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					The Presidency

Choosing the President
Electing the President
       •   President and Vice-President are not
           directly elected by voters in the United
       •   There is no national election
       •   The Electoral College
       •   States determine how to choose
           electors for their state
       •   How does this work?
       •   How is it supposed to work?
             What Voters See
                         PotUS + VPotUS

                         General Election

  PotUS                                              PotUS
                    VPotUS               VPotUS
 Candidate         candidate            Candidate

Primary Election                               Primary Election

                               What Actually Happens

PotUS/VPotUS                                                                          PotUS/VPotUS
 Candidates                                                                            Candidates
                                      Electoral College
National                                                                                       National
                        Electors                                     Electors
             (Party Candidates for Electoral College)     (Party Candidates for Electoral College)

           State                                                                      State
 Party Org                              General Election                                    Party Org

   Primary Election                                                       Primary Election

  The Electoral College: Then & Now
• Each State shall appoint a number of electors
   – in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct
       • States may choose how electors are chosen
           – Direct election of individual electors
           – Direct election of ―slates‖
                » The current preferred method in 48 states (including Texas)
           – Modified direct election (Maine & Nebraska)
                » By congressional district
                » At large slate of two
           – Appointment by state legislature
                » The originally preferred method by at least 25% of states
           – Appointment by executive authority
   – Equal to congressional representation
       • Both House and Senate
• Congress may determine the Time of choosing electors
   – and the Day the electors Vote
   – Day the same throughout the United States
 The Original Mode of Presidential
       Election: 1787-1803
• Electors meet in their respective states
  – Cast two ballots for President
  – One ballot must be for a person who lives in a
    different state from the Elector
• Counting electors‘ ballots
  – If the most votes= 50%+1
     • Highest # votes=President
     • 2nd highest # votes= Vice President
  – If more than one receives a majority
     • House of Reps chooses President from the top 5
     • House members must vote as states
         – Each delegation= 1 vote
       The Elections of 1788-1800
• 1788 (term begins 1789)
     – Most votes: Geo. Washington
         • non-partisan
     – 2nd most: John Adams
        • Federalist Society
•   1792 (term begins 1793)
     – Most votes: Geo. Washington
     – 2nd most: John Adams
• 1796 (term begins 1797)
     – Most votes: John Adams
         • Federalist Society
     – 2nd most: Thomas Jefferson
        • Anti-Federalist
•   1800 (term begins 1801)
     – Most votes: Thomas Jefferson
         • Anti-Federalist
     – Most votes: Aaron Burr
         • Democratic-Republican
     – Decision made by the House of Representatives
                     Amendment XII
• Electors meet in their respective states
    – Cast two ballots
        • One for President
        • One for Vice President
    – One ballot must be for a person who lives in a different state from the
• Counting electors‘ ballots
    – If the most votes for President = 50%+1
        • Highest # votes=President
    – If the most votes for Vice President = 50%+1
        • Highest # votes= Vice President
    – If no one receives a majority for President
        • House of Reps chooses President from the top 3
        • House members must vote as states
             – Each delegation= 1 vote
    – If no one receives a majority for Vice President
        • Senate chooses Vice President from the top 3
                    The Election of 1824
•   Presidential Candidates                   •     Vice Presidential Candidates
     – Andrew Jackson                                –   John C. Calhoun
         • Democratic-Republican from TN                   • Democratic-Republican from SC
     – William Crawford                              –   Nathan Sanford
                                                           • Democratic-Republican from NY
