Eleven states targeted to overturn
2004 Presidential election
by Salvador Astucia, Nov. 17, 2004
MIKE SMITH: Most state constitutions have rules regarding how electors are chosen. Generally, a state Governor cannot just unilaterally decide who that state's electors are going to be.
SALVADOR: Correct. A Governor cannot unilaterally set aside electors who were chosen by popular vote. But a governor could introduce a resolution to be voted on by the state legislature which would set aside the chosen electors due to voter fraud. If it passed, the deed would be done. For states with a Democratic majority in the legislature and a Democratic Governor as well (like West Virginia, for example), the replacement electors would obviously be Democrats. For states without a Republican majority in the legislature, it could become more complex.
CHARLES SAMARDZA: Republican Governors can do the same. Arnie could give California (55 EV's) to Bush.
SALVADOR: I would not have a problem with that scenario for a couple of reasons. First, I would support governors of either party setting aside the popular vote because it would bring about a much needed end to fraudulent popular elections, regardless of the outcome of this particular presidential election. In short, it would solve the vote fraud problem without compromising the integrity of the Constitution.
Second, California's 55 electors alone would not be enough to give Bush a victory if all eleven states previously mentioned would choose Democratic electors, thereby taking a total of 94 electors from Bush. Even if Schwarzenegger appointed 55 Republican electors, Kerry would still have 291 electoral votes and Bush would only have 247. Still, the Republicans have the potential of taking back 136 electors total if all Republican Governors presiding in states that Kerry won (nine states total) would set aside the popular vote and choose Republican electors. If that scenario would occur, my math shows Bush would win with 328 electors to Kerry's 210.*
Although two big states--California and New York--could turn it around for the Republicans by delivering a whopping 86 electors between them, the demographics of both states are highly Democratic. Consequently, the political fallout could be intense. The potential for violence is greater in those two states than in any of the eleven states I listed which could take 94 electors from Bush.
But as the previous person pointed out, a governor alone cannot choose electors. It would have to be approved by the state legislature as well. So that's another variable to consider.
[* NOTE: There were 538 electoral votes total. To win the Presidential election, one of the candidates only needs 270 (more than 50 percent). On Nov. 2, 2004, Bush got 286; Kerry got 252. If eleven states would take 94 electors from Bush and give them to Kerry, as I have proposed, then Bush would only have 192 and Kerry would have 346. At that point, Schwarzenegger's 54 electors would still not be enough to give Bush a majority. Bush would still be 24 electors short, more than Kerry needs now. But if Bush could take back 136 electors from Kerry states with Republican Governors, then Bush would have 328 electors total, making him the winner. (The nine Kerry states with Republican Governors are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.)]
LONE COMEDIAN: Sure, but this is why the Constitution also allows us to keep and bear arms, for when the government refuses to yield to the will of the people.
SALVADOR: According to the Constitution, our government is a republic, which means a few people are chosen to run the government. Your reference to the "will of the people" suggests you think America should be a "true" democracy, a nice concept in theory, but not what the Framers of the Constitution had in mind.
BENJAMIN PAVSNER: Let it ride. Get a better candidate. Not nominating liberal, northeastern senators would help.
SALVADOR: No argument here. I voted for Ralph Nader. Still, I think the process of attempting to overturn Bush's election is important for two reasons. First, it forces Americans to rethink the antiquated notion of popular elections, which are by nature difficult to keep honest. This is probably why the Framers of the Constitution avoided mandating popular elections. Second, by getting eleven states to overrule Bush's election, this would be a grass roots movement in opposition to the Iraq War which was forced on the American public by a handful of un-elected officials.
SCOUT: Sorry, but I suspect such a move would be:
1) Invalid under the election laws established in the state
2) Be overturned by the Courts of the State
3) Subject to being overturned by the Supreme Court
4) Wouldn't matter at this time since the election is a done deal and Kerry has already conceded.
SALVADOR: See responses below to each point:
POINT # 1: "Invalid under the election laws established in the state" - I have found no evidence to support your claim that states have laws which conflict with the United States Constitution regarding the manner in which electors are chosen. There are state laws requiring electors of a given party to cast their ballots in support of that party, but party affiliation is not mentioned in the Constitution, so it is really a moot point in this discussion. If anyone knows of any state law dealing with selection of electors which somehow conflicts with the US Constitution, I would be interested in reading it.
