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Authored: November 18, 2016

Last Revision: January 31, 2017

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1)


for U.S. Nationwide Elections
A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1):

"The vote of every U.S. citizen, whether in the states, the territories, or
overseas, shall not be disenfranchised.
In the election of nationwide offices, the share of elective power for each
state or territory shall be their population divided by the total population of
the nation as a whole, as determined in the last census.
States and territories shall determine how their share of elective power is
distributed among candidates in nation-wide elections."
---------------------------------------------------------------------In effect, this language would replace the description in Article II, Section 1, second paragraph, which
currently reads:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a
Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to
which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or
Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an
Elector.
And:

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which
they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
And also, the following language from Amendment 12:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and
Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with
themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in
distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists
of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and
of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit
sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the
Senate;The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of
Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;The
person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such
number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and
With the process of determining President and Vice President when the greatest number of tallied election
shares are equal, referring to the House of Representatives as described further in Amendment 12.

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Authored: November 18, 2016

Last Revision: January 31, 2017

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1)


for U.S. Nationwide Elections
It would also in effect replace the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution as the District of Columbia would
receive its proportional share of electoral power as any other state or territory would under this proposal.

--------------------------------------------------------------------This proposed Constitutional Amendment would do the following:

Eliminate the disenfranchisement of those in the territories of the United States from the
Presidential election.

Eliminate the disproportionate electoral advantage of smaller states over larger states
due to their representation in the Senate and for representation in the House of
Representatives for a smaller population size than 1/435th of the total population among
the states and the District of Columbia.

Instead of generalizing to the size of a state or territory to the number or representatives


in Congress, the population of a state or territory, as measured in the last Census, over the
total population among the states and territories is the share of electoral power given,
which is a much more precise and equitable means to represent the will of the electorate
across the nation.

This places our republic in a much more fair and equitable system for presidential elections,
more approximate to the one person, one vote ideal. Under this proposed amendment, one vote
in one state or territory would be equal in power to one vote in any other, with the exception of
variance in the population in each state or territory that would have occurred since the last
Census.
---------------------------------------------------------------------To demonstrate the effect of these changes, below are the computed results for past elections
comparing the Electoral Vote as cast, the likely effect of the proposed amendments method of
calculating the vote, and the popular or total number of votes cast across the nation for each
candidate. To help identify the effect of including the territories separate from the proportional
representation of each state or territory, the proportional representation of each state or
territory by population is presented once without the territories included (except D.C.) and then
with the territories included.

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Authored: November 18, 2016

Last Revision: January 31, 2017

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1)


for U.S. Nationwide Elections

The calculations have been computed from 2016 back to the 1992 presidential election. I plan to
complete these back to the 1976 election at least, for comparisons sake, but at a later time. These
calculations can be reviewed at U.S. State and Territory Presidential Election Data.
The District of Columbia is included in the Electoral Vote by virtue of the 23rd Amendment,
limiting their representation to no more than the least populous state. This limitation would be
removed by this proposed amendment.
Guam is the only territory of the United States that has conducted a U.S. Presidential election
within its borders other than the District of Columbia. Since 1980, the will of the people of Guam
has been expressed by vote, although without consequence on the national election. Guams votes
are so represented in the above calculations.
For Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, the
representation of their portion of the electorate has been presumed to be of the same party or
associated affiliation as the party of the territorial governor of the time of the election. This is a
pretty weak indication, and is speculative, but unless opinion polls or other measures exist for
past Presidential general elections in these territories, its the best guess that we have.
The U.S. Minor Outlying Islands include presently Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island,
Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Palmyra Atoll and Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean;
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Authored: November 18, 2016

