- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2007

Eliminating the Electoral College

In his Commentary column on the national popular vote plan (“Save the Electoral College,” Saturday), which would award a state’s presidential electoral votes to the national popular vote winner once enough states have signed on, Paul Greenberg asks, “Can this bill be constitutional? Can a state legislature reverse the result of a federal presidential election within its borders?”

The answer to both of these questions is clearly “yes.” State legislatures can allocate their electoral votes however they want, and this is settled constitutional law going back all the way to McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1 (1892) and reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000).

The U.S. Constitution provides that “Each State shall appoint [presidential electors], in such Manner as the legislature thereof may direct” (Art. II, S.1, cl. 2). State legislatures can do anything they want with their electoral votes — they don’t even need to hold elections.

In South Carolina, the state legislature directly appointed its electors until 1860, and no one ever thought it was unconstitutional. Colorado was admitted into the union on Aug. 1, 1876 — without enough time to organize a presidential election — so its legislature directly appointed electors that year. Even today, two states, Maine and Nebraska, do not use a statewide “winner take all” system, and this is clearly immune to constitutional challenge. (They use a congressional district system.)

Or, state legislatures could hold elections and then change the outcome if they don’t like it, as Florida’s legislature almost did in 2000. During the controversy, bills were introduced for the legislature to directly appoint its own slate of electors, overriding the election results, whatever the courts might decide. Florida’s House voted to do so, and its Senate would have also, until the Supreme Court weighed in and let them off the hook. This would have been accepted under federal statutory law (3 U.S.C. S 5).

So the national popular vote plan clearly is something that states can do if they want. In fact, it’s the only way to (effectively) get rid of the Electoral College without having to amend the Constitution.

I have heard plenty of good arguments that the national popular vote plan might not be such a good idea, but it is clearly constitutional.

DOUGLAS E. MCNEIL

Director

Marylanders for Democracy

Baltimore

Immigration strawmen

Angela Kelley of the National Immigration Forum says the solution to the illegal immigration problem is somewhere “between automatic citizenship, which nobody is advocating, and mass deportation” (“Bush avoids endorsing GOP stance on aliens,” Nation, Tuesday). Well, no one is advocating mass deportations, either.

In fact, there is a third choice: attrition through enforcement. Vigorous workplace enforcement will turn off the jobs magnet, and illegals will begin returning voluntarily to their own countries, where they should be demanding of those governments what they have no right to demand of ours.

DAVE GORAK

Executive director

Midwest Coalition to Reduce

Immigration

LaValle, Wis.

Political correctness and victimhood

Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer not only lost the national championship game, but she lost a golden opportunity to teach her team a valuable lesson in life instead of falling into the tired old PC “victim” trap (“Rutgers shows faces of slur,” Nation, Wednesday). She should have said in response to the Don Imus remarks: “Imus? Who’s he? Never heard of him. And based on his ratings, not many other people in this country have, either. Now that I’ve heard his statements, I’d like to say that my team and I value the advice of trusted friends, family and similar role models. Unfortunately, Don Imus is none of the above. His statement is nothing, means nothing and amounts to nothing.”

Such a statement would have taught her players a better lesson than the same old “we’re victims, so give us reparations” line.

MICHAEL BECK

Saline, Mich.

Protecting troop convoys

In stating that U.S. soldiers are being rushed through training before deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, Robert H. Scales is correct (“Is the Army headed for collapse?” Op-Ed, March 30). This is precisely why Raydon Corp., a leader in military training simulation and technology, recently created a new program that expedites the acquisition and implementation of critical convoy operations training systems for U.S. troops.

Raydon’s Convoy Training Services/Rental Program allows the military to rent the company’s convoy training assistance when and where it’s needed most, bypassing the sometimes lengthy procurement process required for purchasing the innovative training system. Using operations and maintenance dollars, the military can take advantage of the rental program to make convoy training immediately available for troops being deployed into combat.

Three convoy trainer configurations are available from Raydon: the Virtual Combat Convoy Trainers (VCCT), Virtual Convoy Operations Trainers (VCOT) and Virtual Tabletop Convoy Trainers (VTCT). The newest element in Raydon’s interoperable convoy training package is the Virtual Warrior Interactive (VWI). Through VWI, for the first time ever, dismounted soldiers can train and interact in real time with soldiers in networked convoy, tank, armored-fighting-vehicle and helicopter trainers. Having this element offers the military combined arms virtual training (CAVT).

All of Raydon’s training systems are designed for easy deployment, maintenance and operation. With appended, crew-station and tabletop options, the virtual convoy trainers can be configured to ideally match military training needs, from stateside military bases to soldiers in forward positions around the world.

Raydon’s rental option saves the military money and time, which are both in short supply, but far more important, it saves the lives of U.S. soldiers by giving them essential training before and in some cases during deployment.

DON ARIEL

President

Raydon Corp.

Daytona Beach, Fla.

Don’t ignore Armenian genocide

In her zeal to prove that there is more free speech regarding the Armenian genocide in Turkey than the United States, Tulin Daloglu resorts to a very selective use of facts (“Genocide or not,” Op-Ed, Tuesday). She doesn’t inform readers that there have been dozens of events on Turkish-Armenian relations in the United States, including one at Harvard just recently that featured professors from Turkey and America.

In praising Turkey for having its first academic conference in 90 years on the 1915 massacres, Miss Daloglu fails to mention that Turkey’s minister of justice publicly called the Turkish professors who participated “traitors” and twice blocked the conference. She also hopes readers forget that the most prominent Turkish-Armenian who attended the conference, newspaper editor Hrant Dink, was assassinated in broad daylight in the streets of Istanbul just three months ago.

Finally, she hopes everyone ignores the elephant in the room, the Turkish government and its multimillion-dollar genocide denial campaign. The reason why Armenian Americans, using their First Amendment rights, were able to persuade universities to cancel certain events was because they were able to show that the organizers were acting as fronts for a foreign government trying to corrupt American academia to pursue its denial campaign.

DIKRAN KALIGIAN

Watertown, Mass.


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