Obama/Palin Administration?

This article, in today’s Rocky Mountain News written by Robert Hardaway, law professor at the University of Denver’s law school, sets the premise for what might happen if we awoke on November 5th to discover a tie in Electoral College votes.

Do you know the Constitution well enough to understand what would happen?

In 1804 the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution was adopted to deal with such a problem and here is how it would work:

In the case of a tie, the choice of President is decided in the House of Representatives.  However, each state is given only one vote.  Democrats currently hold a majority of state delegations in the House, so one assumes they would elect Barack Obama as President.

The Vice President, however, is chosen by the Senate.  There, it is conceivable that Sen. Joseph Lieberman might vote for Gov. Palin, causing a 50/50 split, giving Dick Cheney the deciding vote.  (One does have to wonder, though, if there are any sane Republicans left in the Senate who would vote against Palin.)

According to Hardaway, there are several ambiguities buried in the Twelfth Amendment including whether it is the incumbent congress that votes or the newly elected congress that decides; is the voting by secret ballot or by an open one; and whether the decision is made by a majority of votes or a plurality.

If we thought the 2000 election was interesting, this could tie up the election results for months.  As Hardaway suggests, it would behoove congress to decide these issues before they were necessary, not in the midst of a fight for the presidency.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: