Electoral College, Galvin and the Tea Party

Yesterday was the meeting of the Massachusetts Electoral College. All 11 of us Electors voted unanimously for Barack Obama and Joe Biden – surprise!  It was a wonderful event full of pomp, ceremony, history and lots of speechifying.

There were many moving remarks. My favorite was the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Bill Galvin. It just tickles me to see a guy using such passionate words about the importance of the individual vote to our democracy and the responsibility of protecting the election process, while maintaining his usual reserved, almost somber manner.

It reminds me of the first time I met Galvin many years ago. We were doing voter registration following a new citizen swearing in ceremony at Fanueil Hall. When we arrived, there was the Secretary of the Commonwealth and a staffer. We didn’t know quite why he was there or what to expect. In his usual stone face and a sack lunch in hand, he pulled a sandwich from the bag, while beginning to instruct us. “They come out that door. You need to spread out with plenty of clip boards with Voter Registration Forms. They will stop to take pictures with there family and be gone in 5 minutes.” Registering new citizens to vote is exhilarating and he was really enjoying it.

So the letter I received from an apparent Tea Party member a few days before the Electoral College railing against immigrants initially just annoyed me. But as I read it through it sounded like a citizen genuinely concerned about the election and imploring me to be a faithless elector and vote for Mitt Romney. So I considered answering the letter and correcting the many factual errors and explaining why I would be voting for Obama, not Romney. But there are so many errors in the letter below and so little chance of anything I would say making any difference. Anyone have a suggestion?

Electoral College Representative

I implore you to simply hear me out. I am no one important; I am not affiliated with any politician. I am not a celebrity, or accompanied by a multitude of followers. I am merely one lone American, but I was raised to believe that everyone, every voice in America counts. I know you may not agree with any of what I am about to say, but as a fellow citizen expressing my right to voice my free speech, and to petition you as an essential representative as a voting elector in this election year (falling under the Constitution’s first Amendment), I just ask that you would read my words with an open mind and listed to what I have to say. If you at the very least do this, I will be grateful.

As you must know there has been much controversy surrounding this very tight election. It would seem crazy to many, and possibly even you that I am writing this letter. But because of my own conviction I couldn’t leave this to rest without exercising the freedom we have been given by God and our forefathers. I believe that is the issue the election, above all else, has truly been about. Freedom. You have a heavy task, a great responsibility, of this I do not envy. We live in a republic, where as Americans we vote, and then we entrust you to hear our voice and to interpret that voice.

Unfortunately, many believe that voice was lost because this was not, in fact, a free and honest election. I do not want to take up too much of your time, so I will try to make my arguments brief, but I hope I can at least be one voice among thousands of Americans signing petitions everyday to not only the President, but Congressmen/women in Washington. These include the request to investigate the 70,000+ calls of suspected voter fraud activity on Election Day alone and to recount the election (among other concerns, which I will get to later.) However no action has been taken on behalf of the White house or Congressional representatives from either side of the aisle. As I write this, there are (at least) petitions on two websites, one on ‘We the People’ growing by the minute with just under 65,000 signatures, and another on ‘Petition2Congress’ that also continues to grow with almost 117,000 signatures. I believe this is only a sample of citizens who are frustrated with the display from the election. For example, I feel for the voters who were still waiting in line to vote when the election was essentially “called.” The election is not decided until YOU cast your vote. The petitions for the recounts are not the only ones to be considered. Just days after the election multitudes of petitions sprang up for states to secede from the union. Again, many may call these citizens crazy. I myself hope this is not the future of our country, but to me it is evidence something was indeed inherently wrong in the results from November 6, 2012. Just consider some of the other disconcerting factors that may have affected the outcomes of the current popular vote.

These examples (many others possibly unknown) of illegal activity have so far had little or no consequences:

  • Thousands of illegal aliens registered to vote as Democrats
  • 100% vote for Obama in some districts such as Philadelphia, PA
  • More votes than registered voters (several states)
  • Voters who showed us and were told they already voted when they hadn’t, (as someone had signed/voted in their name)
  • A case where Republican ballots were thrown into a river where not all could be recovered with an unknown loss of votes (estimated hundreds+)
  • Improper screening of voter registration employees: Caused employees to be fired who had already caused an indefinite number of voter registration errors
  • Undefined loss of military votes because of miscommunication of deadlines and counting o ballots(military servicemen/women surveyed said the would vote Romney at least 2-1,) the very citizens fighting to protect us and our freedom to vote
  • Malfunctioning voting machines automatically choosing President Obama for voters who tried to vote for Mitt Romney-and the inability many time because of faulty machines to know if the count was accurate

The only response these concerns have received since the election is complete dismissal or that “they will continue to be monitored and taken into consideration for future elections,” but no investigations or criminal actions have taken place, despite thousands of Americans asking questions from both parties. All have been ignored by the media and those governing our nation such as representatives only toting their responses like the quote above with campaign propaganda and rationalizing questions as myths, conspiracy theories and radical ideals.

