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Being elected to Vice President

  1. Dec 5, 2008 #1
    Is there anything in the constitution/law that prohibits someone from running independently for the position of VP?

    Why do the P and VP appear on the same ticket having to vote for both together and not independently?

    http://www.usconstitution.net/const.txt

    When did they decide that you couldn't just vote for one?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 5, 2008 #2

    russ_watters

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  4. Dec 6, 2008 #3

    BobG

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    Actually, the wiki article does mention it, just very briefly.

    Per the constitution and amendments, each state selects electors that can vote however they please for President and for Vice President.

    Each state decides how they'll select their electors. Every state currently uses a popular vote to pick electors, but it's not required by the Constitution or amendments that they do this. The names of the electors generally aren't important - the candidate they've pledged to support is. In fact, it would be extremely confusing for most voters if you actually had the names of the electors you were voting for on the ballot.

    Most states require electors by law to vote for the candidates they've pledged to. Some just depend on loyalty. Regardless, whoever the electors vote for President and/or Vice President would almost surely count even if they defied the voters' choice. The states requiring electors by law to vote for a particular candidate could just penalize the electors after the fact.

    Once in a while, an elector defies the voters and votes for someone different for President/Vice President. No one has ever been penalized for it so far.

    In 2004, John Edwards received one electoral vote for President. One Minnesota elector selected Edwards for both President and VP. Since the electors cast their vote by secret ballot, no one knew which elector voted Edwards for both Pres and VP and none admitted doing it. Most likely, it was done by mistake. They counted the ballot none the less.

    In 2000, one elector from the District of Columbia abstained from voting for anyone for President/VP.

    In 1988, a West Virginia elector voted for Loyd Bentsen as President and Michael Dukakis as VP (Dukakis was the Dem Presidential nominee with Bentsen the VP nominee).

    In 1976, Ronald Reagan received one electoral vote. A Washington elector voted for Reagan instead of the Republican nominee, Gerald Ford (he did vote for Dole, the Rep VP nominee for VP, though).

    In 1972, a Virginia elector voted for John Hospers for Pres and Theodora Nathan for VP in spite of being a Nixon elector. Nathan was the first woman to receive an electoral vote in a Presidential election.

    1960 was a strange year. It was the last year that some states elected individual electors instead of an entire slate of electors pledged to a single candidate. Some of the traditionally Democratic Southern states did this in response to the Democratic Party supporting civil rights. As a result, Harry Byrd received 15 electoral votes from either unpledged electors or defecting electors while Strom Thurmond received 14 electoral votes for VP and Barry Goldwater 1 electoral vote for VP. The idea was that if the electoral vote between Kennedy and Nixon were close enough, unpledged Southern electors could trade their votes for civil rights concessions. Kennedy won enough electoral votes that the unpledged electors didn't matter, but 14 unpledged and 1 Republican elector still voted for Byrd out of protest (the Republican elector was the one that voted Goldwater for VP).

    And so on. It happens once in a while.
     
  5. Dec 7, 2008 #4

    Pythagorean

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    If by ticket, you mean party, Nixon and Kennedy were a republican and a democrat running on the same ticket (using ticket now, in the non-party sense). It probably raised a lot of suspicion that Kennedy was assassinated and Nixon took the seat, so we don't see that anymore.
     
  6. Dec 7, 2008 #5

    russ_watters

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    I'm not following you there, Pythagorean - what "seat" are you talking about? Kennedy was succeeded by his vice President, LBJ.
     
  7. Dec 7, 2008 #6

    russ_watters

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    I think you may have missed the point of the OP: it's not about what the electors do, it is about why you don't see separate sets of check boxes on your ballot for VP and President. Why an independent candidate can't get himself on the ballot as a VP candidate.

    It's an interesting question, that I'm curious about now...
     
  8. Dec 7, 2008 #7
    Imagine what could have happened if McCain and Palin could have been voted for seperately... :) (Though Im a dem)

    Seems like VP is not an elected office whatsoever. Really its just a Presidential appointment like his cabinet but made before election. While it may sway the vote, its locked down. I wonder if there would be any benefits from having the candidate list not only his VP choice, but also his cabinet prior to election.
     
  9. Dec 7, 2008 #8

    russ_watters

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    Yes, that's what it looks like to me too.
     
