House Joint Resolution 681 and how we lost the popular vote mechanism..to the fillibuster.Submitted by electronicmaji on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 02:55
Its a interesting story....back in 1968: when Nixon won his first term as President: With 301 of the electoral votes to Humphrey's 191. Althought in the terms of the popular vote: Neither candidate received more than 50% of the vote, and Nixon only won by 31,783,783 votes to Humphreys 31,271,839. Third Party Segregationalist and avowed racist Wallace recieved 9,901,118 votes.
These voting disparties, and several other issues ultimately turned popular favor against the Electoral College. And Emmanuel Celler introduced a piece of legislation to fix these disparaties.
House Resolution 681 called for the following: "An Amendment to the United States Constitution which would have abolished the Electoral College and replaced it with a system wherein the pair of candidates who won at least 40% of the national popular vote would win the Presidency and Vice Presidency respectively. If no pair received 40% of the popular vote, a runoff election would be held in which the choice of President and Vice President would be made from the two pairs of persons who had received the highest number of votes in the first election. Wherein the word "pair" is defined as "two persons who shall have consented to the joining of their names as candidates for the offices of President and Vice President."
The House Judiciary voted 28-6 in favor of the resolution. And President Nixon then endorsed it. Meanwhile 30 states of the 38 required were comitted to ratifying the bill.
The Senate Judiciary passed the bill by a vote of 11 to 6. On September 8th 1970, the debate reached the floor and ended in a fillibuster.
Cloture was attempted twice; coming withing 5 votes of the two-thirds needed to stop the fillibuster. Ultimately the amendment was laid aside so that the Senate could attend to other issues.
The bill was never reconsidered and died with the end of the 91st congress.
Possibly one of the biggest gaffes in political history; and one of the most dissapointing outcomes of the most succesful proposed amendment to the constitution in the past 50 years.