Tuesday, December 28, 2004

How Congress Could Cast Your Vote For You
A lot of people think the Electoral College is designed to protect states' rights. But did you know that Congress could decide how to count a states votes?

Buried deep in a story by Jim Seigal of Gannet News about the Ohio recount is this nugget:

Ohio's 20 Republican electors cast their official votes for Bush on Dec. 13, even though final recount totals won't be certified by the state until this week. That scenario ... could spell disaster in a very tight presidential race if the recount somehow reverses the winner. Congress could eventually be forced to decide Ohio.

The official electoral college webpage at the federal archives describes what happens if there is a disputed vote outcome in a state (remember Florida in 2000??)

A very close finish could also result in a run-off election or legal action to decide the winner. ... The law provides that if States have laws to determine controversies or contests as to the selection of Electors, those determinations must be completed six days prior to the day the Electors meet.

This year, the Electors met on Dec 13. So, if a recount wasnt' complete by then, Congress would have to decide whether or not to count Ohio's votes for president. That didn't happen this year, thankfully. But, its not exactly a situation that gives you a lot of confidence in our system. I wonder if the folks in the Ukraine have any tips for us.

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