         • Democratic-Republican from GA             –   Nathaniel Macon
     – John Q. Adams                                       • Democratic Republican from NC
         • Democratic Republican from MA             –   Andrew Jackson
     – Henry Clay                                          • Democratic-Republican from TN
                                                     –   Martin van Buren
         • Democratic-Republican from KY                   • Democratic-Republican from NY
•   Electoral College Results                        –   Henry Clay
     – Jackson                                             • Democratic-Republican from KY
         • 99 votes                           •     Electoral College Results
     – JQ Adams                                      –   Calhoun
                                                           • 182 votes
         • 84 votes                                  –   Sanford
     – Crawford                                            • 30 votes
         • 41 votes                                  –   Macon
     – Clay                                                • 24 votes
                                                     –   Jackson
         • 37 votes                                        • 13 votes
•   No candidate carried a majority                  –   Van Buren
     – Decision ‗thrown‘ to US HR                          • 9 votes
                                                     –   Clay
         • US HR Split between Jackson & Crawford          • 2 votes
         • Crawford suffers stroke
         • US HR chooses JQ Adams
                          The Election of 1876
•   Presidential Candidates
     –   Rutherford B. Hayes
           •   Republican from OH
     –   Samuel J. Tilden
           •   Democrat from NY
     –   Peter Cooper
           •   Greenback Labor Party from NY
     –   Green Clay Smith
           •   Prohibition Party from KY and MT Terr.
     –   James A. Walker
           •   American Party from VA
•   Electoral College Ballots
     –   Hayes: 185
     –   Tilden: 184
     –   All others: 0
•   The Controversy:
     –   Most states chose popular elections for electoral slates
         by 1876 (CO excepted)
     –   One Oregon elector disqualified (held federal office)
     –   Tilden receives 51% of the ‗popular vote‘
     –   Democrats claim fraud in FL, LA, OR, SC
     –   Congress appoints electoral commission to investigate
                    The Election of 1888
• Presidential Candidates
   –   Benjamin Harrison: Republican from IN
   –   Grover Cleveland: Democrat from NY
   –   Clinton B. Fisk: Prohibition Party
   –   Alson J. Streeter: Union Labor Party
• Electoral College Ballots
   – Harrison: 233 Votes
   – Cleveland: 168 votes
   – All others: 0 votes
• The Controversy
   – Most states chose popular elections for electoral slates
   – Total “popular” votes:
       • Harrison: 5,443,892
       • Cleveland: 5,534,488
   – Questionable tactics
       • “Blocks of Five”
             – William Wade Dudley of IN advises ―trusted men‖ to pay voters to vote Republican
        • The Murchison Letter
             – CA Republican Osgoodby writes British ambassador under an assumed name asking how to vote
             – UK Ambassador recommends Cleveland
             – Mobilizes Irish-American vote against Cleveland
                                     The Election of 2000
•   Presidential Candidates
     –   Albert Gore Jr.: Democrat from TN
     –   George W. Bush: Republican from TX
     –   Harry Browne: Libertarian from TN
     –   Ralph Nader: Green Party from CT
     –   Patrick Buchanan: Reform Party from VA
     –   Howard Phillips: Constitution Party from VA
     –   John Hagelin: Natural Law Party from IA
•   Electoral College Ballots
     –   Bush
           •   271 votes
     –   Gore
           •   268 votes
     –   All others
           •   0 votes
•   The Controversy
     –   Most states chose popular elections for electoral slates
     –   Total ―popular‖ votes:
           •   Gore: 51,003,926
           •   Bush: 50,460,110
     –   Florida Electoral Laws require automatic recounts in case of slim margins
     –   Four counties recounted continuously
     –   Several lawsuits filed, most were rejected or withdrawn
           •   Bush v. Gore: claims injury by Gore by insisting on Florida SC decision
           •   Gore v. Bush: claims injury by Bush through lawsuit
           •   Bush v. Florida: claims violation of Equal Protection of the Laws by Florida SC
           •   Gore v. Florida: also claims violation of Equal Protection
       2000 Election Chronology:
                Week 1
• Tuesday, Nov. 7—Election Day.
  – Pundits have predicted a tight race between Texas governor
    George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, but few expect
    one of the closest elections in U.S. history. By early evening, it's
