Proposed Constitutional Election Amendment
maule at LAW.VILLANOVA.EDU
Mon Jan 29 14:36:49 PST 2001
>>> greg.sisk at DRAKE.EDU 01/28/01 08:12PM >>> writes
It is also arrogant to assume that voters for
third-party candidates would all gladly have made a second-choice
because they viewed one of the major party candidates as a
satisfactory alternative. Setting up a system in which runoffs will
occur regularly and voters must make second choices, either
immediately or in a runoff, effectively disenfranchises the committed
opponent of the two major parties from participating in the final
And what of people who have no FIRST choice (who either stay home or go for the perceived least offensive candidate)? People could do the same as to second choices... leave it blank (i.e., don't indicate a second choice) or not show up for the run-off.
I agree that there is a problem but it's deeper than and not caused by Bryan's proposal. (And I'm not sure his proposal makes it any worse other than causing it to happen twice rather than once).
Bryan's proposal (in terms of run-offs, not necessarily in terms of electoral college removal) moves us a tiny step closer to a system in which 10 or 15 people can run OUTSIDE of the party-locked primaries. The assumption that the two "major" candidates are the best their parties can offer is a sad and untrue, misleading, scary thought. ("If this is the best we have, then..... [fill it in for yourselves]). Some sort of open election (which would, of course, require a run-off) might have the effect of "revealing" a very viable candidate who otherwise would be foreclosed.
Query: Are there constitutional problems with eliminating the hold of the PRIMARIES on the electoral process? Are primaries constitutionally REQUIRED? Are there problems in prohibiting them? (I suspect so, certainly in terms of elections for state offices, and maybe for election of state represenatives and Senators to the Congress but I'm not certain). At least with respect to Presidential elections, cannot the federal government bar the use of primaries? And wouldn't that have an interesting spillover effect into the campaign financing environment?
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