So President Trump, in the midst of this present pandemic of his own making, has floated the idea we should move the coming presidential election from its usual first Tuesday in November. He said he was doing it “…until people can properly, securely and safely vote.” He told us this on Twitter.
No other national event, regardless of how dire, has EVER before cancelled a national election. Two have been postponed but very briefly. For one thing, the occurrence every fourth year on the first Tuesday in November is a matter of law and not choice.
This election is set for November 3, 2020. According to law-makers on both sides of the isle, it will come off that day too.
There was a valid reason for setting the elections where they were scheduled. In 19th century America, most citizens were farmers and lived far from their polling places. People often traveled at least a day to vote and lawmakers needed to allow a two-day window for Election Day.
Weekends were impractical since most people spent Sundays in church. Wednesday was market day for farmers. So, it became Tuesday.
Even November was selected for a reason related to the 19th-century, prevailing, agrarian economy. November was convenient because the harvest would have been completed but the most severe winter weather, impeding travel to the polling place, would not have yet commenced.
By the way, we used to be a nation of laws. Now, we’re a nation of Tweets.
The Attorney General of the United States of America was directly asked whether a sitting US president was able to move the election date in a recent congressional oversight committee meeting. His answer was an excruciatingly disingenuous, “Actually, I haven’t looked into that question under the constitution.”
Well, Mr. Barr, federal law includes bills passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, passed over the president’s veto, or allowed to become law without the president’s signature. The Constitution, as great as it undoubtedly is, is not the only repository of federal authority. You knew that, right?
The Jackson Times-Voice would like for Mr. Barr to review the first chapter, under the 2nd statute passed, by the 28th Congress of the United States of America. It was passed during the second session. The session began on a Monday, the 2nd day of December, 1844 and adjourned the 3rd day of March, 1845.
Chapter 1 of Statute II was entitled, “An Act to establish a uniform time for holding elections for electors of President and vice President in all the States of the Union.” Guess what Mr. Barr? Eventually, that’s exactly what it did.
In 1845, the 28th Congress of the United States of America passed a law that the electors of the President and the Vice-President, shall be appointed in each State on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November of the year in which they are appointed…” This bill went on to be passed by the Senate and then signed into law by the President in 1848.
You may find it in the United States Code. You know, Mr. Barr, that is the book where we (also) keep our federal laws. The ones you swore to uphold, defend, and enforce.
You may want to look in 3 U.S.C. § I. That code section was the result of what Congress passed, the Senate passed, and the President signed.
It sets forth, "The electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President." Emphasis added.
The requirement of the appointment of electors in every fourth year succeeding every election, naturally presumes there was an election. There you go Mr. Barr, there’s your answer.
Invoice from the Times-Voice will go out in today’s mail. Let us know if there is any other federal law you need help finding before actually doing your job.
Of course, we’re being as disingenuous as William Barr. Barr knows well the President can’t cancel the election in which he’s a candidate, “…until people can properly, securely and safely vote.” He may decide that time is never, making him America’s Emperor. Wouldn’t that be grand?
How stupid do you believe our forefathers were? Had they made the country that easy to “take-over,” someone might have done it well before now.
The law is there to stop the miscreant. That is, unless we just start refusing to apply the law. That is, unless we appoint an US Attorney who feigns ignorance of what the law even is.
However, a look at history will fully reveal why this election can’t be “indefinitely suspended.” Here’s why…
During the Civil War, we had an election. It came off November 8, 1864. President Lincoln applauded the decision to hold it as the right one. Lincoln called the election “a necessity” for upholding the nation’s free government.
He went on to say, “It (the election) has demonstrated that a people’s government can sustain a national election, in the midst of a great civil war.”
We held a national election during the “Spanish Flu” epidemic in 1918, though those were mid-terms. They too were socially distancing and wearing masks to the polling places.
We held elections during The Great Depression. Politics over that period of time were as vigorous as ever, believe me.
In 1944 the presidential election was held November the 7th. It was briefly delayed for the same reason the vote was delayed in 1864, but just a matter of days. Why? We were in the middle of World War II.
We voted in 2004 when the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 made the Bush campaign contemplate postponement over fears of a terrorist attack on or near Election Day. Bush thought better of it.
National Security Advisor (at the time) Condoleezza Rice said, “We’ve had elections in this country when we were at war, even when we were in civil war. And we should have elections on time. That’s the view of the president (George Bush).”
We have braved hurricanes and tornadoes to vote. We have voted by flashlight during power outages. With our apologies to the US Postal Service, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night…" has ever stayed America the beautiful from the swift completion of its duty to hold national elections and permit citizens the privilege of self-governance.
This system hasn’t been around this long to fall prey to the Covid-19 pandemic. It won’t fall prey to the tyranny of Donald J. Trump either.
You can take this for whatever you find it worth, but THAT’S THE LONG VERSION!