    clear the election hinges on Florida.
• Wednesday, Nov. 8
  – Gore calls Bush at approximately 3 A.M. to concede, but
    retracts the concession shortly after, because Bush's razor-slim
    lead prompts an automatic recount. He leads Gore by about
    1,210 votes out of nearly 6 million cast in Florida. Meanwhile
    Gore leads in both the national popular count and the electoral
  – An unusual amount of votes for third-party candidates in Palm
    Beach County leads to disputes over the county's ―butterfly
    ballots.‖ A number of ballots in other counties are disqualified
    because the chad –the small piece of paper punched out of
    punch-card ballots—did not fully detach from the ballot.
      2000 Election Chronology:
         Week 1 (Continued)
• Thursday, Nov. 9
   – Gore's camp requests a hand recount of the approximately 1.8 million
     ballots cast in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Volusia counties,
     Democratic strongholds.
• Friday, Nov. 10
   – Florida's automatic recount is completed. The Associated Press reports
     that Bush has retained his lead but only by 327 votes.
• Saturday, Nov. 11
   – The Bush team, led by former secretary of state James Baker, files suit in
     federal court to block Gore's request for a hand recount. (Bush, et al. v.
     Gore. This case will eventually decide the outcome of all adjacent cases)
• Monday, Nov. 13
   – Florida secretary of state Katherine Harris announces she will not extend
     the Nov. 14 deadline for the submission of all state results, excluding
     absentee ballots from overseas.
   – A federal judge in Miami rejects Bush's efforts to halt manual recounts.
     Bush appeals the decision (This is in Bush, et al. v. Gore)
       2000 Election Chronology:
                Week 2
• Tuesday, Nov. 14
  – Harris postpones certification of the state's votes
    until Nov. 15, so Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and
    Broward counties have time to prepare an
    explanation of why they should hand count their
• Wednesday, Nov. 15
  – Harris decides that no county offered adequate
    evidence to justify further hand recounts.
  – Florida Supreme Court denies a request from
    Harris to stop the hand recounts. Certification is
    again postponed.
      2000 Election Chronology:
            Week 2 (Still)
• Thursday, Nov. 16
   – Bush's lawyers present written arguments to the U.S. federal
     appeals court in Atlanta to end the manual recounts (Bush, et al.
     v. Gore. Keep your eyes on this case.). Gore's team files a
     counter motion (Gore v. Bush, et al. Countersuits are not
• Friday, Nov. 17
   – The Florida Supreme Court blocks Harris from certifying election
     until it rules on the Democrats' motion to include hand recounts (in
     re. Gore).
   – The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denies the Republicans' motion
     to stop manual recounts on constitutional grounds (Bush, et al. v.
     Gore. Still following? Good; we’re just getting started).
• Saturday, Nov. 18
   – With a tally of absentee ballots, uncertified count has Bush ahead
     of Gore by 930 votes.
     2000 Election Chronology:
              Week 3
• Tuesday, Nov. 21
  – Florida Supreme Court rules that results of hand counts of
    ballots in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties must
    be included in the vote tally if the counts are completed by Nov.
• Sunday, Nov. 26
  – Harris certifies Bush as the winner of Florida‘s 25 electoral votes,
    with a 537-vote lead over Gore. Gore pledges to challenge
    certification in court. The tally does not include results from Palm
    Beach County, which finished its hand recount hours after the
• Monday, Nov. 27
  – Gore contests the Florida results in a circuit court in Tallahassee.
    (Gore, et al. v. Florida. Now we have three lawsuits!)
    2000 Election Chronology:
             Week 4
• Wednesday, Nov. 29
  – Leon County Circuit Court judge N. Sanders Sauls orders
    that all ballots from Palm Beach and Miami-Dade
    counties be sent to Tallahassee for a hearing on whether
    the hand count, which was incomplete at the time of the
    court-ordered Nov. 26 deadline, should be included in the
    final vote tally. (in Gore, et al. v. Florida)
• Thursday, Nov. 30
  – Florida lawmakers, voting along party lines, recommend
    holding a special session to name the state's 25 electors
    if the election dispute is not resolved by Dec. 12, six days
    before the electoral college meets.
        2000 Election Chronology:
                 Week 4
• Friday, Dec. 1
   – The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on whether the Florida
     Supreme Court acted properly when it forced the Florida secretary of
     state to accept manual recounts submitted after the legal deadline (Bush,
     et al. v. Gore).