Last Revision: January 31, 2017

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1)


for U.S. Nationwide Elections

and Navassa Island in the Caribbean Sea. Most of these are uninhabited, but there is a persistent
mission of Alaskas 611th Air Support Group under the direction of their Air National Guard who
manages the Wake Island Airfield, so it continues to have a year-round presence by personnel
supporting the Airfield and visiting environmental and defense missions. Ive assumed that the
scant number of inhabitants over the years on these the least populated of our territories were
presumed to have voted Republican (as members of the Armed Forces seem to have a slight
leniency towards the GoP) but in reality, they probably have all voted in their home state, as no
polling occurs in these territories.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Since 1787, our concept of who qualifies as a citizen with a right to vote has expanded from white
landowners to include non-landowners, former slaves, women, native Americans, and all those
above age 18. Several states have been trying to reinstate voting rights to those who have paid
the penalty for their former crimes under the law.
There is no reasonable purpose for why American citizens living in the territories should not
have the ability to vote for nationwide offices. Taxation without representation was one of the
fundamental reasons that our fathers rebelled against their monarch. While temporary stays on
the right to vote in territories might have made some sense in their transition to become states in
the period of time in which the concept of Manifest Destiny prevailed, such a concept does not
apply to our remaining territories today. And while these places could choose independent
sovereignty, they have instead persistently chosen to remain as part of the United States of
America, but without statehood.
It makes no sense for an American from Oklahoma to move to Guam or the Northern Mariana
Islands and then be denied the opportunity to vote in Presidential elections -- or an American
from Brooklyn who moves to Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. And while American Samoans are
considered now as American Nationals but not American Citizens by Congressional legislation, it
does not make sense that the state or territory that provides the highest proportion of their sons
and daughters to fight in war as members of our Armed Services is denied the opportunity to
vote for the President and Vice President of their country.
However, it's a Constitutional limitation that provides for states alone to vote in nationwide
elections, so a Constitutional Amendment would be the course of action to correct the
disenfranchisement of this portion of our electorate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------I have heard a few speak concerning the "tyranny of the majority" and how the authors of our
Constitution had organized our national electoral system to prevent popular notions of rule from
becoming law with deliberation and reason. However, I believe this is a gross misinterpretation
of what those authors intended.
What isn't addressed in our contemporary discourse is the absurdity of the tyranny of a minority.
While the electoral system we have in place now may have been in part an effort to prevent
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Authored: November 18, 2016

Last Revision: January 31, 2017

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1)


for U.S. Nationwide Elections

incontinuity of government, there isn't a soul I believe that would attempt to argue that one who
doesn't muster enough votes to attain a plurality should be chosen victor. Is this more
representative of the will of our electorate? Certainly not.
It is my belief to answer any issue within our democracy with more democracy, not less. This has
been the arc of history of our republic since its independence, to allow a free people to share
more responsibility for their actions and outcomes politically, not less. Only authoritarians work
the other way around.
This is the second election in less than two decades where the electoral vote has been awarded to
one who did not have the greatest number of votes in total. I do not believe our republic could
sustain a third outcome like this without serious wide-reaching and persistent civil unrest.
It is attributed to Thomas Jefferson that "the earth was made for the living". If there were serious
issues within our union that the founding fathers couldn't or didn't foresee, they gave us the
responsibility to address them by virtue of constitutional amendment and other means. They
expect us to address them in our time just as they had for their issues in their time. It would be
inappropriate to their efforts and sacrifices to not do so now.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Others have asked, why not just support efforts to change our election process for nationwide
office to instead use the popular vote?
First, while I believe deeply in democracy, I am also a federalist. That said, I do not believe the
form of our federalism today needs to be identical to that in our more distant past.
The design of a Senate and a House of Representatives was primarily a means to allow sovereign
states to reconvene a union with greater order. It was largely a compromise to allow the smaller
states to subscribe to the Constitution without fear of their smaller population size being used
against them. That is hardly the case today - quite literally it is the opposite where the smaller
states wield their inequitable power to advantage over larger states.
When the suggestion to move to a popular vote system was made in 2000, my first thought was, if
we did so, do these same proponents then suggest that we should abolish the Senate, as it
represents states disproportionately to their population size?
I do not believe we wish to abolish the states for Senatorial Districts nor should we allow
territories to have direct representation in the Senate without statehood. But the powers and
duties of the Senate are sufficient enough to assure the form of our federal republic; we no longer
need to allow our presidential elections to be disproportionate to the population size of our
states or territories.

