nan rould win, provided that if no can
the choice of the people, because the entire (present system calls for House of Representa
clectoral vote of a state would no longer hinge tives only to choose in case no candidate redidate received at least 40 per cent of the clectoral vote nationwide, the new Senators and on a few questionable votes.
ceived a majority of clectoral votes) Representatives—sitting jointly and voting as It would broaden the base for the selection of
This method has had some Congressional support individuals would pick the President from the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates by in the past. In the First Session (1965) of the 89th tro candidates having the largest electoral vote. decreasing the incentive to nominate a man Congress, President Johnson proposed this system and A majority of the combined votes of the House from a large state
it has been introduced (S. J. Res. 58) in the Senate and Senate would be needed to elect. - It would not disturb the present system of grant- by Senator Bayh (D-Ind.), Chairman of the Senate
Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments. The Proportional Method was first proposed by Rep. ing to each state a number of electoral votes Levi Maish (Pa.) in 1877. Maish proposed that each
equal to the number of its Senators and Repre- tion of the Electoral College (i.e, the person and
President Johnson's proposal calls for the eliminastate's electoral votes be divided proportionately, but sentatives. founded off to whole numbers. Later in 1877, Rep.
the office of electors) and writing the present "winner
Sectionalism would tend to be abated. Jardan E. Cravens (Ark.) introduced a plan providing
take-all" system into the Constitution. for a proportional division of each state's clectoral
The state legislatures would no longer determine On January 29, 1965, President Johnson issued a
how electors are appointed. votes carried out to the third decimal place.
message to Congress on clectoral college reform, stat
The outmoded office of the elector, and the ing in part: The Proportional Method of dividing each state's electoral votes has been incorporated in over seventy
abuses which it invites, would be abolished, and "We believe that the people should clect their Presiamendments proposed since 1947. These resolutions
the people would feel they had a more direct dent and Vice President. One of the earliest amendinclude the Lodge-Gossett and the Daniel-Kelauver
voice in the choice of a President. At the same ments to our Constitution was submitted and ratiproposed amendments. These labels derive from the
time the federal principle would be preserved fied in response to the unhappy experience of an
insofar as each state would continue to have pares o legislators associated with the principal
Electoral College stalemate, which jeopardized this ponsorship of the Proportional Method. They are
ont electoral vote to correspond with cach of principle. Today, there lurks in the Electoral Col
its two senators former Senator Henry Cabot Lodge (R-Mass.—1937
lege system the ever-present possibility that electors 43; 1947-53), former Rep. Ed Gossett (D-Tex - - Minor parties would not be motivated to seek may substitute their own will for the will of the 1939-S1), former Senator Price Daniel (D-Tei.- electoral votes because they would still have
people belejve that possibility should be fore1953-56), and Senator Estes Kefauver (D-Tenn.- no hope of winning, and if a 40 per cent plural
closed. how deceased)
ity requirement is adopted, this would reduce Our present system of computing and awarding clecIn 1950, the U. S. Senate approved the Propor
the chance of the clection being thrown into
toral votes by states is an essential counterpart of tonal Method by a vote of 65-27, more than the
the House of Representatives
our Federal system and the provisions of our Con
stitution which recognize and maintain our Nation required two-thirds for proposed Constitutional Amendments. However, the House of Representatives
ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION TO
as a union of states It supports the two-party rejected the measure.
THE PROPORTIONAL METHOD
system which has served our Nation well". In the 88th Congress (1963-64), Senator Kefauver's
- It would still be possible for the electoral vote bill, Senate Joint Resolution 27, had the following
ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF RETAINING to elect a man who lost in the popular vote.
PRESENT SYSTEM WITH ELIMINATION co-sponsors, with senators listed as they appeared on
- The proportionate division of the electoral vote the Resolution:
OF ELECTORAL COLLEGE would encourage the splintering of political parThomas J. Dodd (D-Conn.); Thomas H. Kuchel
- This method would have the effect of ensuring
ties. (R-Calil.), Jennings Randolph (D-W.Va.); Leverett
that the electoral votes of each state would go Saltonstall (R-Mass.); John J. Sparkman (D-Ala);
Proportionate division of electoral votes would
to the Presidential candidate who received the
establish Claiborne Pell (D-RI.)
dangerous precedent for the intro
highest number of popular votes in cach state.
duction of proportional representation in the Companion measures were introduced in the House
It would remove one of the most "flagrant de
Congress and the legislative bodies of the several of Representatives.
fects" (possible errant electors) in the present
states In the First Session (1965) of the 89th Congress,
system without changing its essential nature, Senator Sparkman (D-Ala ), with co-sponsorship by
Proportional distribution of the electoral vote
- It would give constitutional backing to the genSenator Saltonstall (R-Mass.), introduced Senate Joint Resolution 7, and Senator Smathers (D-Fla.) intro
because it would be relatively easy for the minor
eral ticket system that is now in use. duced Senate Joint Resolution 28 proposing the Pro
ity parties to win clectoral votes,
- It would support the two-party system. portional Method of reform.
