Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Presidents and Vice Presidents from the Same State: The Misconception of the 12th Amendment

Ballot Access News has a great post up today examining in detail the 12th amendment and especially the one section of it that is often misinterpreted.

The question: Can presidential and vice presidential nominees be from the same state?

Myth: No, they can't (...with the reasoning being that representatives of one state shouldn't hold that much power.).

Fact: Well, as the good folks at BAN point out, that's not the case. Both nominees can be from the same state, but the electoral college electors from that state would be unable to cast a vote for that ticket. George W. Bush, a Texan, in 2000 chose another Texan (via Wyoming), Dick Cheney. Such a ticket would not have been a problem under the 12th amendment until it came time for the electors from the Lone Star state to vote in the electoral college. But those delegates wouldn't have mattered anyway, right Al Gore supporters? Hey wait. You mean to tell me, Al Gore could have raised this issue, had those 32 electors from Texas excluded and become president? Well, several Texas voters sued to challenge Cheney's residency during the election aftermath in 2000 thinking the same thing. So, Al Gore should have been president and we could have been spared all those claims that he was elected, just not in the electoral college? Yeah, well no. The person, be they presidential or vice presidential candidate, only technically has to be a resident of another state at the time that the electors of the electoral college meet in December to vote. So as evil as Dick Cheney seems to Democrats, at least he didn't switch his residency back to Texas the day after the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore and really rub it in. So you have that going for you Gore fans.

[Insert sound of nearly 51 million Gore voters' hands smacking their foreheads in unison.]

Recent Posts:
New Zealand Schoolgirls, Simpleminded Voters and Presidential Elections

The Electoral College Map (6/22/08)

2008 Primary and Caucus Final Grade Sheet


Jack said...

Wow, I had never heard of any such rule at all!

Robert said...

It was also an issue in 1980 on the Republican side when it looked like Reagan might choose Gerald Ford as his running mate. Ford was by that time a resident of Rancho Mirage CA. I remember distinctly that evening when Barbara Walters cried at getting shut out of a conversation, Ford indicated that he felt very deeply about constitutional issues and that he would not be able to accept the invitation on that basis. The death knell for such a choice, however, was the talk in the press that it could become a Reagan-Ford co-Presidency. The Reagan people were not thrilled with that characterization. We would have to wait until 1993 to see how a co-Presidency would work out.