POINT # 2: "Be overturned by the Courts of the State" - I seriously doubt that the State Courts would overturn a decision made jointly by a sitting governor and approved by the state legislature, particularly since the action I am proposing is completely within the guidelines of the US Constitution, and since there is good reason to suspect voter fraud in virtually all states from both Republicans and Democrats alike. The only problem would be political fallout, which is difficult to predict. What is more predictable scenario is the Bush crowd would attempt to get the Republican governors to overturn the popular vote for Kerry. As I stated previously, the Republicans have the potential of taking 136 electors back from Kerry in nine states with Republican governors where Kerry won the popular vote (voter fraud notwithstanding). If that would happen, things could get very interesting.
POINT # 3: "Subject to being overturned by the Supreme Court" - There is absolutely no way my proposal would be overturned by the United States Supreme Court because their job is to interpret the Constitution, which is quite clear on how presidents are supposed to be elected. Frankly, I seriously doubt that the Supreme Court would even listen to any arguments challenging a state's right to choose its electors by any means it chooses, so long as it does so under the direction of the legislature. At best, the US Supreme would say it is a matter for each state to handle.
POINT # 4: "Wouldn't matter at this time since the election is a done deal and Kerry has already conceded." Your assertion that the election is a done deal is factually incorrect. According to the US Constitution, it isn't a done deal until electors from all states cast their votes. Per federal law, electors will cast their votes this year on Dec. 13, 2004. Your second point is accurate. Yes, Kerry has conceded defeat to Bush. To me that means he will not challenge the popular vote because it would be a long drawn-out battle between lawyers and vote counters. What I am proposing is for Bush states with Democratic governors to set aside the popular vote, because of probable voter fraud which likely permeates in all states, and have the Democratic Governors and their state legislatures appoint Democratic electors who will cast their votes for Kerry on Dec. 13, 2004.
MATTHEW WEIGEL: ... I happened to google this and came across a pretty definitive answer [regarding states & popular vote]:
[NOTE: The cited webpage points out that electors for 26 states, and the District of Columbia, are mandated by state law to cast their votes for the candidate of the party they (the electors) represent. This means for those 26 states and DC, the electors are obligated to vote, on Dec. 13, 2004, for the candidates of their party.]
SALVADOR: That's an interesting point, but it has little to do with my suggestion that eleven states which Bush carried, but have Democratic governors, should set aside the elected Republican electors and appoint Democratic electors who will in turn vote for Kerry. The webpage you cited does not address the manner in which electors are chosen, only that once chosen, they must remain loyal to their party when they cast their votes.
JEFF: Salvador, put this much effort into feeding people and see what happens.
SALVADOR: Your point is well-taken, but I am merely promoting an idea. It will take grass roots support to make it happen. But if it does happen, I fully believe we will rid our government of the corruption which presently exists in the way our presidents are selected. If the grass roots can be galvanized into contacting their state representatives and their governors and demanding the 2004 election be overturned, this will certainly do more to help all commendable endeavors, such as feeding the hungry, than any individual effort on my part.
GEORGE LAWRENCE: Hey Sal, you forgot to mention how many times and how recently that actually happened, which is close to zero and not lately :-)
SALVADOR: I don't see why that matters. I am merely proposing something that the founding fathers apparently intended. Presidents should be chosen by electors, who are chosen by the states. This is the essence of what it means to be a republic versus a pure democracy, which America is not and never was.
REV. POINDEXTER: Would you be advancing this sort of scenario if the roles were reversed? This time around the guy who won got both the electoral and the popular vote. It's done. It's finished, even if you don't happen to agree with the outcome.
SALVADOR: In response to your first question: Would I be proposing the same argument if Kerry had won? YES. I voted for Ralph Nader. My objective is to get back to the Constitution which consistently defines the United States as a republic, not a democracy, whereby decisions are made by representatives on behalf of the larger citizenry.
In response to your second comment that the election is over, so I should stop trying to overturn it, the fact of the matter is the true election will not happen until December 13, 2004 when the electors for all 50 States and the District of Columbia cast their votes. All I am saying is Democratic Governors in eleven states which chose Republican electors have the right, under the Constitution, to set aside the Republican electors and pick Democratic electors if the State Legislature approves it. The reason for overturning the so-called will of the people--also known as the "popular vote"--would be voter fraud, which taints the validity of the popular vote.
