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02 November 2020

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ked

Col, Trump got elected, so anything is possible.
Our States, large & small, spread across the continent have changed over the decades (Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, N Carolina... I understand even the Old Dominion is now too). When I was much younger the Constitution was a sacred permanence to me. Now it’s a fine, flawed social contract committed to words overdue for serious renegotiation.
I’m all for buffering the passion of popular urges. There are undoubtedly a variety of techniques worth considering - it isn’t only “EC vs the Mob!” or “Senatorial Wisdom or Stupid Citizenry”.
Jefferson’s appeal for a revolution every generation must apply regarding our style of selecting for national office as well as for other aspects of self-government.
I hope the present turmoil leads to fundamental re-consideration of many aspects of our governing architecture. It may prove to be a safety valve for popular passion ... and keep our Experiment going for a few more years. After all, while the Constitution may have been inspired by the Creator, it was crafted by people of a certain time & place. Time & people pass, things change - there are no exceptions.

turcopolier

ked

What is the mechanism for the change you want, armed revolution?

JerseyJeffersonian

Ked,

Sorry, not credible. The Constitution is amendable, and even can be recast through a Constitutional Convention.

It's all laid out in the document, but you want to jump right over that, and subvert the fundamental, foundational agreement that is still in effect in order to pull an end run. Your sort do not possess the votes to amend the Constitution in ways that you want to see, far less to convene a Constitutional Convention, so why not just arrogate the power to undermine the whole thing?

Refuse to accept the result of the last Presidential election, using your embedded operatives to deny a transition of executive power, frame up President Trump's chosen personnel (Gen. Flynn, anyone?), and ultimately President Trump himself in that ludicrous impeachment.

Then, the plan to pack the Supreme Court (echoes of the petulant FDR who couldn't get HIS way). Back to the old "living document" rationalization, are we? Well, past a point, the document will have to be officially declared dead due to vivisection carried to fatal extremes. Just another power grab, sport, so transparent, so grossly disrespectful as to be an insult.

The modus operandi is that of tyranny. It's not flying.

In the off chance that the corrupt, senile Biden is elected, with Kamala Harris, Pol Pot in a pantsuit, waiting in the wings to assume power through invocation of the 25th Amendment, there will be genuine trouble, and not just the cooked-up antifa and Burn/Loot/Murder garbage of this year.

Leith

I'm happy with states running both their own local elections, and the federal elections. Why would anybody, either Democraic or Republican or any third party, want to change that? Malfeasance at state level? If it was changed what would prevent malfeasance at the federal level?

In my lifetime there have been more half a dozen presidential elections that were not yet known for certain who won by 2400 hours on election day. Most famous was the 1948 Truman-Dewey race. Trump seems to think we can do better timewise in the age of computers. Maybe so. But there are many, myself included, who trust a human count more than a machine count, which is too vulnerable to algorithm diddling, outright GIGO cheating, software glitches, hardware malfunction, et al.

Regarding mail-in ballots, most if not all states allow mail-in ballots to be counted after election day. Why would we want to change that? I would worry more about faithless electors than I would about mail-in ballots. Only about half of the 50 states have laws that bind the electors to cast their electoral vote for the state's popular vote winner. There were seven faithless electors in 2016. None of those was enough to change the results. But in a tight race, could it happen? Maybe to throw the race into the case where neither candidate gets a majority of 270?

Deap

Tomorrow will be great news, if Trump wins.

And it will be massive buyer's remorse if Biden wins. Imagine the embarrassment Democrats face if they now have to own up to the Biden-Harris ticket - their two intentional and wholly unlikable closet dwellers, who would finally have to come out for full public scrutiny. If they break it, they now own it.

I can sleep well tonight after all - we win both ways. And they can't do too much damage in their allotted two years, before the 2020 backlash ties the President Harris freak show into tiny little knots.

Harris will have both the GOP and the Democrat old guard working against her. She would be a lame duck on day one. The world will finally see the deep state in all its full horror trying to devour all of us..

If this nation actually wants Biden-Harris and a Democrat Congress, then that train has already left the station .... and I am not on it. Wash my hands completely and thankful for my America of the past; have no interest in their America of the future. I also promise to die under $3.5 million.

