Three Congressmen, Alcee Hastings, Corrinne Brown and Carrie Meek, all members of the Congressional Black Caucus, have called for a formal debate on the legality of the Electoral College votes from Florida.
Congressman Hastings said, “the American people are looking to us not only for public outrage, but also for leadership. In this case leadership calls for courage.”
The process of congressional challenge is little-known and the fact that there is a serious possibility of one when the Florida electors are presented for congressional certification on Saturday has not been properly reported.
These are the criteria for an electoral challenge:
1. To be a legal challenge, it must be submitted by at least one congressman and one senator.
2. Each house is then required to debate the issue for two hours. A simple majority in both houses is needed to uphold the challenge.
3. Article 3, Chapter 1 of the Federal Code gives Congress the final decision on electors. After the election of 1876, during which Florida electors were also disputed, Congress specified that such decisions were to be made politically, not by the judiciary, so whatever action Congress takes on this challenge will be final.
4. The law requires that the electors be “lawfully certified” under 3 USC, Section 15. This means that the electors must be chosen “under and in pursuance of the laws” of Florida. (3 USC 6)
Those opposed to the acceptance of the Florida electors will argue that they are not certified under the code because the Supreme Court held both the Florida election laws and the recount certified by Katherine Harris unconstitutional. Those in favor of acceptance will argue that the language of the Supreme Court’s decision is intended to be interpreted narrowly, and not to extend to the broader issues of constitutionality that the challengers will raise.
There is presently considerable negotiating taking place among congressmen, with the issue focusing on whether or not a senator will also back the challenge. Should this happen, the outcome would be an open question, given the closeness of the Republican majority in the House and the fact that the Senate is split 50-50. Ironically, if the challenge were to be upheld by the House, Al Gore would cast the deciding vote in the Senate.
The mainstream media has disgraced itself by not reporting this. As a result, the public has had no chance to express its opinion to its elected representatives.
Persons wishing to express their opinions on this matter should do so today. You can e-mail your senators and congressmen or call them easily.
To find out how to contact House members, click here.
To find out how to contact Senators, click here.
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