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tives; and if members of the Senate and House have previously voted as electors, they will be less likely to be free and unbiassed in their choice as senators or representatives. Persons holding offices of trust and profit under the United States are also excluded from the electoral college, lest their official station might give them an improper influence upon the electors. The object of the provision is to prevent any interference or agency on the part of the general government in the selection of President and Vice-President.
[Clause 3.] “The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each ; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority and have an equal number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the
President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Repre. sentation from each State having one Vote; a Quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after tho Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.”
$ 379. This clause prescribes the mode in which the electors shall proceed to vote for President and Vice-President. It has been supplied by an amended clause, as we shall see presently, but many of the original features are retained. Each electoral college, acting by itself, meets in its own State; there is, therefore, less opportunity for concert of action, intrigue, or bargaining, among the electors of the several States. Under the original clause they did not separately designate one person for President, and another person for Vice-President, but voted by the same ticket for two persons, one of whom at least, it was provided, should not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves ; -such a provision prevents the President and Vice-President from being inhabitants of the same · State.
$ 380. They then made out a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each, which list, after being signed and certified by them, they transmitied, sealed, to the seat of government of the United Stuccs, directed to the President of the Senate.
$ 381. The President of the Senate, in the prese..ce of
the Senate and House of Representatives, opened all the certificates, and the votes were then counted. The person who had.the greatest number of votes was declared to be the President, provided the number of votes received by him was greater than a majority of the whole number of electors.
$ 382. If there were more than one who had such majority, and had an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives was required immediately to choose, by ballot, one of them for President; and if no person had a majority of the whole number of electors, then from the five highest persons on the list, the House of Representatives was in like manner to choose the President. The election of President in these cases devolves upon the House of Representatives, because that is the branch of Congress which more immediately represents the people.
$ 383. In choosing the President in the House of Representatives, the vote is taken by States, the entire delegation from each State having one vote; this is intended to give to each State an equal voice in the selection. A majority of all the States is necessary to a choice, and a quorum, for the purpose of an election, consists of a member, or of members, from two-thirds of the States.
$ 384. In every case after the choice of a President, the person having the greatest number of the votes of the electors, according to the original clause, became the VicePresident. But if there were then two or more who had an equal number of votes, it devolved upon the Senate to choose from them, by ballot, the Vice-President. The choice of the Vice-President is thus given to the Senate, chiefly because he is the presiding officer in that body.
$ 385. At the election of the fourth President, the electoral votes for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr were
equal, and each received the votes of a majority of the whole number of electors. There was, therefore, no election by the people. Accordingly, the House of Representatives, in pursuance of this clause, as it originally stood, proceeded to choose a President. On the first ballot, eight States voted for Thomas Jefferson, six States for Aaron Burr, and the votes of two States were divided. There were then sixteen States in the Union.
$ 386. The balloting continued nearly a week, and thirty-five ballots were had, with the same result as the first. The contest was carried on with violent party spirit. Finally, on the thirty-sixth ballot, Thomas Jefferson received the votes of a majority of the States, and was declared President; Aaron Burr, having the next highest number of votes, became Vice-President. .
$ 387. To prevent the occurrence of such a state of things again, Congress, on the 12th of December, 1803, proposed to the legislatures of the States an amendment to this part of the Constitution, which was adopted by three-fourths of the States, and was proclaimed by the President as a part of the Constitution, September 25, 1804, and therefore takes the place of the original clause we have just been considering. This is the twelfth of the series of amendments to the Constitution, and is as follows :
“The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make
distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; The President of the Senate shall, in presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certifi. cates and the votes shall then be counted ;—The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote ; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the Presi. dent.—The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a najority of the whole number of Electors