I'll still have a good next 10 years, win lose or draw. And they are stuck with Biden-Harris for at least four of them. Sweet revenge. When an entire campaign is "anti-Trump", the opposition hasn't a clue who they chose to go to bed with. Even beer goggles cannot cure their morning after shock waking up to Biden-Harris. I gloat.

ked

No sir, armed revolution is the very last resort I can imagine. I am not nearly so wise as to craft the path ahead. And we have had such mediocre national leadership in our time I would hope we can get away from depending on a hero-savior to solve our dilemmas d’jour.
Call me an idealist ... perhaps a mid-level group of responsible authorities from across institutions could evaluate & present alternatives. State governors acting in concert might ignite a movement with some actual power within. {I wouldn’t depend upon the 3 Branches to light the fire, for obvious reasons} The weaknesses of our political parties bodes well for timing - they are ripe for reformation. If together they faded to the dustbin of American history no one would care besides the insider pols. I’d like to see younger generations included, but I’m not clear how... perhaps from among those many who have mustered out of our services? So, maybe there’s hope along these lines... a confluence of drive in one key arena, weakness in another and after a fatiguing pandemic experience an openness to anything promising... anything but violent insurrection. We aren’t at the last stand - not yet.

Walrus

Ked: "After all, while the Constitution may have been inspired by the Creator, it was crafted by people of a certain time & place. Time & people pass, things change - there are no exceptions."

I agree with you Ked; todays citizens are dumb as rocks....

What's that? You believe in the doctrine of "progress", believing the kids today are smarter than their great grand parents and that the Constitution is therefore flawed by todays objective, better, standards?

Care to produce evidence?

English Outsider


Colonel - I have long thought that if the UK is to hold together without undue stress then a weighting system similar to that used for the US Senate is needed. Otherwise Scotland, for instance, gets swamped in the mass of English votes and doesn't get much say.

There's a de facto adjustment to that end in that the number of voters in, say, a Welsh constituency is on average far smaller than the number in an English constituency but that doesn't really do the job.

But what about the Presidency? The fiction that the English Monarch is a true Head of State equivalent to a US Head of State is a very handy fiction. It hives off ceremonial functions to a non-political figure and provides an easier focus of loyalty for the armed forces and civil service than a necessarily partisan Head of State. But in practice the political and constitutional significance of the Monarchy is nil except in extreme circumstances; and when those extremes are tested, as in the Australian constitutional crisis, it's fairly obvious that Her Majesty acts in accordance with the politicians' wishes rather than the other way round. She is merely another lever for the politicians to pull and that goes mostly for her Privy Council as well.

So our equivalent of the President is in practice the Prime Minister. Since our "separation of powers" is now in practice getting on for non-existent that Prime Minister is not merely the equivalent in UK terms of the President but has considerably more power!

That, incidentally, being at the root of many English misconceptions about Trump. There are things, important things, he can't do, and pressures to which he is subject, that don't exist for a Johnson. In his second term he will be, it is true, safe from deposition as Johnson is not - unless the impeachment nonsense gets further than it has so far. But while he is relatively safe to stay in power he can do a lot less with that power in the US then can Johnson in the UK. In absolute terms he can do more, of course, but that is merely because the US is more powerful than the UK. In relative terms he can do far less.

That aside, there is little "weighting" possible when we in the UK elect our "President". The Scots are indeed swamped by the English and that must account for the dissatisfaction so many in Scotland feel. They have the limited autonomy afforded by their separate Parliament but in many important respects they are more appendages to a UK over which they have little control.

Is this not also the case in the States? The weighting when it comes to Presidential elections scarcely works. Wyoming is swamped by California too. Flyover country is swamped by the coastal regions. Given that the fissiparous tendencies in the US seem to be approaching those seen in the UK, and even allowing for the fact that the weighting in the Senate is more satisfactory, it doesn't look as if present constitutional arrangements in the US will serve their purpose, even if my cheerful though uninformed prediction of a Trump victory proves correct.

I have come to see the election the results of which we are even now awaiting, Colonel, as a battle for the soul of America. But of what use is victory in such a battle when there are, as in the UK, more different souls in a country than a country can contain.

Fred

ked,

"Time & people pass, things change - there are no exceptions."

Thus Trump was elected and the "resistance" to a peaceful tranfer of power born. We're seeing a repeat now with the AG of Pennsylvania opening saying he'll help rig the election rather than allow Trump to win again.

turcopolier

EO

The House of Representatives is weighted by population not the senate which is deliberately NOT weighted.

turcopolier

ked

So, the black letter law of the constitution means nothing to you. You are incredibly naive. Good luck.

