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Twelfth Amendment

Twelfth Amendment

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Twelfth Amendment

The Twelfth
Constitutional Amendment provides for one of the most important provisions in
the United States Constitution, and is one of the Amendments that would change
how the United States Government would be shaped and select its leaders. The
Twelfth Amendment was introduced by Congress on December 9th, 1803, and
ratified by the states on June 15th, 1804.

This Constitutional
Amendment would provide for the process in which the President and
Vice-President of the United States would be elected, creating what is now
known as the Electoral College. Though there was already a procedure in place
to elect the President and Vice-President, the original proved to have some
fallacies which were made apparent in the 1796 and 1800 elections.

Prior to the inclusion of the Twelfth
Constitutional Amendment, the procedure called for each elector to cast two
votes and those two votes could not be for two people within the State of
residency of said elector. If one person received the majority of votes, that
person would win the election. If more than one would receive the majority of
votes, it would be up to the House of Representatives to choose one of those
individuals to become President. If no majority could be determined, the House
would choose from five individuals with the most electoral votes. The
Vice-President would be chosen by appointing the person with the second highest
number of electoral votes with the position.

The majority
of votes was not required for becoming Vice-President. If there was a tie for
second place, the Senate would appoint the Vice-President, with each member
casting a vote. However, it was never included in the Constitution whether or
not the current Vice-President could cast a vote that could render a
tie-breaking decision.

Under this system, the 1796 election resulted in
having a President, John Adams, member of the Federalist Party, and Thomas
Jefferson, a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, being elected
Vice-President. This occurred because members of the Federalist Party decided
to use their second vote and disperse it among various candidates, which
allowed for Jefferson to garner the second most electoral votes, thus being
appointed to the position.

In having
two different party members elected to the President and Vice-President
positions, the inherent differences in political agendas and philosophies would
ultimately clash, thus making it extremely difficult to work together. The 1800
election posed another problem with the original procedure, where a tie could
potentially always occur if the Electoral College voted in accordance to their
political party affiliation. This would result in the House of Representatives
undertaking multiple ballots to determine a President.

With the introduction of the Twelfth
Constitutional Amendment, a new system would be implemented regarding the
casting of votes. The actual structure of the Electoral College would not
change, however. Instead of casting two votes for Presidential candidate, the
new Amendment required two distinct votes, one for President and the other for
Vice President. A majority of electoral votes was still required to be elected
to either office or position. In the event that there was no majority, the
House of Representatives would choose a President under the guidelines of the
original procedure.

The only
difference under the Twelfth Constitutional Amendment is that the House would
choose among three of the people receiving the most electoral votes, rather
than the five prescribed in the original process. The Senate would choose a
Vice President in the case of no majority, among the two having the most votes.
If in the case that there are multiple individuals in a tie for second place,
they would also be considered.

A new
procedure introduced by the new Amendment was the requirement of a two-thirds quorum
for balloting procedures. It also provided that if no decision could be reached
for a President by March 4th, the first day of the Presidential term, then the
elected Vice-President would act as the President. However, the Presidency term
date would be eventually revised and changed to January 20th. If no President
or Vice-President were to be elected upon that date, Congress would appoint a
President, which would meet the necessary qualifications to take that position.

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