Conspiracy Theorists Chant in Unison: “It Was Rigged!”
NEW YORK (November 4, 2015) It’s unlikely. And the real question isn’t whether this or any election was corrupted but how the public can fight corruption. More Americans agree that our political process needs reform than have agreed on anything in decades. Congress, the Administration, the states, and the courts have failed to maintain its integrity while weakening the public's role both intentionally and not. Until we restore it, we can’t address any issue without making a new mess or at the very least wasting our efforts.
One new reform measure already has a history of stirring things up. Its website, RepairRestoreSafeguard.org, shows how to evaluate the many proposed solutions competing for the public’s and Congress’ attention. When a preliminary version was sent to 7,300 Americans this spring it used one potentially dangerous pending resolution as an example of what not to do. Recipients prevailed on Congress – and the resolution was withdrawn. Congress even reassigned the bill’s number.
An anti-corruption Constitutional amendment may seem impossible: after all, it has to pass Congress and the state legislatures, and if corruption is the problem how can it? Even when an effective reform statute passes affected interests immediately start trying to repeal it, water it down or render it ineffective. This plan avoids divisive issues, focusing on repairing, restoring and safeguarding the public’s effectiveness in the political process for three reasons:
• this is a critical need,
• it can’t be corrected by lesser methods,
• and it gives the public tools that can be used to benefit all other issues.
It relies on timing, public participation and above all the Constitution itself. Unlike most proposed reforms it builds out from the Constitution instead of pasting onto it, developing existing clauses to reform campaign finance and end gerrymandering while cutting a few self-granted powers of parties and corporate interests. By treating the public’s political functions as a system for the first time we can stabilize this aspect of governance and keep it stable when the unexpected happens.
It doesn’t fit into a sound bite. It doesn’t fit onto a protest sign. But we can’t afford to settle for less. This final version, anonymously drafted to keep the focus on its content, was submitted to Congress in June, 2015. It’s not a cure for corruption or error. It only keeps public political tools in the public’s hands.
It’s time to stop theorizing, take a deep breath and solve the problem.
The False Promise of OpDeny270
Ignore confusion tactics!
Just vote your preference.
A dangerous scam called "OpDeny270" is targeting admirers of Senator Sanders.
Its odd premise is, "Except in nine states, people who intended to write in Sen. Sanders should vote for Dr. Stein instead. Since Dr. Stein can't win, this will just prevent any candidate from receiving 270 electoral votes. Then the people can 'invoke Amendment XII twice,' the House of Representatives will be unable to elect a President, and next year the incoming Congress will elect Senator Sanders."
Why writing in Sen. Sanders wouldn't have the same effect is never explained. (It would.)
Why the Republican-dominated House wouldn't just elect a Republican President is only explained as, "They hate Mr. Trump," as if they'd rather let Sen. Sanders, a Democratic Socialist, be elected. (They wouldn't.)
The scam attempts to use Sen. Sanders' following to get a Republican President.
Critics of the scam are invariably called pro-Republican to confuse that following.
It's true that if no candidate receives 270 electoral votes, Amendment XII empowers the House of Representatives to elect a President from the top three vote-getters. But the outgoing House, which in this session has a Republican majority, begins the process.
An amendment can repeal a previous amendment in its entirety.
For example, Amendment XXI repeals Amendment XVIII. Its first section says so.
From Amendment XXI, Section 1:
"The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed."
But unless it says it repeals an entire previous amendment, an amendment can only revoke text that it directly contradicts. Amendment XX doesn't repeal Amendment XII's full text.
From Amendment XII:
"The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President."
Note the word "immediately". The procedure begins with the outgoing House, not the incoming House.
XX doesn't revoke this because its relevant clause picks up where the above clause leaves off. If the outgoing House fails to elect a President by the time the new term begins, the incoming House continues the process.
But a Republican-dominated House won't let the power pass from them without electing a Republican President. They won't choose Senator Sanders!
From Amendment XX:
"If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, [...]"
This means: If no President gets 270 the House can continue to vote on it until they elect someone. The people can’t "invoke Amendment XII twice" to force the House to accept someone.
Note the word "chosen" in both XII and XX. Amendment XX uses it here instead of "elected" to prevent any confusion about the outgoing House's duty.
It should also be noted that if neither outgoing nor incoming House elects anyone by Inauguration Day, Congress will be able to claim that Amendment XX lets the full Congress choose anyone they want, even someone who wasn't running (they still won't want Senator Sanders unless the House turns over to a Democratic or independent majority). The Supreme Court will uphold their right to make the rule.
