The Constitution of the United States: Article II – Section 1

Article II – Section 1, paragraphs 1-2:

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

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.

Ever wonder how many votes your state gets in the Electoral College? Take the number of Senators for your state (always 2) and the number of Representatives and add them together. Utah currently has 3 Representatives so we get a total of 5 votes in the Electoral College. Under this system every state gets at least 3 votes and California currently has the most at 55.

Paragraph 3 -

[The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List 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 shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.]1

1- This whole paragraph has been superseded by the 12th Amendment.

The technicalities of who gets to count the votes and what constitutes a winner of the Presidential election and what happens if no ones gets a majority. The exact nature of this process has changed a few times.

Paragraphs 4-5:

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.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

So we can change the date of the Presidential elections, but it has to be the same day for the whole country.

I’m not announcing any intentions, but I am Constitutionally qualified to be President of the United States.

Paragraph 6:

[In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.]2

2- Replaced by the 25th Amendment.

Before the 25th Amendment if both the President and the Vice-President were removed from their position, then Congress had the power to pick a replacement.

Paragraphs 7-8:

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The President’s salary can’t be changed for the term being served, only afterwards. The specified salary is the only payment they are allowed to accept while serving.

I’d never really thought about where the oath of office for the President came from, makes sense that it would be right there in the Constitution. Interesting that the oath is to serve in the office and “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”. Doesn’t say anything about serving the people, working with Congress or anything else, it completely focuses on the Constitution.

Other Constitution posts.

2 Comments

  1. I am pleased to find this website which has been so timely posted. The Congess is getting ready to do the review and evaluation for certification of the elctoral votes cast on December 15, 2008, on January 5, 2009 or January 6, 2009 depending on which website you read. I have tried to find a list of all the electors but to no avail. I amvery concerned that it is quite possible, and even very likely that some elector may be holders of offices of trust or profit under the United States in violation of the Constitution, Article II Section 1 pargraphs 1-2. Illegal electoral votes should not be certified!!!!

    In addition to the foregoing comments, I would like to point out that all the information that appeared in the press regarding the voting of the electors indicated that they had assembled “to do their duty”. This is misinformation, as rules vary from state to state, and not all electors are bound to vote for the popular choice of the state although they usually do. There was in fact no consideration given to any of the issues surrounding Obama as Constutionally eligible to serve, or any discussion of the best inteest of the United States of America. This electoral system if it functions properly has the potential insist that everything be done exactly correct for a candidate to be able to recieve a given electoral vote. I indeed has the potential to act as a check on the rest of the electoral process to see that the people get a President that has been elected in acord with the provisions of the U.S. Constitution!!!!

  2. I suspect you could contact each state to find out who they are sending to the Electoral College.

    As for Obama’s qualifications to serve, the Constitution only has a few requirements, in which he appears to meet all of theme. It seems unlikely (although certainly not impossible) that a major political party would allow, support and endorse a candidate that didn’t meet those requirements.

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