Our Democratic Way

An important system created by our founding fathers was one of the reasons, or the sole reason, Trump supporters gathered on that day. The results of the Electoral College were being verified in Congress on January 6th. This was the last step in determining which one of the candidates won.

Interviewing a previous Wood Village council member, Tim Fier, he explained the electoral college process, “The electoral college goes back to our country, and it was in the initial adoption of the constitution in 1787. It relies on the number of electors from each state based on the members of the house of representatives and the numbers of senators, which is two for every state, so each state gets that as many votes, the electors are appointed through the states, and then the way it works today, is the person that wins the majority vote, in most states, some states opt out of this system, gets all those electoral college votes, and there are more amendments in the constitution dealing with the presidential election than any other subject in our republic.” 

At another time, Andrew Pate, Barlow’s social studies teacher, explained how the electoral college votes are established, “Each state gets a number of electoral votes equal to the number of representatives they have in the house of representatives and senators. So the electoral college vote total for oregon with 5 congressional representatives and two senators is 7 votes, the total in the country is 538 electoral votes because the District of Columbia is not a state but it gets 3 electoral votes, and every other states you have 100 for the senators, and there are 435 members of the representatives, so 435 plus 100 plus 3, and what that means is, to become the president, you need to get 270 electoral votes.”

So the three very generalized steps are having election night, when the votes are cast, during the 1st Wednesday after a monday in November,  each state verifies their votes and sends them to congress during November, and Congress ceremoniously verifies the votes in a joint session with the House of Representatives, and the Senators. 

Now I am sure that some have heard that the Vice President has the ability to not accept Electoral College votes which  is an outright lie. The 12th and 20th amendments state what the Vice President, or President of the Senate, can do. Tim Fier says it better, “Absolutely not, Pence does not have the authority to do that, his position is a ceremonial position, simply that. His position, constitutionally, is he’s President of the Senate.”

Paraphrasing a quote by Alexander Hamilton, when creating the electoral college, he did not trust the common man to vote properly on their next president. This year made that comment ring more true than ever before.

The fact that one side of the American people did not initially accept the results of a tradition dating back to our very founding and attacked our capitol, could be an omen for the Biden administration.