   – The Florida Supreme Court denies Gore's appeal to immediately begin
     recounting ballots and rejects motion filed by some Palm Beach County
     citizens who questioned the integrity of the ―butterfly ballot.‖ (Gore v.
     Florida & in re. Gore)
   – Gore requests a count of approximately 14,000 ―undervotes‖ from Palm
     Beach and Miami-Dade counties.
• Monday, Dec. 4
   – Judge Sauls rejects Gore‘s contest of the election results, saying the vice
     president failed to prove that hand recounts would have altered the
     results. (Gore, et al. v. Florida) Gore appeals to the Florida Supreme
   – U.S. Supreme Court asks Florida Supreme Court to explain why it
     ordered Harris to accept results submitted after the Nov. 14 deadline
     mandated by state law, thus returning the case to Tallahassee. (Bush, et
     al. v. Gore. Still with us? Good.)
        2000 Election Chronology:
                 Week 5
•   Thursday, Dec. 7
     – Gore's legal team appeals Sauls' ruling (Gore v. Florida). Bush's lawyers argue
       that the decision should stand (in re. Gore).
•   Friday, Dec. 8
     – The Florida Supreme Court, ruling on Gore's appeal, orders manual recounts in
       counties with large numbers of undervotes (Gore, et al. v. Florida). Bush
       appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court and seeks injunction to stop recounts (Bush,
       et al. v. Florida. Adjacent to Bush v. Gore, but not the same case).
     – In two separate lawsuits, Leon County Circuit Court judges refuse to throw out
       absentee ballots from Seminole and Martin counties that had been disputed by
       Gore (both suits entered as Gore, et al. v. Florida? That’s two more cases!).
•   Saturday, Dec. 9
     – The U.S. Supreme Court votes 5–4 to halt the hand recounts and sets a hearing
       for Dec. 11 (Bush et al. v. Florida).
     – Florida Supreme Court hears appeal on whether absentee ballots in Martin and
       Seminole counties should be counted (One of the three Gore, et al. v. Florida
        2000 Election Chronology:
                 Week 6
•   Tuesday, Dec. 12
    – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Bush v. Gore 7–2 to reverse the Florida
      Supreme Court, which had ordered manual recounts in certain counties. The
      Court contends that the recount was not treating all ballots equally, and was thus
      a violation of the Constitution's equal protection and due process guarantees.
      (So, Bush v. Gore is a civil rights case) The Supreme Court of Florida would be
      required to set up new voting standards and carry them out in a recount. The
      justices, however, split 5–4 along partisan lines about implementing a remedy.
      Five justices maintain that this process and the recount must adhere to the
      official deadline for certifying electoral college votes: midnight, Dec. 12; other
      justices question the importance of this date. Since the Court makes its ruling
      just hours before the deadline, it in effect ensures that it is too late for a recount.
      The decision generates enormous controversy. Those objecting to the ruling
      assert that the Supreme Court, and not the electorate, has effectively determined
      the outcome of the presidential election. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes
      in a scathing dissent, ―the Court‘s conclusion that a constitutionally adequate
      recount is impractical is a prophecy the Court‘s own judgment will not allow to be
      tested. Such an untested prophecy should not decide the Presidency of the
      United States.‖
    2000 Election Chronology:
             Week 6
• Wednesday, Dec. 13
  – In another decision, Florida Supreme Court decides
    not to hear an appeal from Gore asking that absentee
    ballots from Martin and Seminole counties be thrown
    out. (That‘s Gore, et al. v. Florida #2 and #3)
  – In televised speeches, Gore concedes, and Bush
    accepts the presidency.
• Monday, Dec. 18
  – Electoral college representatives meet in state
    capitals and cast votes to select president.
    2000 Election Chronology:
         The End Result
• Wednesday, Jan. 5
  – Congress meets to tally electoral college
• Saturday, Jan. 20
  – George W. Bush sworn in as 43rd president
    of the United States.
     Questions for Discussion:
  The Presidential Election of 2000
• Could a President and Vice President be elected without
  all states reporting their electoral college decisions?
• If Florida failed to report in time would its electoral ballots
  would be disqualified?
• Was the political deck in Florida stacked in favor of
• Did the US Supreme Court actually decide in Bush‘s
• Why did the Florida Supreme Court ultimately decide the
  Electoral College ballot in Florida?
• Why did this become a judicial matter and not a matter
  for the US House of Representatives?