The Unit Rule

UVA’s Larry Sabato offered an interesting op-ed in Sunday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch on the unit rule.

Never heard of the unit rule? I hadn’t, either.

If no one has received a majority [of Electoral College votes] for president and/or for vice president — the Twelfth Amendment requires the separate counting of ballots for each office — then the House of Representatives gathers to elect a president and the Senate to elect a vice president. The House votes by state, with each delegation — regardless of size — having a single vote.

Can you imagine the uproar? California gets one vote, as does Rhode Island.

I agree with Sabato – fix the rule before it becomes a problem.

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29 thoughts on “The Unit Rule

  1. Just imagine the benefits of getting rid of the electoral college — we could have had a nationwide recount in 2000. Wouldn’t that have been fun?

  2. I’m certainly more shocked by the fact that you didn’t — surely, through no fault of your own — have Government in HS, VJP, than by the fact that Sabato would makes such a proposal.

  3. Vivian,

    I’m not surprised that a lot of people don’t know about the Unit Rule.

    After all, it’s been 184 years since anyone had to worry about it.

    What I am surprised about is that people continue to indulge Sabato’s penchant for thinking of himself as a modern-day James Madison.

  4. Maybe this is what the supreme court was trying to stop from happening in 2000? I believe it has happened once or twice in the past…of course in the 1800’s or so. It should be scrapped, along with the electoral.

  5. And I suppose when you do the same thing with your name, so do you. And? No one’s advocating direct democracy as a means of governing (which is when it sucks). It’s absolutely ridiculous that the US relies on a patchwork of standards, laws, and the good word of electors, to pick a president. I know that a lot of Republican recoil at the concept of representative democracy, but christ it’s appalling that something as simple as one man one vote is just too much democracy for you.

  6. “it’s appalling that something as simple as one man one vote is just too much democracy for you”

    Interesting comment, considering that the Democrats came up with rules that give more delegates to districts that voted their way in the last presidential election, thus making some people’s votes more valuable than others. Then, of course, there is the question of how democratic it is to have one’s nominee chosen by the “superdelegates.”

  7. It’s a wonder how you get through life, Mouse, with the comprehension skills you’ve got. I’d think you’re be stuck to a glue trap, somewhere. Also, you forgot to mention Clinton.

  8. Have you ever managed to develop an actual counter-argument, or do you just go straight for the ad hominem attacks every time?

  9. There has to be an argument to counter. You didn’t make any argument. This is not complicated. For the rest of us, anyway.

    Mouse, even though it’s been patiently explained to you before, I’m going to do it again, succinctly – you’re an idiot. Despite your long and constant presence here, you’ve probably contributed something interesting or useful to the discussion a handful of times (I can’t actually recall any such occasion, but even a stopped clock, etc.) So I’m never going to give more an a couple seconds thought, if that, to anything you say. At best, you’ll get what you got above – your stupid statements labeled as stupid. Nothing more.

  10. Well, just in the past week or so, I have pointed out that it was the Florida Democrats who started the effort to move up their primary. I pointed out that the “unit rule” used to be taught as an important part of our Constitution, since it was that rule which was used to elect Jefferson in 1800. When Vivian brought up the subject of other states that (she thought) had broken the rules, I pointed out that candidates who had campaigned in those states could not receive those states’ delegates’ votes. Finally, I pointed out your ignorance of the fact that the word “copyright” has been used as a verb for over 200 years.

    What have you contributed, besides insults?

  11. “I went straight to college after my junior year in HS and missed government…”

    I’ll bet you didn’t miss it one bit! 😉

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