- It would retain the advantage that the small
ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION TO ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF THE
votes to each state for the two U. S. Senators,
RETAINING PRESENT SYSTEM WITH regardless of the population of the states.
ELIMINATION OF ELECTORAL COLLEGE PROPORTIONAL METHOD
Proportional division of the electoral vote as Opponents fall into two categories—those who - It is the nearest possible approach to electing a proposed would permit the clection of a Presi- insist that there should be no tampering what
President by direct popular vote of the people dent receiving merely a plurality of the electoral socvet with the present system, and those who and at the same time retaining and preserving
vote Present requirement calls for a majority agree that electors should be bound, but who the present relative strength of each state in the of the electoral vote.
feel that this would be only a half-way measure election of a President. - In a close election, with votes being challenged
which overlooks many other incquities in the - The opposition party would be encouraged in and recounted, the mathematics would be com
present system currently one-party states because each citizen's plicated, and the cloction might hang in doubt - It would "free ze" the present "winner-take-all" vote would have some effect on the total na- for weeks.
(ie, general ticket or unit vote) system with - Rather than adopt a complicated method that
all of its inequities and dangers into the Consti- It would more closely than the present system has almost the same effect as direct election, tution. (except for the "errant electora problem)
quate the power and importance of individual adoption of the simpler system of direct election - Il adopted, it would preclude meaningful revotes in the large and small states, would be more practicablc.
form for some time, if not permanently,
ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT
THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 1966
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to recess, at 10:18 a.m.,
in room G-308, New Senate Office Building, Senator Bayh presiding.
Present : Senators Bayh and Fong. Also present: Larry A. Conrad (counsel for the subcommittee) and Clyde Flynn (minority counsel).
Senator Bays. We are fortunate this morning to have with us a former Member of Congress who has devoted as many, if not more, hours of study to this than any other former Member of this body.
Mr. Gossett, I hope you will consent to the inclusion of a brief biographical résumé in the record at this time.
(The biographical résumé referred to follows:)
BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
AB degree 1924, LLB 1927 University of Texas; began practice of law in Vernon, Texas, as a member of the law firm of Berry, Stokes, Warlick and Gossett; served as District Attorney of 46th Judicial District of Texas 1932–1936; Member of Congress from 13th District of Texas 1939-1951; resigned from Congress July, 1951, to become General Attorney in Texas for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.
Past President of Dallas Bar Association ; past President of Dallas Council on World Affairs; Chairman, U.S. Savings Bonds Program for Texas; Trustee, Texas Bureau for Economic Understanding; member of House of Delegates of American Bar Association from Dallas County.
Senator Bayh. Mr. Gossett, we are glad to have you with us. We are looking forward to your statement this morning.
Mr. GOSSETT. Thank you, Mr. Senator. May I proceed?
STATEMENT OF ED GOSSETT, DALLAS, TEX., FORMER MEMBER OF
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Mr. GOSSETT. I am going to read my formal statement here. I will try not to burden the record with a lot of repetition. I
appreciate the privilege of appearing before the subcommittee. I appear in two capacities: first as vice chairman of a National Electoral Reform Committee; second as a former Congressman from Texas who was joint author with Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of the so-called Lodge-Gossett amendment. The Lodge-Gossett amendment passed the Senate on February 1, 1950, by a vote of 64 to 27.
The National Electoral Reform Committee of which I am currently vice chairman consists of the following persons, all of whom I believe are known to you:
Hon. Edwin C. Johnson of Colorado, chairman, former Member of the U.S. Senate.
Hon. Scott Lucas of Illinois, former Member of the U.S. Senate. Hon. Cecil Underwood of West Virginia, a former Governor.
Hon. Lane Dwinell of New Hampshire, a former Governor, and myself.
This committee has wide philosophical and geographical distribution. Three of its members are Democrats and two of its members are Republicans. We contend that electoral reform is a completely nonpartisan issue and should have the unqualified support of all Americans who believe in fair and honest elections based upon some semblence of equality of voting rights. The purpose of our committee was to promote electoral reform under article V of the U.S. Constitution through the device of State initiative.
