The new electoral mechanism was employed for the first time in the 1804 election. Since then, every presidential election has been held in accordance with the stipulations of the Twelfth Amendment. The Twelfth Amendment requires each elector to cast separate votes for president and vice president, rather than two votes for president. In addition, it provides that if an elector fails to vote or casts a void ballot, another elector is appointed to take his place.
Prior to 1787, members of the Congress had an indirect means of choosing the president through their control of committees and other bodies that drafted recommendations for voters in the states. But once the national government moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, there was no formal process by which Congress could select the president. Instead, each state legislature would choose its own governor, who would then appoint a candidate who would win approval from Congress or else be rejected.
In any case, after 1800, elections were not held until February due to concerns over voter intimidation and corruption. The twelve-month term allowed time for elected officials to move into their offices and begin work on behalf of their constituents.
The original electoral system was designed by George Washington when he was elected the first president in 1789. It provided for the election of electors who would meet in their respective states to cast votes for president and vice president. Each state was entitled to receive a number of electors equal to its congressional delegation plus three for each million inhabitants or fraction thereof.
The Twelfth Amendment, presented in 1803 and enacted in 1804 by the states, modified the original procedure by forcing electors to divide their ballots and indicate who they voted for as President and Vice President. For further information, see Electoral College and Undecisive Elections.
The amendment was proposed by Congress and approved by the states in order to prevent any one person or group of people from becoming president or vice president. Before this amendment, there were several instances where this possibility could have arisen: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the only people who ever became president and vice president simultaneously; and George Washington had no successor when he died in office.
The amendment was necessary because those who drafted the Constitution wanted to make sure that no one would be elected president who did not hold the highest political office in the country. They knew that if they didn't include some way for the vice president to take over if the president died or resigned, then someone might try to make themselves indispensable by killing or wounding their opponent after they had been elected president.
In addition to preventing presidents from rising above the status of a common man, the amendment also served to ensure that nobody would be president without having taken an official stand on being elected president. In other words, it ensured that elections would be free and honest.
The amendment, which was added in time for the 1804 election, stated that electors would henceforth cast two votes: one for the President and one for the Vice President. Previously, they had been required to vote solely for either John Adams or Thomas Jefferson at their respective elections. The amendment was designed to ensure that neither office would be given to someone who was not elected by the people.
In its early years, Congress made several attempts to abolish the electoral college altogether but all efforts failed. In fact, the 12th Amendment expressly prohibits any change to the way in-person voters choose the President and Vice President by requiring that each state establish an official process for electing presidents and vice presidents. The amendment's passage in December 1967 formalized this requirement and eliminated any possibility of abolishing the electoral college once and for all.
The Constitution allows for the Senate to make changes to voting procedures if it chooses to do so. However, no such changes have ever been made so there is no alternative method of choosing presidents now that the electoral college is established by law.
The current election system was created in 1913 when the 16th Amendment was passed. Before then, taxes were used to fund elections which members of Congress could use how they saw fit.
Furthermore, the Twelfth Amendment mandates the Senate to select a vice president by a vote of "a majority of the total number" of senators. This would not be possible if they were allowed to vote for themselves.
Every year up until 1973 when George W. Bush was elected governor of Texas, governors were elected during the midterm elections. Since 1974 governors have been elected on November 2nd, which is when most national elections are held.
Each state has its own process for selecting its electors, but in almost all states, voters choose their electors at open primaries or caucuses. These are events where people can show up and vote for candidates, similar to a general election. Some states require that candidates receive a certain percentage of votes to be nominated, while others have party conventions where the candidates will make their cases to delegates who will then vote on them.
The 12th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1804, requiring electors to designate their votes for president and vice president. However, the 12th Amendment retains the Constitution's tie-breaking system, under which the House of Representatives breaks a tie on presidential electoral votes and the Senate attempts to break a tie on vice presidential electoral votes. The current arrangement was established by the 25th Amendment, which abolished the requirement that both senators vote on each vice presidential nominee (including replacements) and allowed for voting by proxy.
The Electoral College itself is a creation of the federal government. However, most states and territories have their own processes for appointing electors, so the amendment setting out how they are chosen by voters is usually called "the Presidential Electors Clause."
There is some debate over who proposed the 12th Amendment, but it is generally agreed that Congress proposed it and then-Senator John Quincy Adams introduced it into the Senate. It is unclear why Senator Adams took part in this process; according to one biography, he had just been appointed to the Supreme Court and may not have known what role he would play in future elections. But despite these doubts, the proposal received approval from Congress and the president needed to appoint only two more senators before it went into effect.
The 12th Amendment has been criticized for many reasons, including the fact that it gives electors the power to decide how to use their votes, which might lead them to choose someone other than their preferred candidate.