What I am leading up to or asking you to do is completely unprecedented and what some would consider a “faithless vote” (for your state) based on the “seeming” evidence of the current numbers, but I would ask you to consider what may go beyond the statistics, polls and numbers. Listen to the conviction of your heart, and of your fellow citizens. In the end, I will accept your decision, whatever you choose to do, but I have to follow my own convictions, for the hope of the country, for the love of our country, and ask you to vote for the candidate who can lead us out this place of desolation to which we have come. I am asking you to vote for Mitt Romney. I think the evidence is clear, I think so many voices and votes have been lost, please don’t fail them. The millions of Americans that cast these ballots believe in what Mitt Romney can do for our country. That he truly cares for our nation, that he has the skills, and experience to lead us out of this depression and to ensure that the freedom we have found for since the founding of our country will always be cherished and never be lost-especially during an election.

When I think about freedom, the first thing I think about is my husband. He’s a veteran who served in combat. Most of the men he served with didn’t come back. Like many servicemen, they all fought bravely and like may others their sacrifices, the blood shed, their stories, the protection they provided for the lives of every American, may never be known to the masses, but the freedom they swore to uphold is. I pray that it will never be forgotten, lost or taken for granted, especially for the sake of veterans who still suffer everyday. Do not let their sacrifice, of the sacrifices of generations before us be in vain. The essence of our freedom starts with free and honest elections. Make sure YOUR vote, no matter what it is, is based on your own conviction of the voice of EVERY American, not just your party affiliation. This I beg of you.

Finally, I wanted to leave you with an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, take it as you will:

:…In every stage of these Oppression We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury, A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Thank you for reading and hearing what I had to say. I pray that God will lead you in your decision.

May God bless you and our great nation. Your fellow citizen,



Discuss

27 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. That's a really long letter

    Seems to be some misplaced paranoia going on there.
    Frankly I don’t think you should even have the ability to change your vote from who your state voted for, as an “Elector”. A scary idea that these Electors can be “faithless” and veto the populace if they so choose.

    On election night I was half hoping that Obama would lose the popular vote but win the electoral, so the elitist GOP might be bestirred to join with the rest of us small-d democrats and finally do something about the ridiculous Electoral College. It’s an archaic, stupid institution, and should be eliminated, IMO.

  2. He certainly hit all the Fox News talking points.

    Does MA law require electors to vote for the state winner, and does he seriously contest the idea that MA went for Obama?

    • Some states do have laws

      requiring electors to vote for the candidate chosen by the state voters, Massachusetts does not. The State Democratic Party does require those elected to the Electoral College to sign a written promise, but it is unlikely that’s legally enforceable. Even so, it’s extraordinarily rare.

      Senator Eldridge’s bill to require the Electors to vote for the winner of the national popular vote is the best solution to many of the problems. First, presidential candidates would need to address issues in all states, not just the swing states of Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida…

      • There IS a better solution.

        It would be to apportion electoral votes to reflect the votes in Congressional districts. Maine and a couple of other states do this.

        It would go along way towards eliminating the bi-partisan hegemony of a handful of toss-up states and turn the Presidency back into a 50 state race again by eliminatiung winner-take-all, but would not require states to ignore the votes of their own citizens in favor of a President (Cheney) elected somewhere else. It also doesn’t require a consitutional amendment to go into effect for 2016.

        • It would also turn the election of the president...

          …over to the state legislatures, which kept the house in GOP hands this year through massive gerrymandering. No thanks.

        • Just when the holidays

          are making me feel warm, fuzzy and willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Republican sincerity – a cold slap of reality. Thank you porcupine! Didn’t realize someone could argue with a straight face that the winner of the popular vote is a substandard way of picking our President. Ha ha.

        • Nice to see you back

          But this is an excellent reason to prefer the status quo.

        • A profoundly awful idea

          in large part for the reasons stated by johnt001. Do we really want the presidency determined by the vicissitudes of the goings-on in 50 state legislatures??

          Far better, PP, would be enacting the National Popular Vote law in enough states for it to work. That also would not require a constitutional amendment, and would solve the swing-state problem in the most rational manner: the person with the most votes wins. Are you in?

          • While I would have enjoyed seeing 4 MA electoral votes go to Bush...

            …McCain, etc., I suppose I WILL enjoy having all eleven go to the Republican who wins the NPV just as much. Will BMG send electors to vote for Pres. Cheney?

  3. This is awesome!

    Someone reaching out to discuss their concerns and opening the door to a dialogue that could be informative and mature. It’s true that there is misinformation here, and you have an opportunity to be informative without adding bricks to the brick wall. It’s your job as a leader to understand why these perspectives exist, and to inform without judging. The positive result of having this person feel respected in the dialogue will be that she may promote YOUR message going forward instead of the one she currently holds.

    • No, this is sick.

      People do not innocently hold these nutball “facts” to be true, and they will not be weaned from them by some loving attention. They embrace them to reenforce their prejudices. It’s a completely hedonic activity.

      But how does anyone get pleasure from believing in phony voter fraud, Obama birth certificate, or any of that malarkey?