  10. Dec 7, 2008 #9

    Art

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    Originally the VP position was filled by whoever came second in the electoral college vote for president. This remained the case until the 12th amendment 1804 since when the offices of president and VP have been elected separately. This change was necessitated by presidents having VP's forced on them that they found they could not work with.

    This electoral system remains in place today and so the president and VP are still technically elected separately, but because popular elections determine a state's Electoral College delegation, and delegates are pledged to vote for a particular presidential and vice presidential candidate running together as a team, the issue of separate elections for the two offices has become a moot point.
     
  11. Dec 7, 2008 #10
    But only insofar as independents don't become a serious threat to the two party system. It does seem like for any separation of P/VP both major parties would have to yield a lot of power (allowing the possibility of a P with an ind/ opposite party VP).
     
  12. Dec 7, 2008 #11

    BobG

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    Not at all. If your state has 11 electoral votes, you're voting for 11 electors in the Electoral College (even if you don't actually know their names). You're not voting for President or Vice President.

    For example, if you lived in Ohio, and marked the box labeled Bush/Cheney in 2004, you were actually voting for:
    Alex R. Arshinkoff
    Phil A. Bowman
    Merom Brachman
    William O. Dewitt, Jr.
    Billie Jean Fiore
    Robert S. Frost
    Owen V. Hall
    Katharina Hooper
    Joyce M. Houck
    David Whipple Johnson
    Pernel Jones, Sr.
    Randy Law
    Karyle Mumper
    Henry M. Butch O'Neill
    J. Kirk Schuring
    Betty Jo Sherman
    Leslie J. Spaeth
    Gary C. Suhadolnik
    Elizabeth A. Wagner
    Carl F. Wick

    You were voting for these folks to represent you in the Electoral College because they promised to vote for Bush and Cheney.

    You could find the names of the elected electors for each state here. I'm not sure where to find the names of the defeated electors for each state.

    It would be interesting to put the people you're actually voting for on the ballot, which would eliminate confusion over why the Pres/VP aren't listed separately. When they did that in '60, it made it hard to tally the popular vote for some of the Southern states. Each elector pledged to Kennedy, for example, received a different number of votes from each other (evidently, some voters preferred a candidate by 60%, or 20%, rather than all voters preferring a candidate by 100% ..... or many just found the task too confusing.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  13. Dec 8, 2008 #12

    BobG

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    As in one group of electors would pledge to vote for McCain/Palin, one group of electors for McCain/Leiberman, and one group of electors for Obama/Biden?

    That would create a bizarre situation. If the McCain/Palin slate won 30% of the vote in a state, the McCain/Leibermann slate 25% of the vote, and the Obama/Biden slate 45%, then the Obama/Biden group of electors obviously received the most votes. Each slate of electors would have to be considered separately - who they pledge to vote for doesn't matter.

    You probably should be afforded the opportunity to actually vote for the person representing you instead of "the entire group of people that promise to vote for so and so". In a state like California with 55 electors, I imagine having a name starting with 'A' would be as important as party affiliation. Democratic electors with names starting with 'A' would probably get more votes than Republican electors with names starting with 'A', but Republicans starting with 'A' would probably win out over Democrats with names starting with 'Z'. At some point, many of the elderly voters would be too exhausted to fill in all of those circles. Being the party that appealled to younger voters would become a little more important.

    In other words, you're not voting for a Presidential candidate - you're voting for people to represent you in the real Presidential election, which will occur on Dec 15 (first Monday after the second Wed of December).

    It's just like you'll never vote for or against the financial bailout plan. You vote for Congressmen and they vote for or against the bailout plan.
     
  14. Dec 16, 2008 #13

    BobG

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    Wow. With all the shoe throwing, I didn't hear a single news show mention that the US Presidential election was held yesterday. The real one. Where the electors we elected voted for President.

    I guess there wasn't much suspense over who would win, but it's still a big milestone. Until the electors vote, it's not official. However unlikely it might be, there was always a chance some really bad news about the President-elect would come out - some criminal activity by him or his staff (which is why appointees are always announced after the electoral vote, even if they were actually chosen earlier); some huge scandal that might have electors fearing the inaugaration would be immediately followed with impeachment.

    The official results won't be certified until Jan 8, but the votes have already been cast and can't be changed.
     
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