From Amendment XX:
“[…]If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term […] then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified;”
By saying the Vice President elect would serve until the matter was addressed it also says that a VP could be elected without a President being elected. They can't be elected separately by the people, but Congress can elect them separately.
This is relevant to "OpDeny270" because the same amendment, in the same paragraph, also addresses a similar situation: if neither the President nor the VP elect is qualified to serve.
Continuing where the above quote stops:
“and the Congress may by law
provide for the case wherein
neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President,
or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected,
and such person shall act accordingly
until a President and Vice President shall have qualified.”
This gives Congress carte blanche to pick anyone they want, whether running or not, to act as President and VP until a President & VP "qualify".
Neither one qualifying is analogous to neither one being elected. In the Constitutional crisis of neither a President nor a VP being elected (a situation not directly covered), Congress could claim that the procedure used for the analogous situation (of neither a President nor a VP qualifying) should be used.
Such a claim would be supported by the part we indicated with […] in the middle of the first quote.
“or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify,”
This means the VP elect would serve temporarily in either situation, and would serve until a President is qualified.
What you should note is that the clause starts out covering 2 situations (not elected OR not qualified) but only ends with “until a President shall have qualified;” not “or elected”. This clearly considers the analogous situations interchangeable.
Because of the error, if neither a President nor a VP is elected by Inauguration Day Congress can choose anyone they like to serve temporarily. The Supreme Court would uphold their claim.
But wait! There's more!
The above should be enough to show that letting the election fall to Congress is always dangerous.
But there’s one more clause to consider:
Candidates for President & Vice President run as a unit. They can't be elected separately by the people. But in Amendments XII and XX elections for President & Vice President are treated as separate elections. If no Presidential candidate receives 270 Electoral votes the House chooses from among the top three vote-getters, but in the meantime the Senate chooses the Vice President from among the top two vote-getters.
From Amendment XII:
“The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President,
shall be the Vice-President,
if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed,
and if no person have a majority,
then from the two highest numbers on the list,
the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; […]”
The outgoing Congress begins the voting. If either body elects someone before the end of the session that person is elected to that office.
And if by Inauguration Day the House hasn’t agreed on a President but the Senate has agreed on a Vice-President, the chosen Vice President will become acting President until the full Congress elects a President (as above).
Remember Amendment XX:
“[…]If a President shall not have been chosen
before the time fixed for the beginning of his term […]
then the Vice President elect shall act as President
until a President shall have qualified;”
Both the House and Senate currently have Republican majorities. If the outgoing House fails to elect a President (the Republican will be Mr. Trump), the incoming House will take up the task, still limited to the top three.
If they haven’t chosen a President from the top three by Inauguration Day but the outgoing Senate elected a Vice President (the Republican will be Gov. Pence), that VP will become our acting President until the full incoming Congress elects an acting President from anyone they want. Unless both the Senate and the House turn majority-Democratic or independent, the new President will be a Republican of their choice.
If they are split, a compromise may be reached. The most likely: since Gov. Pence will already be Vice-President, a deal will be struck to choose Mrs. Clinton if she gives up all campaign promises or other policies that are unacceptable to the Republican party. This wouldn't be very acceptable to the Sanders supporters who are the scam's target.
By the way, neither amendment says how the very last part would be done: after the acting President & VP are elected by Congress, how would a President and Vice President "qualify"?If it took four years to decide that,
Congress’ freely-chosen President and VP would serve a full term in the meantime.
As a matter of Constitutional strategy, then, OpDeny270 is nonsense.
Just vote your preference.
(if you live in Hawaii, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, or Oklahoma: remember, these states don't allow write-ins. It's OK in any other state.)
As a "strategy" or "tactic", OpDeny270 is nonsense.
But that’s not its greatest danger.
The people who brought it to you are counting on a psychological factor in voting: when people are confused about voting they tend not to vote because opting out is the easiest option. Psychology is the real OpDeny270 strategy: Confuse people about voting so they won’t vote at all. Then the election can be stolen more easily.
Don’t let anyone confuse you out of voting.
Don’t worry about OpDeny270 or any other "secret" or "tactic" or "strategy".
Just vote your preference.
The best option is always to vote.
Don't give up your power!
Note: This page is not part of the proposal.
Actions and opinions of amendment supporters do not reflect the content or purpose of the amendment.
Some press releases, and the "Addenda" page regarding the amendment’s preliminary version of January-May 2015, have been removed. They are available for historical purposes only, by writing to RepairRestoreSafeguard@gmail.com. The amendment supporters who created this website have applied for 501c(4) status. Not all of the opinions lawful for wholly private organizations are lawful for tax-exempt ones.
Some pages were originally press releases.