JOHN COWART: Most (but not all) states have state laws which prescribe how electors *must* vote.
SALVADOR: Yes, you are correct, but I am not proposing that a Governor or state legislature tell electors how to vote. I am suggesting that Democratic Governors of states which chose Republican electors (Bush), through popular elections, throw out the Republican electors because the popular vote--which is not mandated by the Constitution--was compromised by voter fraud. In addition, I am suggesting that the eleven states in question appoint Democratic electors who, in many states, are mandated to vote for the presidential candidate of the electors' party. In this instance, the Democratic electors would obviously vote for Kerry.
BZLRBI: One small problem. When the blood starts filling the streets, they got better firepower than we do.
SALVADOR: I don't believe there will be blood in the streets if electors of eleven states vote Bush out of office on Dec. 13, 2004. But there is already blood in the streets over Americans facing four more years of Bush. A young man shot himself to death at Ground Zero. A middle-aged man set himself on fire near the White House. Many Americans are considering moving to Canada and other countries. The unrest is already here.
SPACEMAN: Looks like in the Democratic Party the inmates have taken over the asylum. I hope some Democrats really try this, as the backlash from the rest of America would utterly destroy the Party for all time.
SALVADOR: I fail to see how using the Constitution to unseat an extremely unpopular president could do anything but help the Democratic party, particularly if they used voter fraud as the basis for setting aside popular vote.
CHARLIE BOARD: Did you feel that way when the Florida legislature was threatening to overturn the popular vote by sending a separate slate of electors four years ago next month?
SALVADOR: Sure, however, there was an obvious conflict of interest because Bush's brother was/is governor of Florida. But in general, I don't have a problem with eliminating the popular vote forever regardless of the outcome because, in my opinion, voter fraud is impossible to avoid.
JIGSAW: Are you telling us that the legally elected president should be removed from office because a minority of voters don't like him? Sounds like fascism to me.
SALVADOR: No, I'm telling you he could and should be removed because widespread voter fraud has tainted the popular vote. If Republican governors wish to respond by setting aside the popular vote for Democratic electors, I would support that as well. Basically I support doing away with the popular vote to select presidents because the process is so corrupt. In addition, in my opinion, I support the concept of living in a republic where the states elect people to vote for president because, quite frankly, the average American is too unqualified. This is why presidential candidates spend so much time debating mundane issues like prayer in school, gay rights, gay marriage, abortion, and so on. Sure these issues are worth debating, but they should not be given top priority in a presidential election when the nation is in the midst of a major war. Dispensing with popular vote will force presidential candidates to discuss less trivial issues because it eliminates the need for politicians to pander to uninformed citizens, and focus instead on concerns of more knowledgeable electors.
JUERGEN: That he [Bush] won the election merely proved the US-citizens' majority's impotence to keep facts apart from propaganda. They are the losers today, and the worldwide community will be the losers tomorrow.
SALVADOR: Exactly! This is why we need to do away with popular elections for choosing presidents and get back to having the states choose their electors to cast more informed votes on behalf of the citizenry. In our present system, the electors cast votes, but it is merely a formality.
PATRICK LEE HUMPHREY: If the Electoral College can be manipulated like that, it's time to toss it out and go with the popular vote -- 50 percent plus one vote needed to avoid a runoff.
SALVADOR: The numbering system used in the Electoral College reflects the Constitution, so I don't have a problem with it per se. What I have a problem with is the manner in which we choose electors. Under the present Electoral College system, states choose electors via popular vote by the citizens of each states. The problem with doing it that way is widespread voter fraud taints the process. The remedy is simple. Chuck the modern system of using popular vote to choose the elector. Let the state legislatures and the governors work out a new way of choosing them for the citizenry, without using the corrupt voting system. I believe the Framers of the Constitution did not mandate the popular vote because they realized it was easy to corrupt.
