Friday, January 27, 2012

How U.S. Elections May Violate the 14th Amendment

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The ideal of 'one man, one vote' has never been achieved. If your vote does not carry the same weight as does the vote of someone else, then your rights under the 14th have been violated! For example, it is possible that a Presidential candidate could get a greater number of popular votes but, by losing a few large states, get fewer 'electoral college votes and, thus, lose the White House.

That's only one example and a more obvious one. On any given election, votes are not equal. Someone else's vote may be 'worth' more than yours or yours may be worth more than another person's. Votes are not equal. And, in some cases, some votes --perhaps your vote --may not even count.
In a democratic election between two candidates, the winner is the person with the majority of the votes. But when three or more candidates run, things are seldom so simple. The winner often amasses only a plurality, not a majority, of the votes. (Bill Clinton, for example, won the presidency with 43 percent of the vote; Jesse Ventura won the Minnesota governorship with 37 percent.) The plurality winner could be everybody else's least favorite candidate and could even lose to each of the other candidates in a head-to-head battle. As Saari puts it: "The plurality vote is the only procedure that will elect someone who's despised by almost two thirds of the voters."

--Discover Magazine, May the Best Man Lose, November 1, 2000
The 14th says that "...no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

--U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment
The Equal Protection Clause can be seen as an attempt to secure the promise that "all men are created equal". But not only minorites but every person has a stake in his/her vote being counted but --even more imporantly --counting for as much as every other vote cast by every other person in the nation.

The most promising proposals include the 'System of Single Transferable Vote' (STV) proposed by Thomas Hare in England and Carl George Andrae in Denmark in the l850s. Adopted throughout the world, STV has been adopted to elect public officials, prominently in Australia, Malta, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland as well as in local school board elections in New York City.

But other systems, likewise, have their advocates. They include 'preference voting', the Borda Count, range voting et al. All have in common that they are far superior to any method now used in the United States in terms of how accurately any given election reflects the will of the people. My own 'preference', however, is the Borda count in which...
...each voter ranks all of the candidates from top to bottom. If there are, say, five candidates, then a voter's top-ranked candidate gets 5 points, his second-ranked candidate gets 4, and so on. Finally, the points from all the voters are added up to determine the winner.

--Discover Magazine, May the Best Man Lose, November 1, 2000
It is hard to see how anything could be simpler and just as hard to see how a nation which tolerates the unequal nature of elections can --with a straight-faced --claim to be democratic or fair. It is hard to see how any government formed as a result of unfair or inaccurate voting systems can claim to be legitimate.

7 comments:

Eamon said...

Amendment XIV was never properly ratified. You make some good points, but the 14th is not actually law. If you'd like some info, please let me know or do a little research. It is interesting, even if more than a little disconcerting. Godspeed.

Len Hart said...

The Fourteenth Amendment is legitimate and it's the law.

To wit: Amendment XIV to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868 --one of the Reconstruction Amendments. Subsequently, the Supreme court bestow 'legitimacy'; see: Allgeyer v. Louisiana (1897). In that decision, SCOTUS 'interpreted' and thus LEGITIMIZED it as a defining facet of Due Process of law! It IS, therefore, the law of the land!

The 14th --early on --overruled Dred Scott v. Sandford. That Dred Scott was legitimately over-ruled and, moreover, OUGHT to have been over-ruled is simply not a matter of debate and no intelligent person believes otherwise.

The FOURTEENTH:

"14th Amendment Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens"

The South had serious problems with the 'Equal Protection Clause' because it requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people within its jurisdiction. It is, therefore, incompatible with 'slavery' as slavery denies 'equal protection' based on race or class! This clause was the basis for Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court decision which precipitated the dismantling of racial segregation in the United States. In Reed v. Reed (1971), the Supreme Court for the first time ruled that laws arbitrarily requiring sex discrimination violated the Equal Protection Clause.

Again --the FOURTEENTH is legitimate and it is the law! Its legitimacy is recognized, affirmed, made fact and made law to wit:

"ALBERT C. TWINING and David C. Cornell, Plffs. in Err., v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY. 211 U.S. 78 (29 S.Ct. 14, 53 L.Ed. 97) ALBERT C. TWINING and David C. Cornell, Plffs. in Err., v. STATE OF NEW JERSEY. No. 10. Argued: March 19, 20, 1908. Decide Enabling clauses Clauses in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments that provide Congress with the power to enforce those amendments by means of "appriopriate legislation". (wex definitions, constitutional law)

C. W. CORNELL and F. B. Cornell, Copartners, Doing Business under the Name and Style of Cornell Brothers, , v. F. E. COYNE, Late United States Collector of Internal Revenue, First District of Illinois. 192 U.S. 418 (24 S.Ct. 383, 48 L.Ed. 504) C. W. CORNELL and F. B. Cornell, Copartners, Doing Business under the Name and Style of Cornell Brothers, Plffs. in Err., v. F. E. COYNE, Late United States Collector of Internal Revenue, First Dist. Substantive due process A doctrine holding that the 5th and 14th Amendments require all governmental intrusions into fundamental rights and liberties be fair and reasonable and in furtherance of a legitimate governmental interest. The U.S. Supreme Court during the middle of the 20th Century used substantive due process"

According to The 14th state and local governments are PROSCRIBED i.e, prohibited from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without certain steps being taken to ensure fairness, in other words --Due Process of Law.

