×

Nation must take stand on illegal votes

Issues regarding the 2020 presidential election have begun to work their way through courts.

Some issues are constitutional issues, so it’s time to review constitutional provisions that may come to the fore.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution provides: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature may direct, a Number of Electors … .”

In other words, the power to appoint electors belongs to state legislators. Not governors. Not other executive-branch officials. Not judges of states’ highest courts. Not lower-court judges.

This may be especially to the chagrin of those executive-branch officials or activist judges who have grown accustomed to usurping legislative powers.

But that’s too bad. This power belongs to state legislators.

That doesn’t mean state legislators may do whatever they like. Under Clause 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment, no state may “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

When a constitutional challenge regarding presidential-election votes reached the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore in 2000, the parties raised both Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 and the equal-protection clause. The court, however, addressed only the equal-protection clause.

In reading the following passages from Bush v. Gore, please keep in mind that positive references to voting, voters, and votes are to legal voting, legal voters, and legal votes.

The law, including the Constitution, protects voting and votes only when they’re legal. To put it another way, illegal “votes” aren’t really votes. They must not count. Illegal “voters” and those who facilitate illegal “voting” violate the law. Merely recounting illegal “votes” will not do.

With that in mind, please see for yourself, gentle reader, and stay tuned:

“The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint members of the electoral college. … (T)he state legislature’s power to select the manner for appointing electors is plenary; it may, if it so chooses, select the electors itself, which indeed was the manner used by state legislatures in several States for many years after the framing of our Constitution.

History has now favored the voter, and in each of the several States the citizens themselves vote for Presidential electors. When the state legislature vests the right to vote for President in its people, the right to vote as the legislature has prescribed is fundamental; and one source of its fundamental nature lies in the equal weight accorded to each vote and the equal dignity owed to each voter. …

“The right to vote is protected in more than the initial allocation of the franchise. Equal protection applies as well to the manner of its exercise. Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of another. It must be remembered that ‘the right of suffrage can be denied by a debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen’s vote just as effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise of the franchise.’ …

“An early case in our one-person, one-vote jurisprudence arose when a State accorded arbitrary and disparate treatment to voters in its different counties. The Court found a constitutional violation. We relied on these principles in the context of the Presidential selection process … where we invalidated a county-based procedure that diluted the influence of citizens in larger counties in the nominating process. There we observed that ‘(t)he idea that one group can be granted greater voting strength than another is hostile to the one man, one vote basis of our representative government.’ …

“None are more conscious of the vital limits on judicial authority than are the Members of this Court, and none stand more in admiration of the Constitution’s design to leave the selection of the President to the people, through their legislatures, and to the political sphere.

When contending parties invoke the process of the courts, however, it becomes our unsought responsibility to resolve the federal and constitutional issues the judicial system has been forced to confront.”

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
   

COMMENTS

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today