The Electoral College Is Allowed to Choose the Candidate Who Got the Most Popular Votes

There is no legal impediment to the Electoral College choosing Al Gore, the presidential candidate who received the most popular votes.

In the past 50 years, there have been 5 instances where Electors did not vote for the presidential candidate of the party which nominated them.

In 1956, when W. F. Turner, a Stevenson elector in alabama, voted for a local judge, Walter B. Jones.

In 1960, when Henry D. Irwin, a Nixon elector in Oklahoma, voted for Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia. Even though John F. Kennedy carried the state of Alabama 318,303 to 236,110 for Nixon and 6,083 for other candidates, 6 of Alabama's 11 electors voted for Harry F. Byrd. Also in the 1960 election, an unpledged slate of electors won in Mississippi 116,248 to Kennedy's 108,362 and Nixon's 73,561. Those electors voted for Harry F. Byrd. The coming chaos and struggle for civil rights in the south was clearly visible in the 1960 election results.

In 1968, when Lloyd W. Bailey, a Nixon elector in North Carolina, voted for Geroge C. Wallace, the American Independent Party candidate. Mr. Bailey voted for Wallace because Wallace, not Nixon, carried his congressional district.

In 1972, when Roger L. MacBride, a Nixon elector in Virginia, voted for John Hospers, the Libertarian Party candidate.

In 1976, when Mike Padden, a Ford Elector in the state of Washington, voted for former governor Ronald Reagan of California. (Reagan went on to become president in 1980.)

People complain that the electoral college is undemocratic. Maybe that is a good thing. The close Florida result is tainted by sloppy election practices in Palm Beach County. Should choosing a president, who has the power to destroy all life on the planet earth, be held hostage to the confusing election procedures of Palm Beach County? Is the fact that Buchanan received over 2,000 votes that everyone agrees were clearly intended for Al Gore be the deciding factor in a presidential race. Is this democracy?

There is no remedy under Florida state law for the problem in Palm Beach County. Furthermore, the cure would be worse than the disease if the courts get the power to overturn the results of an election. Talk about undemocratic.

The current stalemate can be solved with a little statemanship, something the American electorate has not seen in a long time. Leaders in the Republican and Democratic Parties have to decide whether the two party system stands for majority rule, or whether legal technicalities count more than the votes of 100,000,000 people.

The electors do not belong to George Bush, Al Gore, or to the Republican and Democratic Parties. They are elected officials of each state from which they come.

The American voters were presented with a difficult and unpalatable choice for president. They chose Al Gore by a narrow margin. Due to confusing voting procedures in Palm Beach County, the decision may be thrown back to the professional politicians who run the electoral system.

If George Bush becomes President, it will be the fourth time in American history that the loser in a presidential election moved into the White House. John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison also won the White House with less votes than the loser. They are three of the biggest nonentities who ever governed the country. John Quincy Adams was the son of President John Adams. Benjamin Harrison was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison. And George Bush is the son of President George Bush.

It is hard to believe that when the American voters went to the polls on November 7th, they intended to give the Democratic Party gains in the House and in the Senate, but to turn the government Republican in all three branches for the first time in 48 years by selecting the Republican candidate by less votes than the Democratic candidate.

The United States can survive one term with George W. Bush living in the White House. But it is going to be a disaster.

The electoral college can now do what it was intended to do. Elect the president of the United States desired by the people, when local shenanigans and mistakes threaten the democratic process. All it will take is a little leadership.

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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf