For more than a year and a half, we have been searching for a new President. Voters have been trying to decide who to vote against more often than whom to vote for. So wouldn’t it be fitting for the most unusual Presidential election in the history of our country, if after tens of millions of votes have been cast, nobody wins? It takes 270 electoral votes to be elected President of the United States. The Constitution says that if a candidate does not receive at least 270 electoral votes, then the selection of the new President is turned over to the House of Representatives.
The Constitution is specific as to the process of how the House of Representatives then selects the President. The Electors give the three highest vote-getting names to the Speaker of the House, as a result of the general election. The Congressional representatives of each state will caucus and will select one of the three Presidential candidates. The state delegations will vote until they have selected one of the three candidates with a two/thirds majority, after which they will then have one vote for their Presidential candidate.
Then the selected representative of that state delegation will vote when the roll call of the states is called. When a candidate receives 26 votes, he or she will be the new President of the United States. The Constitution stipulates that the Senate votes on the Vice Presidential candidate with each senator having one vote. The candidate who receives 51 votes is the new Vice President. In the case of a tie, the sitting Vice President, in this case Joe Biden does not break the tie. The Senate will continue to vote until one candidate receives 51 votes. The 12th amendment illuminated the need for the Senate vote, as both candidates from the same party run together.
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Many of us remember the George W. Bush and Al Gore campaign when the Supreme Court of the United States had an important role as to the winner of that Presidential election. My guess is if there is no clear winner, the number of lawyers in the states that may be contentious will have a tremendous task. I would expect an incredible number of challenges in any state that is considered too close to call.
The states have until December 13 to settle all controversies and challenges. On December 19, the electors meet in their states and cast their votes. The results of these votes are then certified and sent to the President of the Senate, the current Vice President, to be tabulated. The next important date is January 6, 2017 when the Congress meets in joint session to count the votes.
The Constitution further stipulates that the President will take office on January 20 at approximately 12 noon Eastern Time. My question is what happens if all the disputes have not been settled? Let’s step back to the first unresolved issue: no one wins a clear majority. My guess is the capital markets will be very nervous and I would expect a sell off. If it looks like either candidate or both are going to challenge multiple states’ outcomes, I would expect the stock markets to continue to sell off. Every day that goes by heightens the nervousness as to what happens if we can’t resolve the conflict? Does Barack Obama continue as President past January 20th until the legal challenges are resolved?
Could we have the eight members of the US Supreme Court, not the American people, deciding who will be President? Will foreign nations and terrorist organizations see the chaos in America as an opportunity to attack?
Let’s move back to the House of Representatives: the Republicans control the house 246 to 186. The rules call for a 2/3rd majority vote in each state delegation for one candidate. I have looked at the makeup of the House by party and by state. I have assumed that in those states where an existing party has at least a 2/3rd majority, I count that state for their candidate. The result is that 30 states have a Republican 2/3rd majority and 11 states have a 2/3rds Democratic majority, while 11 states are too close to call. If Republicans vote Republican, then the Republican nominee should be President.
But, what about the RINO’s? Will they vote the party line or be willing to trade their vote for something else, thereby throwing the election to the Democrat. If you think the drama has been exhausting so far, wait until Wednesday morning, and if there is no winner you just might want to go back to bed.
Dan Perkins is a current events commentator who writes for several blogs including, Constitution.com, The Hill.com, Reganbaby.com and others. He is the author of the trilogy on radical Islamic nuclear terrorism against the United States call The Brotherhood of the Red Nile. He co-hosts a nationally syndicated talk shows on W4CYradio.com. Dan’s web site is danperkins.guru.