English Outsider


I think then I was using the term "weighted" wrong, Colonel. I should have checked the term first. I was using it in the sense of giving a UK electoral unit or US State more influence than is warranted by the size of the electorate. In that sense and as I understand it the House is not "weighted", the Senate very much is, and the Presidential election is to a smaller degree.

All that to one side, I'm still hoping that your "lesser of two weevils" makes it. If by some unfortunate turn of events he doesn't then you'll just have to send him over here to sort the UK out.

But if it's Burisma Biden who loses then on no account, please, send that one over here. We're plentifully supplied with that sort anyway.

Fred

"perhaps a mid-level group of responsible authorities from across institutions could evaluate & present alternatives."

That's Yates, Comey, Brennan, and all the others. The rest sounds like all the other lefty resistance revolution preaching of the past 4 years. Good luck.

Leith

What is Trump's opinion on military mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania sent in from overseas? Shouldn't they be counted?

By the way. It is a sweep in Dixville Notch for Biden. Last time their was a sweep there was 60 years ago. A portent for the rest of the day perhaps?

Deap

Keep in mind voters have always been "dumb as rocks", which is exactly why the Founders put into the US Constitution so many roadblocks against rule by the mob (aka pure democracy), even back then.

Plus, waking up and having to live with the results until the next game-changer election - within the next two years that can change the shape of Congress, is just one more speed bump. The Republic is safe.

turcopolier

EO

Sorry, but you seem to have continued to have missed the fact that this is not one country in the sense that France is. It is a federation of many still autonomous countries of different sizes that share sovereignty with the federal government and the people. I would rather see the federation dissolved then to live under New York Florida, and California rule.

Deap

Waking up and living with the 2016 Trump election, also attributed by the media to voters who were "dumb as rocks" (the deplorables), turned out to be a very welcome surprise even for many former No-Trumpers.

RedState "sister" says this best, and unapologetically; me too: https://redstate.com/sister-toldjah/2020/11/03/how-i-went-from-being-staunchly-never-trump-to-being-unapologetically-pro-trump-n274233

turcopolier

Leith

Those are "absentee ballots" for which there are long established verification procedures. He has no problem with absentee ballots. What you Democrats want everywhere are unverified and easily counted fraudulent "mail-in" ballots..

AK

Deap,

I admire your optimism. My question to you is: Do you think the perpetrators of all of our recent mayhem will not react in similar fashion in two years, should the backlash against Harris/Biden come (which it surely will, as you say)? Do you think the sell-out media/tech complex will accept this backlash on the part of us patriotic Deplorables, once they have re-grasped the reins of power? As they see it, they made the mistake in 2016 of trusting their own control of the legitimate, constitutional system to keep them in power. They will not trust the system or the American people ever again. They will do everything they can, constitutionality or legality be damned, to remain in power once they have recaptured it.

Unfortunately, these people are not going anywhere and this year has set in motion a precedent for acceptable political violence in our society that will only grow in a series of escalating cataclysms over the coming years, until one side or the other is rendered incapacitated by the violence. The Left will not come to its own senses and learn its own lessons, and they will surely not respond to defeats at the ballot box (they don't accept elections as legitimate in the first place), so it will be necessary to teach them these lessons or capitulate to them. I am reminded at this time of the saga of the Gracchi brothers in republican Rome. Their political ambitions and subsequent elite resistance to them set in motion a cycle of norm-breaking and violence in Roman politics that ultimately led to the fall of the republic. It took some 100 years or so for this process to reach its fruition, but it happened. I feel we are at the beginning of such a process now.

This saddens me greatly, because I am only 40 and a very fit 40 with good genes as a foundation. I've got a lot of time left. More importantly, I've got a four-year old son who is going to grow up in this madness. Needless to say, my work is cut out for me.

Fred

Leith,

"military mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania sent in from overseas"
How many total votes will that be?
Dixville Notch, A portent for the rest of the day perhaps? Yes, they went for Hilary in 2016 - only she got more votes then than Biden did now.

j. casey

Say Biden wins, which seems likely to me, and then he resigns either for health reasons or because of a Chinagate takedown. Harris becomes president. She could pick HRC as her VP, via the 25th Amendment, no? If that's the case, it's entirely possible we could have President Harris and VP HRC this time next year?

turcopolier

j.casey

IMO the dems would have to wait until after inauguration to make their move.

smoke

Leith -

It seems you must understand that the actual counting of votes beyond election day is not in dispute.

The questions arise around receipt date for absentees. How long beyond election day does a state keep the polls open for absentees? Several states and D.C. have extended that period for this particular election. All require a postmark on or before election day.