Moreover, the 14th makes the Bill of Rights applicable to the states, and as well recognizes substantive and procedural rights. It is not merely a matter of law that 'states' DO NOT have the right to observe those laws it likes and ignore those it does not. I seem to recall that a Civil War was fought over those point and the south lost it! Ergo: further debate on that point is MOOT! Now --if the South wishes to secede again, I suggest they try it! Get on with it! Let me know how that works out ...!

Phoenix Justice said...

My biggest problem is congressional and legislative districts. Here in Arizona my vote will never count for who represents my congressional district because it is a super "safe" district for Republicans. (I am currently in Arizona 3rd and will soon be in the new Arizona 6th) To me, uncompetitive voting districts destroys the "one person one vote" rule more than anything else.

As to Eamon, who seems to be living in a fantasy world: The 14th Amendment, just like the 16th Amendment were properly ratified. Get over your delusions and come live in the real world.

Len Hart said...

Phoenix Justice said...

Here in Arizona my vote will never count for who represents my congressional district because it is a super "safe" district for Republicans.

That is, indeed, a common problem but ought not to be. It's an artifact of our antiquated system. Gerrymandering of districts for the very purpose of creating 'safe' districts is --on its face --a violation of someone else's rights under the 14th.

There are, of course, some issues which naturally divide a nation geographically. The Civil War was the result of several such issues --slavery being the most written about, the most obvious.

But I would hope that responsible local governments address local issues. The 'term' of a city council member in Lazbuddy is most certainly not the kind of issue that need attract the attention of Congress or voters in New York.

It is unfortunate that The 14th is so little regarded that some believe that it is actually 'not' the law. While it is not advisable that the Congress involve itself with issues like, say, term limits for City Council members, those rights that are guaranteed every individual, every citizen are --indeed --the concern and purview of a national document: The U.S. Constitution and its first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights.

toto said...

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored.

When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

NationalPopularVote
Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via nationalpopularvoteinc

Len Hart said...

I support the concept of a national popular vote for President and would hope that such a movement would, likewise, give consideration to the kinds of 'voting' systems that would most accurately express the popular will of the entire nation. States are represented in two houses --House of Reps and Senate! One would think that the office of President, representing the people, could be decided by a national popular vote that is designed --mathematically --to accurately reflect the needs that constituency.

Bev said...

from:
http://www.bbvforums.org/cgi-bin/forums/board-auth.cgi?file=/8/81816.html

USA) 1/12 - GLOBAL INTERNET VOTING FIRM BUYS U.S. ELECTION RESULTS REPORTING FIRM - By Bev Harris

Permission to reprint granted, with link to http://www.blackboxvoting.org

In a major step towards global centralization of election processes, the world's dominant Internet voting company has purchased the USA's dominant election results reporting company.

When you view your local or state election results on the Internet, on portals which often appear to be owned by the county elections division, in over 525 US jurisdictions you are actually redirected to a private corporate site controlled by SOE software, which operates under the name ClarityElections.com.

The good news is that this firm promptly reports precinct-level detail in downloadable spreadsheet format. As reported by BlackBoxVoting.org in 2008, the bad news is that this centralizes one middleman access point for over 525 jurisdictions in AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, KY, MI, KS, IL, IN, NC, NM, MN, NY, SC, TX, UT, WA. And growing.

As local election results funnel through SOE's servers (typically before they reach the public elsewhere), those who run the computer servers for SOE essentially get "first look" at results and the ability to immediately and privately examine vote details throughout the USA.

In 2004, many Americans were justifiably concerned when, days before the presidential election, Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell redirected Ohio election night results through the Tennessee-based server for several national Republican Party operations.

This is worse: This redirects results reporting to a centralized privately held server which is not just for Ohio, but national; not just USA-based, but global.

A mitigation against fraud by SOE insiders has been the separation of voting machine systems from the SOE results reports. Because most US jurisdictions require posting evidence of results from each voting machine at the precinct, public citizens can organize to examine these results to compare with SOE results. Black Box Voting spearheaded a national citizen action to videotape / photograph these poll tapes in 2008.

With the merger of SOE and SCYTL, that won't work (if SCYTL's voting system is used). When there are two truly independent sources of information, the public can perform its own "audit" by matching one number against the other.

These two independent sources, however, will now be merged into one single source: an Internet voting system controlled by SCYTL, with a results reporting system also controlled by SCYTL.

With SCYTL internet voting, there will be no ballots. No physical evidence. No chain of custody. No way for the public to authenticate who actually cast the votes, chain of custody, or the count.

SCYTL is moving into or already running elections in: the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, India and Australia.

SCYTL is based in Barcelona; its funding comes from international venture capital funds including Nauta Capital, Balderton Capital and Spinnaker.