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Authored: November 18, 2016

Last Revision: January 31, 2017

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1)


for U.S. Nationwide Elections

Second, I do not believe enough Americans want to change the elections for nationwide offices to
be determined by popular vote. A significant number of Republicans, especially after this latest
election, believe less in democratic elections than in a system of elections by independent states.
While it is likely that this is simply because of their political advantage in our current system,
many ideologically believe that the concept of our federal republic of somewhat equal states is of
greater principled value that that of democratic representation.
Until a supermajority supports a nationwide popular vote for the election of President and Vice
President, I suggest that we continue the process that our forbearers put in motion by increasing
our democratic representation over time. This proposed Constitutional Amendment is written for
the purpose of attaining approval by 2/3rds of the state legislatures or 2/3rds of the
representatives in Congress within 20 years. I believe a transition to a popular vote system would
be unlikely to occur across 2/3rds of the states or Congress for at least 50 years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------By far more than any other factor, it is the "winner takes all" aspect of our current election
system that exaggerates or skews the results of our electoral process away from the result of any
national popular vote.
This aspect doesn't change under this proposed amendment - and indeed in some elections that
exaggeration or skew is greater under the proposed amendment than that of the Electoral
College, although less often than the other way around.
It isn't the Constitution that is driving this, but rather the method each state uses to award
electoral votes in national elections, as defined in state constitutions or legislation. 48 states use a
"winner-takes-all" scenario, where the candidate who receives the largest number of (popular)
votes in a state then is awarded (in theory) all the states votes by electors in the Electoral College.
Only Maine and Nebraska do otherwise, where the 1st Congressional District in Maine is awarded
independently within that district alone, and where in Nebraska, two electors are awarded to the
candidate with the most votes within the state and each of the three others are awarded to the
candidate with the most votes within each of the state's three Congressional Districts.
Other states could do similarly, but at risk of diluting their electoral power in national elections. I
do believe this detente among the states can only be addressed by the states through compact or
another Constitutional Amendment. But I do not believe the will to do so is strong enough among
the many required to make it possible within this half-century.
---------------------------------------------------------------------This proposal can stand apart from or work in complement with efforts to change how states
award their share of electoral power. The amendment if ratified would continue to defer to
states and territories to determine how their share of electoral power would be apportioned to
candidates running on a presidential ticket.

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Authored: November 18, 2016

Last Revision: January 31, 2017

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1)


