Many questions surround the transition and the legal process that Americans are a part of as we begin the holiday season. Let’s address a few of these questions by going to the Constitution and United States law to follow the events that are taking place in our nation today.
I heard some legalese about how the federal elections for Congress and the Presidency are to be held on one day. Where does it say that our elections are to be held on one day (not one or two months)? Read on…
Congress has established a date for the selection of presidential electors. The Monday after the second Wednesday in December of presidential election years is that date. (3 U.S.C. 1) This year, the date falls on December 14. This also complies with Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution: “Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”
This statutory provision mandates “holding all elections for Congress and the Presidency on a SINGLE DAY (capitalization added for emphasis) throughout the Union.” (Foster v. Love, 522 U.S. at 70) It is unclear if much will be made of the single day statute now, but it may affect future federal elections.
There is talk about equal protection as an issue in this election because some cities had one process and other cities within the same state had different rules for the same process. The Fourteenth Amendment states that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Several constitutional amendments prohibit discrimination. For example:
Fifteenth Amendment- based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude
Nineteenth Amendment- gender
Twenty-fourth Amendment- poll or any other tax
Twenty-sixth Amendment- age
We may hear more about discrimination in the coming days. Again, it may not affect the outcome of this election but may affect future elections.
These matters are for your consideration and understanding as the legal process is going forward, even during a transition period. How can this be?
- A smooth transition is a necessity for the safety and security of the United States. The Executive Branch is not put together in a few hours. It takes time and preparation.
- The legal process has until December 14 to move forward. All citizens, including a sitting president, are entitled to the due process of law.
A significant amount of information about congressional authority’s scope in elections can be found in a General Accounting Office report to Congress, March 2001. The report can be found here: https://www.gao.gov/new.items/d01470.pdf
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. ??