We have temporarily dispelled activity, hoping that this subcommittee will, in due course, report out a satisfactory amendment. However, I would like to call the subcommittee's attention to the fact that with very little effort, without contacting even a majority of the States, we have procured the adoption of our so-called amendment resolution by 12 States, and you will note the distribution of these States: Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.
And I would like to read the resolution rather hurriedly here: Concurrent resolution petitioning the Congress of the United States to call a Convention for proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, unless Congress shall sooner have submitted such an amendment, to provide for the election of the President and Vice President in a manner fair and just to the People of the United States.
Whereas, under the Constitution of the United States Presidential and Vice Presidential Electors in the several states are now elected on a statewide basis, each state being entitled to as many electors as it has senators and representatives in Congress; and
Whereas, the Presidential and Vice Presidential Electors who receive the plurality of the popular vote in a particular state become entitled to cast the total number of electoral votes allocated to that state irrespective of how many votes may have been cast for other Elector candidates; and
Whereas, this method of electing the President and Vice President is unfair and unjust in that it does not reflect the minority votes cast; and
Whereas, the need for a change has been recognized by members of Congress on numerous occasions through the introduction of various proposals for amending the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That application is hereby made to Congress under Article V of the Constitution of the United States for the calling of a Convention to propose an Article of Amendment to the Constitution providing for a fair and just division of the electoral votes within the States in the election of the President and Vice President; and be it further
Resolved, That if and when Congress shall have proposed such an Article of Amendment this application for a Convention shall be deemed withdrawn and shall be no longer of any force effect; and be it further
Resolved, that the proper Officer of this State be and he hereby' is directed to transmit copies of this application to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, and to the several members of said bodies representing this State therein; also to transmit copies hereof to the Legislatures of all other States of the United States.
That is the resolution that has been adopted by 12 States. And I might mention that these resolutions were unanimous in several of the bodies of several of the legislatures and practically unanimous in all the States that passed the resolutions.
Senator Bayh. Over what timespan, please, sir?
Mr. GOSSETT. We started in 1963. Then we worked a little while and then we quit and started again last year and I do not know when we will resume operations. We have not dissolved. We are still at it.
Senator Bays. All right, thank you.
Mr. GOSSETT. Now, let me testify briefly as a former Congressman and as a private citizen deeply interested in this problem.
The inequities and absurdities of the electoral college are well known to all of you. Since 1948 numerous amendments have been introduced in both Houses of the Congress to change the electoral college. Voluminous hearings have been held on several occasions, particularly before this honorable subcommittee.
We all know that the electoral college has never worked at any time in any way as anticipated by the Founding Fathers. As far back as 1823, Thomas Hart Benton, Senator from Missouri, declared that:
Every reason which induced the Convention to institute Electors has failed. They are no longer of any use and may be dangerous to the liberties of the people,
The electoral college does great violence to the one-voter, one-vote philosophy so strongly proclaimed by the courts and the Congress in the last several years. The evils of which the courts and the Congress have been complaining fall into two classes: (1) deprivation of voting rights and (2) malapportionment of voting districts. These evils are of small consequence in comparison to the evils of the electoral college. Under the electoral college, not only are votes counted contrary to the way cast but the disparity of the value and weight of the votes of individuals under the present system is fantastic.
For example, a bulletin of the American Good Government Society released in 1962, predicated upon the 1960 presidential election, shows that in terms of electoral weight one vote in New York was worth 1,800 times as much as one vote in Alaska.
A few other items here and then I will not belabor the record with examples...
In the first Lincoln campaign, Stephen A. Douglas, while receiving 74 percent of Lincoln's popular vote, received only 623 percent of his electoral vote.
In the Cleveland-Blaine campaign in 1884, a change of 600 votes in the State of New York would have changed the electoral vote of New York and would have changed the result of the election.
In 1912, Woodrow Wilson with only 42 percent of the popular vote received 82 percent of the electoral vote. In that campaign, Mr. Wilson received one electoral vote for each 14,500 popular votes, while Mr. Taft got only one electoral vote for each 534,000 popular votes. Taft's electoral votes cost 31 times as much as did Wilson's in terms of popular votes.
In the 1924 campaign John W. Davis received 6 million popular votes for which no electoral votes were received.
In the 1944 campaign Governor Thomas E. Dewey received 2,663,484 votes in 10 States from which he received 62 electoral votes. While in