for U.S. Nationwide Elections

However, states and territories could opt for a winner-takes-all scenario, distribute their share
of electoral power in proportion to their Congressional representation in both the House and
Senate and their respective electorates (as Nebraska does today), distribute their share in
proportion to each candidates portion of the state or territorys popular vote, or whatever other
method the state or territory proscribes. Efforts to stair step to a more direct democratic election
process by states and territories individually, or collectively by compact or additional
amendment to the Constitution after this proposal was ratified would still be possible and would
likely be more equitable. This proposal doesnt require such changes but would be
complementary to them.
---------------------------------------------------------------------There are two methods to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as described in Article V.
The first is to have amendments proposed by Congress with a 2/3rds vote in both the House and
Representatives and the Senate. This is how all ratified amendments have been proposed so far.
The second is to have amendments proposed in a convention of states as called for by two-thirds
of state legislatures. State legislatures apply to Congress to convene such a convention, most
often suggesting one or more subjects for constitutional amendments. The 17th Amendment to
the Constitution to allow direct elections of Senators rather than selection by state legislatures
was initially proposed by vote in the House but did not pass the Senate until after threat of a
convention by 29 of the needed 31 states.
From 1957 to 1965, nine states (Arkansas, South Dakota, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Texas,
Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Nebraska) had in fact applied to Congress for a national convention to
propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution under Article V for a Proportional Electoral
College. Most applications were identical and called for a convention to propose an amendment
to the Constitution, providing for a fair and just division of the electoral vote within the States of
the election of the President and Vice President. Concerning the process where the candidate
that received the plurality of the vote in a state becoming then entitled to the total number of
electoral votes allocated to the state, these latter applications further stated that ... this method
of electing the President and Vice President is unfair and unjust in that it does not reflect the
minority votes cast.
I believe proposed amendments to the Constitution should be specific and explicit to warrant the
political interest of both state legislatures and the U.S. Congress. If the language to a proposed
amendment is specific, clear and its effects well understood, that written proposal could be voted
on by each state legislature in applications for a constitutional amendment convention until
2/3rds of the states have applied for a convention on the same amendment explicitly. The
convention could be held physically or virtually by the U.S. Congress to acknowledge the
approvals of the state legislatures to the specific language and in the convention proceedings
consider the amendment proposed by application of 2/3rds of the states. This process would
likely encourage the U.S. Congress to propose the amendment in advance of a convention of the
states, as it did in the case of the 17th amendment.
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Authored: November 18, 2016

Last Revision: January 31, 2017

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1)


for U.S. Nationwide Elections

---------------------------------------------------------------------Each state and territory's legislature could adopt the following resolution that would allow the
proposed amendment to ratified once two-thirds of the state had done so and Congress
acknowledged it:

The legislature of the [State of X] applies to the Congress of the United States to call a virtual
constitutional convention of states, to propose an amendment to the federal constitution,
explicitly expressed as follows:
The vote of every U.S. citizen, whether in the states, the territories, or overseas, shall not
be disenfranchised.
In the election of nationwide offices, the share of elective power for each state or territory
shall be their population divided by the total population of the nation as a whole, as
determined in the last census.
States and territories shall determine how their share of elective power is distributed
among candidates in nation-wide elections.
This application and request is null and void, rescinded without effect if such convention is not
limited to this specific and exclusive purpose. Once legislatures from two-thirds of the states have
applied for a convention in this manner with the amendment as explicitly proposed above
without rescinding, we ask the U.S. Congress to acknowledge that a virtual constitutional
convention has taken place and the amendment as proposed be approved for ratification by
three-quarters of state legislatures or state conventions, pursuant to article V of the constitution
of the United States.
---------------------------------------------------------------------Finally, I find it interesting that when we think about democracy, we often lean on the moniker of
majority rule. Yes, it is commonplace in our deliberative bodies like state and national
legislatures, county commissions and city councils. But majority rule is seldom if ever required in
elections by citizen voters.
In this country it is by far more often for our elections to be determined by plurality rule. In fact,
many of the states in this and in past presidential elections were awarded to the candidate who
had the largest number of votes in a state, but clearly not a majority - this is in fact the case on
both sides of the ticket. When voting citizens cast votes for more than two candidates in any
significant way, this is almost always the case.
If we really want to have democratic elections where the will of the majority is clearly manifest in
the voting both, run-off elections between at least the top two candidates for any given election
are necessary when a majority vote has not been attained. To my knowledge, only Louisiana does
this (since 1977), and only for state offices and Congressional representatives and not for the
Presidential vote.
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Authored: November 18, 2016

Last Revision: January 31, 2017

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment (Lowry-1)


for U.S. Nationwide Elections

---------------------------------------------------------------------Nathan Lowry is a registered Republican who identifies as an independent and lives in Colorado
Springs, Colorado. He works in the field of Geographic Information Systems, provides part-time
care for his 18-year-old autistic son and supports his wife in her business as a clothing retailer
and distributor. He loves singing and spending time with his wife and family.

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