      Many of us entertain, and are even enriched by, myth, but what’s the underlying psychology that gains gratification from that sort of fantasy? And believes it to be literally true?

      And I disagree that Sue Kennedy has any obligation to engage with a dining room table, though if she chooses to do so I wish her luck.

  4. Sue, this person raises the specter of voter fraud as the basis

    for asking electors to overturn President Obama’s election victory. Yet she provides no citations to back up her claims, which would enable you to judge their veracity.

    If she’s serious in her petition to you, she has a responsibility to back up her examples. I’d ask her to do so.

  5. Are presidential electors' addresses made public?

    I’m curious as to how this person knew how to contact you.

    • Not sure if they are public

      But easily found on the MDP website for those who are DSC members.

    • I'm curious also.

      Thanks Kate. I did find a blog from an Elector in Washington State complaining about the same letter.
      Pretty impressive for someone to spend so much time writing and mailing these letters. Its just unfortunate her concern is based on an article meant to be humorous, from a satirical website.

      • Two questions

        How does one become an elector?

        Would you have voted for Romney had he won the popular vote? Even I there was an electoral tie?

        If the answer is no than quit talking about NPV and popular voting compacts. Congressional district is the best idea. Opens every state to competition without killing grassroots campaigning. Having done my share of door knocking in swing states I say its the best way to get votes out. Our ground game was better than theirs since Obama believes in grassroots. We could also have a situation where a Bloomberg becomes President with 33% of the vote and just does huge ad buys. The EC forces you to get a majority
        of states on your side and to do grassroots campaigning. Though putting it at the district level puts more states in play and aligns your electoral vote with a geographic area. Also I don’t see how conservative state legislatures change this proposal and would love to be enlightened.

        • And

          Until we get money out of politics I think the EC helps shield us from a corporate candidate since ad buys are still subject to a myriad of state regulations, federalizing the vote would make it that much easier for campaigns to be entirely run out of the few locks between Madison Avenue ad Wall Street.

        • The Massachusetts Democratic State Committee

          elects the Democrat slate of Electors and the Republican State Committee elects the Republican slate of Electors.
          I was elected to vote for Barack Obama and there are no circumstances I can currently conceive of to be an “Faithless Elector”. If I had been elected to vote for the winner of the popular vote, I would have honored that obligation – even if I personally disagreed.
          Grassroots campaigning would rise in importance with a NPV. Advertising dollars are mostly concentrated in swing states, replacing that with swing congressional districts would be a half step in the right direction, except Republican State Legislatures have been busy gerrymandering Congressional Districts into majority Republican.
          NPV would make each individual vote equal. The Obama campaign skipped my door, to knock on New Hampshire doors multiple times. That means that the Presidential campaigns are also spending more time discussing Cuba than NE fishing regulations.

          • Thanks

            For your answers. I understand how you became an elector and the prohibition on faithless electors would prohibit you from independently enacting an NPV, though I appreciate you would stand by that principle if allowed to. I am troubled by how a Constitutionally specified office is choose. by party slates but recognize you had nothing to do with that.

            We are a democratic republic, and the electoral college was a compromise, much like Senate allocation, designed to give states a say in the process. We can argue that the three occasions it “failed” by not being aligned with the popular vote subverted democracy, but the elections within the states were democratic and required candidates to earn votes in places they would otherwise ignore. It requires candidates to make direct pitches to voters and volunteers to knock door to door. I suspect the change to an NPV format would end this, we would see giant media campaigns because personal contact with the voters would be irrelevant and state based efforts would cease. Seeing that most undecided voters live in swing states that’s where the campaigns would still be. Unless you want blue mass to become less Republican it is doubtful many Romney campaigners would have door knocked here or he’d have spent resources here under NPV either since his percentage here is still negligible. He might’ve bothered with CA or NY but those states would likely get swamped with ads rather than personal contact. And seeing as no red states have signed on to the compact its a non starter and will be until the GOP is on the short end of the stick, but I suspect, as was the case with filibuster reform when Bill Frist proposed it, many Democrats would find newfound love for the college.

            Grassroots elections are most common at the local level, and max out at the state level. Based on my experience its hard to nationalize local races, but a Presidential campaign is in effect 12-18 state level campaigns rather than a national one. As recently as 1984 when 49 states, including this one, went for Reagan, we has national campaigns but not in this era if polarization. The polarization would preclude a national campaign if we switched to NPV-but we would expand the field of state campaigns from the 12-18 states now to a much bigger field, closer to 40. New England would still get ignored in either change (NH, CT and ME maybe not). But the substantial number of Republicans in IL or CA would no longer be disenfranchised, neither would southern blacks and Democrats in general. Texas would be competitive.

            A good model is the Dem primary in 2008 where delegates were allocated by states and every state got attention. A national same day primary would result in a Hillary victory and would’ve been an air war only. Grassroots campaigns won the campaign for Obama, say goodbye under NPV

  6. Porcupine,

    can you (or someone) elaborate on who is resigning and pleading guilty to absentee ballot abuse? I haven’t heard that story yet.

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