As for Pennsylvania, can you not imagine that requiring no postmark and no signature match on ballots received after election day is a wide open invitation to partisan ballot stuffing to fill any shortfall for a desired outcome?

Of course, postmarks could be counterfeited too. It would require a little more preparation than no postmark ballots.

Electoral shenanigans are standard in most elections, one assumes. With computers counting most votes now, hacking the count invisibly has become another option for those who would subvert the process. The challenge has always been to throw up obstacles to minimize and to reveal such interference. Not to leave an obvious door wide open.

In Colorado, which has been conducting mail voting for several years, the requirement that all ballots be received by 7pm of election day seems reasonable. Most voters receive their ballots more than three weeks in advance of election day. Many return them by walking them in to central dropoff locations (like the courthouse). Many simply mail them back. If they cannot return via US Postal Service by election day, then maybe USPS is in need of reform.

scott s.

I have long had an interest in election mechanics, mainly in the early history of the US but have never found anything from historians nor political scientists.

In the early elections several states' legislatures appointed the electors by vote. AFAICT, it was a joint vote of both chambers (in bicameral legislatures). This practice continued but was generally phased-out except in South Carolina until after the ACW. In 1876 as part of a bargain the Republican-controlled US Congress agreed to admit Colorado to the union with the proviso that the territorial legislature (also controlled by Republicans) would appoint the electors for the 1876 election.

After charges of fraud in the 1840 and moreso in the 1844 presidential election Congress passed the law mandating a uniform day in Nov for the popular vote (generally called a "canvass" in those days). The day was picked based on the timing for the South Carolina legislature's session so they could vote on that day as well.

Most states' legislatures created an entity styled as a "canvassing board" to oversee the canvass and present results for "certification" as well as the list of electors, which seems to have been uniformly developed by the parties. (Keep in mind in the 1800s parties created ballots which were then distributed at large for voters to submit. I don't know if it was the practice to name the electors in the ballots.)

In the disputed election of 1876, one of the issues was that South Carolina had a political upheaval of the reconstruction government and as a result there were two different canvassing boards each of which generated its own list of electors. Florida had an even more convoluted count/vote (so nothing is new there). The Florida vote wasn't decided until Dec 5, the day before electors were to meet. There was also a dispute whether two electors "[held] an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States".

At the end of the day, the Congress determines the validity of the electoral vote. On Feb 1, 1877 when Congress met to receive the state-certified electoral vote, there were three different sets of electoral votes from Florida. (With respect to timing, in the 1800s the regular session of Congress convened on the first Monday in December, so Congress's session began the day before the electoral vote was taken. The session would continue until the end of terms in March. The new Senate would typically meet for a few days in special session in March after presidential inauguration to confirm appointees.)

The joint rules of the house and senate determine how challenges to the electoral vote are made/heard. If the votes of any state are nullified, the prospect is no person named would have a majority and the election would go to the House, voting as states (so 26 votes needed to elect).

In 1877 each house of congress created committees to determine challenges to electoral votes. The House committee, controlled by Democrats, proposed an extra-constitutional tribunal composed of five supreme court justices would adjudicate. The Senate countered with a proposal for a tribunal that would have representation from both House and Senate while retaining the 5 supremes. Ultimately Congress created an electoral commission by law (under the "necessary and proper" constitutional provision) and signed by President Grant on Jan 29.

In the 1890s states adopted the "Australian ballot". This was presented as a reform, where parties would harvest votes by distributing their party ballots and overseeing that "their" voters did in fact submit them at the polls. The Australian ballot required states to create their own ballots (thus determining who could actually receive votes) and also required that voters would give their vote in secret on election day (so the idea of a secret vote is not something written on stone, but a relatively modern innovation).

As far as counting mail-in vote, in Hawaii this is the first all mail-in general election. All mail-in has previously been used for special and primary elections, and per a Hawaii Supreme Court decision last year, all ballots must be in the hands of the county clerk by close of polls (7 PM today). So the county clerk will physically pick up the last ballots at the post office at 7 PM. In Hawaii the county clerk is responsible for validating the signature on the ballot envelope against the poll list and sorting the unopened ballots by precinct. The ballots are then forwarded to the state Office of Elections which tabulates the results.

turcopolier

scotts

"At the end of the day, the Congress determines the validity of the electoral vote." No. The archivist of the US and the president of the senate receive and record the results certified by the states.

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