LERXST: The Governor can NOT overturn or reassign electoral votes. [The state] legislature may do so. Eleven states? Is that all that is needed? Would these eleven utopian miracles have to happen in concert with each other? I can't even get my son to the polls to vote and you want eleven states and their legislative bodies to work together to pull this little coup in the next few weeks? The biggest problem with the Internet is it allows any self-assigned pundit opportunity to tell everybody else what they should be doing. Perhaps it is the only-sometimes-bitter-Native American in me, but Bush won. Deal with it and stop asking us to justify your desires of grandeur.
SALVADOR: Interesting point of view. On one hand, you seem to support the concept of popular elections, while on the hand, you do not believe people should be allowed to use the Internet to voice new ideas, even if those ideas mirror the US Constitution. Regarding your point that my proposal is too vast, too grandiose to be achieved, it may seem like a big deal, but it really isn't. All eleven states do not need to reject Bush's Republican electors in order to overturn the election. Kerry only lacks 18 electoral votes, so theoretically, the election could be overturned by two states. The biggest obstacle is the political fallout. I believe Bush is disliked enough that in general the citizenry would not be hostile to Democratic Governors for setting aside the selection of Republican electors due to probable voter fraud in the popular election. If each governor would make a speech explaining why he/she took the action, and how such an action is completely in line with the Constitution, I believe Americans would accept it.
LOU: I've got to deal with an inarticulate former cokehead Jesus freak representing me and my country for the next four years. This country and our society is more divided than I've ever seen it in my lifetime - and I mean in terms of the rich and poor, in addition to the red vs. blue - and most importantly, important decisions about my life and my family are going to be made by fundamentalist Christian rednecks who are so out of touch with my values and my life, they may as well be from another planet. Canada's looking more and more appealing by the day.
SALVADOR: Before you move to another country, start spreading my idea around. It's a viable way to remove Bush from office, solve the problem of voter fraud, and remain true to the high ideals of the US Constitution in the process. We can have our cake and eat it too.
SWILL: So now we're supposed to ask our governors to select the President and do away with voting altogether?
SALVADOR: We would do away with it for national elections where we select the president and vice-president. Widespread voter fraud has compromised and tainted the popular vote on a national scale, which is probably why the founding fathers left it out of the Constitution. They apparently understood that such a system was destined to be compromised.
ANTHONY: As much as I would've liked for Kerry to win, I have to say that completely undermining democracy is much worse than having Dubya in four more years.
SALVADOR: I hate to break it do you, but the United States Constitution undermined the concept of a true democracy over 200 years ago. That's why the Framers called it a "republic." That's why we refer to America as a "republic" when we place our hands on our hearts and recite the "Pledge of Allegiance" to the American flag.
JOHN LUCAS: Noble idea Salvador but the Democrats are pretty wimpy at this point and most don't have the guts to stand down this President. They didn't even challenge him on this Iraqi war he started.
SALVADOR: I have to agree, but the point is to start electing presidents as the Constitution specified, not to improve the quality of politicians in Washington. My proposal will not solve all of our problems, but it is a start--a GOOD start.
TMURPH: Sounds good. How do we make it happen?
SALVADOR: Just spread my article around to all discussion groups you can think of. And if possible, try to target people and political groups in the eleven states.
Here's the URL:
DLOVICK: Though states are allowed quite a bit of latitude in choosing electors, it would still require you to amend each of the State constitutions for the [eleven] aforementioned governors. I doubt that can be done in the next 30 days....
SALVADOR: For the eleven states in question, if each state legislature would simply pass a resolution, submitted by the governor, to void the Republican electors, due to widespread voter fraud, and replace them with Democratic electors, that should do the trick.
RV CLOIM: The legislatures of the states define the procedure. Those procedures were already defined and followed. Several obstacles would have to be overcome to change that. Primarily, it would be extremely difficult to find a sufficient number of politicians stupid enough to try. If they did try, then two sets of electoral votes would be transmitted to congress from those states. You don't think the previously elected electors are going to just sit back and do nothing? When Congress receives them they will decide which set to open and count. Which set do you think will be opened? There is precedent for all this. But having thoroughly researched the matter, I'm sure you're already aware of that.
SALVADOR: If a Governor and Legislature agree, through a resolution, to set aside Republican electors because of massive vote fraud, and replace them with Democratic electors, the voided Republicans might send their votes to Congress on Dec. 13, 2004, but they would be set aside because the will of their state government would prevail.