Page images
PDF
EPUB

sented a savings annually of approximately $22,000,000 (this amount of savings would be reduced each year proportionately to the reduced cost of the bill as the employees reach the top automatic grades). As originally introduced, veterans could receive the benefits of this act if they entered the postal service within 3 years after the effective date of the act. This time limit has been reduced to July 1, 1950, and eliminated an additional increment of $12,500,000 for each additional year or a savings in the over-all cost of the bill in the amount of $25,000,000.

The following examples are given to show the effect of this legislation on World War II veterans:

Example 1. A World War II veteran who entered the postal service January 1, 1947, after 5 years of military service, under section 1 would be placed in grade 5. As a clerk or carrier his entrance salary would be $3,050 as compared with his entrance salary at the present time of $2,550. When he receives his permanent appointment under section 2, he will receive four additional grades which would place him in grade 9 or in the $3,450 pay bracket. This places him within two grades of the top automatic grade provided in the postal service. Since he entered the postal service on January 1, 1947, he will have completed 2 years in the postal service or have earned two additional grades, which means this employee would be placed in grade 11, which is the top automatic grade as a clerk or carrier.

Example 2. A veteran with 1 year's military service, part of which was served prior to July 1, 1945, employed in the postal service will receive under section 1, 1 year's credit or one grade. He will receive four additional grades when he receives his regular appointment or a total of 5 years or a $500 annual increase in salary based on his military service of 1 year.

Example 3. The veteran with 1 year's military service, no part of which was served prior to July 1, 1945, will receive one additional grade under section 1 or $100 annual increase in salary. He will receive no credit under section 2.

O

PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES PROVIDING FOR THE ELECTION OF PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT

JULY 12, 1949.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed

Mr. GRAHAM, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the

following

REPORT

(To accompany H. J. Res. 21

The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the joint resolution (H. J. Res. 2) proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing for the election of President and Vice President, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the joint resolution do pass. The amendments are as follows:

Page 3. line 10, put a period after the word "disregarded” and strike out the following language: "unless a more detailed calculation would change the result of the election."

Page 3, line 25, renumber “Sec. 3" as "Sec. 4.” and insert a new section 3 to read as follows:

Sec. 3. This article shall take effect on the 10th day of February following its ratification.

GENERAL STATEMENT The committee believes that House Joint Resolution 2 should be passed and that the States should have the opportunity to ratify the proposed amendment to the Constitution. We believe the adoption of this proposed amendment would contribute greatly to the future velfare of our country.

The greatest and most important office in the world is that of President of the United States. It is a basic need of the Nation that the method of his election be fair, just, accurate, certain, and democratic in its operation; that it definitely result in the selection of a President by a method that assures ench State its voting powers under our Constitution and that will reflect the will of the people of the Nation as their rights are established by the Constitution.

Unfortunately, our present system of election lacks even these elementary requirements of a good electoral plan.

Fortunately, the outstanding defects of our present method of election are comparatively easy to remedy. To remedy these obvious defects is the purpose of the proposed amendment.

Each change proposed by your committee for that purpose would conform more closely to the usual methods of popular elections approved by the experience of our country for the election of Senators, Representatives in Congress, and State officials generally.

PURPOSE OF THE RESOLUTION

Only three fundamental changes are proposed:

1. Åbolish Presidential electors and let the people vote directly for President.

2. Change the method of counting votes. The only change proposed here is to quit counting votes contrary to the way they are cast; quit denying credit in the electoral college to the votes of any candidate. In other words, the change proposed is simply to count the votes as they are cast.

3. Eliminate the present possibility, often probability, of Presidential elections being thrown into the House of Representatives. This is accomplished by providing that the candidate receiving the most electoral votes in the country as a whole is elected. Each candidate receiving electoral votes in direct proportion to his popular vote in each and every State. Should there be a tie in the electoral vote, the candidate with the largest popular vote will be elected.

Substantially the same resolution was reported by House committees in the Seventy-second, the Seventy-third, and the Eightieth Congresses without a dissenting vote.

A' BRIEF CONTRAST OF THE PRESENT AND PROPOSED METHODS OF

ELECTION

The present and the proposed methods of election are alike in retaining the present provisions of the Constitution which definitely define the voting power of each State. Under these provisions of the Constitution, each State is given electoral votes in the same number as it has Senators and Representatives in Congress. In other words, each State has the same voting power in electing the President as it has in Congress. There are 531 Members of Congress; there are 531 electoral votes.

ABOLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS

The present provisions of the Constitution require the President to be elected through an intermediate agency called the Electoral College. The people are denied the right of voting directly for the President. He can now be elected only by the votes of Presidential electors.

The Presidential electors are selected in such manner as the Legislature of each State may provide. Each State now provides for the selection of Presidential electors by a plurality vote. The State may, however, at any time select the electors by the legislature or in such other manner as the legislature might see fit to adopt.

While Presidential electors are commonly pledged to vote for a specific candidate for President, they are not legally required to do so.

Ever since the discretionary power of selecting the President was taken away from the Presidential electors, they have performed a function that was useless except for meeting the constitutional requirement that the President must be elected by Presidential electors. They are useless and dangerous encumberance upon our electoral machinery

The proposed change is to abolish the Presidential electors. The people would vote directly for President instead of electing him by proxy as at present.

METHOD OF COUNTING VOTES

The present method of computing popular votes in counting the electoral votes is the outstanding defect and injustice of the electoral college system. Under the unit system of counting State votes the whole vote of the State goes to the one candidate who has the plurality, regardless of how small or how large that plurality may be. In other words, majority votes and minority votes less than a plurality are disregarded.

As stated in the Encyclopedia of American Government decades ago:

The majority of the total popular vote has no constitutional bearing on the choice of President. It could have further stated with equal accuracy that no minority vote less than the plurality vote has any constitutional bearing upon the choice of President.

Under this system of computing votes, the American people in the last 11 Presidential elections from 1908 to 1948, inclusive, have indirectly cast over 372,000,000 votes for President. Of those votes. 163,000,000, or over 44 percent of all cast, were credited in the electoral college contrary to the way voted and as if they were voted for the plurality candidate in each State.

This is a perversion of votes and a disfranchisement of voters that has no legitimate place in a popular form of government. It is a perversion of votes without parallel in the history of popular governments.

The proposed change is to abolish the unit vote. Each candidate would have credit for all his own votes and no credit for the votes of his opponents. If a candidate wins it must be on his own votes, and not on the credit of his opponents' votes.

The atrocity of the present method of counting votes will be elucidated in the further text of this report.

ELIMINATE DECISIONS AND DEADLOCKS IN THE HOUSE OF

REPRESENTATIVES

Under

the present plan Presidential electors are chosen by plurality votes. The Constitution provides, however, that the candidate to be elected must secure a majority of the total electoral vote of the Nation. In case no candidate receives such a majority of the electoral votes, the election is thrown into the House of Representatives. Under the Constitution, each State is given only one vote in such an election in the House. Every State is on an equality—the largest and the small

« PreviousContinue »