Green Party takes on the Electoral College

The Green Party is weighing in on the historic debate over the merits of the Electoral College by filing suit in a US District Court. The Party claims that electing a president via apportionment of state electors effectively disenfranchises tens of thousands of voters (especially black voters in southern states) and may lead to electing a president without a majority or plurality of the votes.

The Party seeks relief by enforcing the 14th Amendment’s voter protections, and names Vice President Dick Cheney as a defendant.

Here are a couple of the Party’s arguments:

“If two thirds of the voters in a state vote for a candidate from Party A and one third vote for a candidate from Party B, and the state’s winner-take-all rule gives all of the state’s electors to Party A, then one third of the voters have been disenfranchised in violation of Amendment 14, Section 2 of the US Constitution,” said Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party. “We’ve witnessed in election after election how some states have used the winner-take-all formula to prevent the votes of political, ethnic, and other minorities from being counted.”

and,

“Americans don’t vote for President. Instead, we vote for an electoral college which was created in the late 1700s to expressly increase the power of the slave states—and which it is still doing,” said Mark Dunlea, an election law attorney with the Green Party of New York State.

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11 Responses to “Green Party takes on the Electoral College”

  1. citizen1 Says:

    This is frivolous. The electoral college is in the Constitution. It can’t be unconstitutional. The court cannot decide against it.

  2. Sivarticus Says:

    Aside from the First Amendment, the Greens have never showed much care for our Constitution. Their disdain for the electoral college and support for gun control, big government social and environmental programs proves this.

  3. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home[s] Says:

    citizen1 and Farticus,

    Did you know that the original United States Constitution allowed slavery and counted many African Americans as 3 /5 th of a person every ten years?

    Voting restricted to property owners!

    So, do you drive horse and buggies? Do you refuse air plane rides, modern meds, and digital communications?

  4. drifter Says:

    what does need to be changed is the winner takes all. I hate that.

    what bugs me is in MI for example. the VAST majority of people all live in metro detroit even thought they are a very small geographic area compared to the state. They always vote what is good for them and screw the rest of the state. We all have completely different areas but we are all lumped together in all this national politics and things like the governor

  5. Sivarticus Says:

    Yes, even proportional representation of the Electoral College would be an acceptable change. I’m not opposed to altering the Constitution, within reasonable limits. But said alterations certainly don’t need to be coming from disrespectful lefties like the Greens, who seem to just be lapdogs for socialists and black nationalists these days anyway.

  6. Green in Brooklyn Says:

    Actually, this suit is less about eliminating the electoral college than about voter disenfranchisement. Article 2 of the 24th Amendment (I’m paraphrasing) says that states that do not count make sure that all votes are counted can have their electors reduced. Greens here are trying to make sure that states like Florida and Ohio that have been guilty of voter disenfranchisement recently are penalized accordingly.

    From the Green Party press release:

    The civil action seeks enforcement of the ‘Mal-Apportionment Penalty’ provided in Section 2 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which mandates a reduction of a state’s presidential electors and congressional representatives if “the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States… is denied… or in any way abridged.”

    The action seeks relief against the defendant, Vice President Cheney, who will preside over the tabulation of “unbound electoral states” on January 6, 2009, challenging the recognition of Electoral College votes that are apportioned by states on a winner-take-all basis.

    Comments above are typical right-wing reactionary response I’d expect from the Neocons.

  7. citizen1 Says:

    Veteans Home,

    I did not say that the Constitution cannot be ammended or should never be amended. The point is that the amendment process is the correct proceedure for this change not the courts. The courts are supposed to uphold the Constitution as currently writen and amended.

  8. troy Says:

    WRONG the courts interpet the constitution, its not written literally on purpose, and they use their logic, current day affairs, to strech or squeeze it and define what it means. it was written vaguely on purpose so it could be fluid and relevant today. even if they never even conceived of interacial marriage, abortion, AK47 bans, and medical marijuana (actually they had cannabis based elixors but i mean the contemporary states rights issue)

  9. susan Says:

    To make every vote in every state politically relevant and equal in presidential elections, support the National Popular Vote bill.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that needs to be changed in order to have a national popular vote for President. The winner-take-all rule (awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who gets the most votes inside the state) is not in the U.S. Constitution. It is strictly a matter of state law. The winner-take-all rule was not the choice of the Founding Fathers, as indicated by the fact that the winner-take-all rule was used by only 3 states in the nation’s first presidential election in 1789. The fact that Maine and Nebraska currently award electoral votes by congressional district is another reminder that the Constitution left the matter of awarding electoral votes to the states. All the U.S. Constitution says is “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.” The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the states over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as “plenary” and “exclusive.” A federal constitutional amendment is not needed to change state laws.

    The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 21 legislative chambers (one house in CO, AR, ME, NC, and WA, and two houses in MD, IL, HI, CA, MA, NJ, RI, and VT). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

    see http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  10. Sobriquet Says:

    It would be nice—really, really nice—if the electoral college went bye-bye. It’s an obsolescent institution.

  11. Kevin Chavis Says:

    I hope the Electoral College IS done away with. But Instant Runoff Voting can also help.

    Not sure why Greens are being called “disrespectful lefties.” I consider myself an independent Green, and believe in fiscal responsibility more than those in any other party. Take a look at how even Libertarians worked on the budget at http://minnesota.publicradio.org/projects/2008/05/budget_hero/

    Now compare that to how I did on my blog. Quite different. I balanced the budget past 2070. I did this even WITH Single-payer Universal Health-care.

    Jesse Johnson is a gun owner, and ran for President in our party. And he’s not ashamed to admit owning one – he mentioned it on-stage at the convention even. No one in the Greens made a big deal about it.

    But I guess if someone who care about future generations of humanity and the environment is a leftist, then I suppose that is what we Greens are.

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