Pajamas Media » Two Bad Presidential Election Ideas Require Rejection
While under the original Constitution the States could set property rules to vote and were only expected to offer a broad mandate for voters to the most numerous branch of their legislature the Courts have used the murky penumbras of the XIVth Amendment to enforce both universal sufferage under "one man, one vote" and to ensure the domination of urban politics by rendering state senates redundant and forbidding their apportionment on a geographical basis.
As part of a general plan of reform I support the repeal of the XVIIth Amendment. In addition voter ID verification is essential. Only citizens who do not derive the majority of their income from the federal public treasury, excepting enlisted members of the Armed Forces and officers called to extended active duty in time of conflict, should vote in any federal election. A similar bar should apply to any person who gets the majority of their income from the state treasury voting in any state or municipal election. Apportionment should be on the basis of the number of qualified and registered citizen voters as determined in each census.
The original Electoral College was a good idea. We should return to it. The idea was to have the leading citizens of each state meet and select their candidates. Either a national consensus would emerge or the business of politics would follow in Congress to select the winner. Right now the members of the EC are cyphers that no one would trust with a burnt out match. My suggestion is to empower and reinvigorate the Electoral College.
First make it a standing body with two classes of members. Ex officio members from each state would include the heads of each state's three branches of gov't, that is the Governor, the Chief Justice or senior judge of the highest Appeals Court, and the Speaker or equivalent of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature. For states granted more than 3 Electors others should be appointed for six year terms by the state legislature in staggering classes that mirror the method used by the US Senate. No appointed Elector could hold a position of profit or trust in the service of the United States or the state that appoints them, except for enlisted service in either the state or federal Armed Forces or service as an officer in the state militia.
The Electoral College as so constituted would convene quadrennially to select a candidate for POTUS, and would also serve to fill any vacancies that occur more than 120 days before the next scheduled regular election by meeting within 30 days of such a vacancy happening. The popular vote would be properly restored to its position as an opinion poll for the consideration of the state legislators. The focus of politics would return to the state level. The federal government would remain busy rooting out corruption in the states but the current system of ignoring state level venality and then transferring all politic and corruption to the federal level would end. The revived states would jealously investigate and expose corruption at the federal level.
Second I would use the EC as a national Court of Judicial Review to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress. As a creature of the states the determination of the fidelity of the Congress to the Constitution should better be determined by the EC than the SCOTUS. I would propose that a law could be flagged for review by a petition of 20% or more of the states, or by the President or by the Supreme Court reviewing submissions from inferior courts that could hold disputed laws in abeyance for up to one year while under review.