Certifying the electorate

Congress meets today to certify the electoral votes for the 2004 election. Normally this isn’t a very news worthy story as the report is buried within the newspapers, but this year could be different.

Wizbang - In order to mount a challenge to the Ohio electors Representative John Conyers, who’s already indicated he will challenge, needs to get one Senator to challenge as well. Word is California Senator Barbara Boxer is close to becoming that necessary one Senator.

Visions of this time four years ago when Congress gathered to certify the 2000 vote are flashing before my eyes. Representative after representative went before Congress demanding a Senator challenge but none was found. One particularly funny exchange:

The VICE PRESIDENT. For what purpose does the gentlewoman from California (Ms. WATERS) rise?

Ms. WATERS. Mr. Vice President, I rise to object to the fraudulent twenty-five Florida electoral votes.

The VICE PRESIDENT. Is the objection in writing and signed by a Member of the House and a Senator?

Ms. WATERS. The objection is in writing, and I do not care that it is not signed by a Member of the Senate.

The VICE PRESIDENT. The Chair will advise that the rules do care, and the signature of a Senator is required.

There wasn’t a Senate objector for Waters or any other Representative, the vote was certified, and Bush took office. Am I expecting the same thing to happen this year and Sen Boxer not object? No. I fully suspect that Boxer will throw a wrench in the system in a last ditch effort to regain control of the presidency for the Democrats.

What exactly happens when there is an objection from both the House and the Senate?

TheCapitol.net - An objection to a state’s electoral votes must be in writing and signed by one representative and one senator. If there is an objection, the joint session is suspended at that point, and the two houses withdraw to their chambers to consider the objection. In these sessions, members may speak just once and for no more than five minutes. At the end of two hours, the chambers vote. Unless both chambers vote to uphold the objection, it fails. The principal reasons there might be an objection are that a vote was not “regularly given” by an elector, for example, a “faithless” elector voting for someone other than the winners in his or her state, or that an elector was not lawfully certified, or both. Federal law (at 3 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.) provides guidance on resolving instances when there might be more than one list of electors.

The changes of the objection standing with a Republican majority is slim to none. If the objection stands, an investigation into the election in Ohio will begin, there will more than likely be recounts, and we will be in a worse situation than we were in at the end of the 2000 election with a much smaller window to get the problem resolved.

What the Democrats are attempting is to expose the flaws in the way America currently votes. I have never been a huge fan of the electoral college just because of situations like this. I do believe the popular vote of America should elect the president. However, we currently have the electoral college and that system is what will decide the presidency.

After today’s joint session, I really do see the possibility of election reform from Congress. After two elections with problem from the electoral college, the system needs a revamp.

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