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Should the Iraqi Election be Delayed?
Special to FreeRepublic ^ | 10 December, 2004 | John Armor (Congressman Billybob)

Posted on 12/06/2004 5:10:58 PM PST by Congressman Billybob

Many commentators have questioned whether the Iraqi elections, scheduled for 30 January, 2004, should be delayed. Such comments from anyone at the UN should be rejected out of hand. After all, the UN is dominated by dictatorships who fear free elections the way vampires fear necklaces of garlic. Plus, the UN is on a long, unrelieved run of anti-Americanism. Whatever the US favors, UN bureaucrats will instinctively oppose.

But some of the groundswell to delay the Iraqi election comes from the likes of the New York Times, who ought to know better. This is perhaps the tenth time I have quoted George Santayana’s statement, “Those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it.” Those who forget the history of the most durable democratic republic in history (the US) will not understand the path to success for any other nation.

What was the most important election in US history? We’ve had elections during wars. We’ve had elections during Depressions. But the most critical election was the first one, in 1789, when our Constitution first went into effect and George Washington, who set many examples for all Presidents to come, was first elected.

Some of the better-prepared (but less seen or read) pundits have noted that during the Civil War some states did not participate in the election of Abraham Lincoln. Yet that fact did not make his election illegitimate. There is an example clearer than that, which all sources except this column you are now reading, have missed.

How many states existed during that first presidential election in 1789? Just the original 13 states.

How many states took part in the election of George Washington in 1789? (This is not a trick question.) Only 10 states took part in that election.

A reporter or editor who was competently prepared on the subject of democracy in America would know the following facts: As of the election of 1789, two states were not part of the Union. North Carolina and Rhode Island had both failed to ratify the Constitution. As the relatively unknown fifth page of the Constitution provided, it applied only to “the states so ratifying the same.” So there were only 11 states in the Union at that time.

What was the other state missing from that election? New York did not participate because its legislature hadn’t passed an election law in time so that state could take part.

Anyone who cares to check the facts will find that only 10 states cast Electoral College votes in the election of George Washington. They’ll also find that the election of Washington was not unanimous; a total of eleven other men received votes for President in that election. But the most important aspect of that election was that it took place, and that a stable US government resulted from that.

Consider the failure of American governance which preceded that election. Under the prior constitution, the Articles of Confederation, the federal government had failed. Our diplomats were reduced to being beggars in foreign capitols, borrowing money at high rates of interest to keep the government afloat. Financial failure at home and inability to pay war debts had led directly to Shay’s Rebellion, which came close to toppling the American government, and also threatened more of the same.

It was this national failure which led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. But however good the Constitution that the Convention produced might be in theory, national and international respect and legitimacy of the US could not be restored until an actual government was elected and began to function under that Constitution.

You now see the parallel with Iraq in the 21 century. Iraq is now squarely on the cusp between abject failure as a government, and possible success greater than any other Arab government in history. It has a theory of government – a constitution. But until it conducts its first honest and successful election under that constitution, there is no chance of success and the odds of failure grow by the day.

It would have been a disaster for the US to delay the election of 1789 because 3 of 13 states were not participating. For the exact same reasons, it would be a disaster for the Iraqi election of 2005 to be delayed because 4 of its 18 provinces might not be able to participate. History is a fine teacher, but only for those who bother to read it.

About the Author: John Armor is a First Amendment attorney and author who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. CongressmanBillybob@earthlink.net


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Free Republic; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: New York; US: North Carolina; US: Rhode Island; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 1789; abrahamlincoln; civilwar; crazyauthor; georgessantayana; georgewashington; iraqielection; morebillybobbilge; no; nytimes; shaysrebellion; un; usconstitution
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This subject has already reared its ugly head on FR. The mealy-mouthed NY Times editorial was posted earlier today. The subject will move to the front burner as those who want to cripple Iraq, or the US, or both, weigh in with their demands to delay the January election.
1 posted on 12/06/2004 5:10:58 PM PST by Congressman Billybob
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To: Congressman Billybob
whether the Iraqi elections, scheduled for 30 January, 2004, should be delayed

HELL, NO.....STAND AND FIGHT!!!!!!!!!

2 posted on 12/06/2004 5:14:57 PM PST by JimVT (I was born a Democrat..but then I grew up)
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To: Congressman Billybob; Mears

yes, it should be delayed. if the security siuation remains as it is currently, it shoud be delayed. the iraqi forces are not able to provide security.

if the election is held, there will be massacres at many polling places. that will be the only story that gets any media attention regarding the iraqi election.

delaying the election will not "cripple iraq" - its simply an acknowledgment of the realities faced on the ground there, and that more time is needed to correct them.


3 posted on 12/06/2004 5:15:16 PM PST by oceanview
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To: Congressman Billybob

Postponing an election on the premise that somebody might get hurt empowers those that are opposed to democracy. The next time they will up the ante to prevent elections. You can't negotiate with terrorists. Besides, would the elections be postponed because of weather.


4 posted on 12/06/2004 5:18:56 PM PST by crazyhorse691 (We won. We don't need to be forgiving. Let the heads roll!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
I BELIEVE that Your Opinions are "Highly Regarded" on FR---for MANY Good Reasons, &, For What It's Worth, I,ALSO, believe you are "BANG ON!!"

Doc

5 posted on 12/06/2004 5:25:00 PM PST by Doc On The Bay
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To: Congressman Billybob

Good stuff, CB. After listening to the Iraqi PM (Sunni) today (when he was with Bush in presser), I'm convinced the people of that country want this date to hold.


6 posted on 12/06/2004 5:27:46 PM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: Congressman Billybob

Yes, we should go ahead. If the Sunnis want to terrorize their neighbors or boycott the election, that's their business.

I don't know how often we have to point out that in this life, nothing is perfect. That's especially true of politics. If we wait until everything is perfect, we'll wait forever, because the terrorists, encouraged by the delay, will just start making new problems.


7 posted on 12/06/2004 5:29:13 PM PST by Cicero (Nil illegitemus carborundum est)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Let the Iraqi elections go forward, come hell or high water. Delay IS NOT AN OPTION. Any delay will only exacerbate the problem. Hat's off to you Congressman Billybob...


8 posted on 12/06/2004 5:34:36 PM PST by el_texicano (Liberals are the real Mind-Numbed Robots - No Brains, No Guts, No Character...Just hate)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Should the Iraqi Election be Delayed?

YES!

Shortly after he!! freezes over and tasks the terrorists in self survival without our help.

9 posted on 12/06/2004 5:38:06 PM PST by EGPWS
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To: oceanview; Chieftain

You have some "reality' arguments.

However,The delaying elections will probably be demoralizing to the Iraqis that want their own government. The Iraqis surely should be able to figure out a process for the elections. Why not take Florida's model....we took WEEKS to get our election done with all the pre-election day voting and lots of alternative polling places.

Uh, I am not hearing the UN really getting involved to figure out a process.

Just, for God's sake, keep Jimmy Carter outta 'der!!


10 posted on 12/06/2004 5:41:22 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie (Move the UN to Paris...NOW!!!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
If you recall, there was also much hand-wringing about "should we delay handing over soverignty to the Iraqis?" We went and did it early!

Can't have the elections early, of course, but holding the elections in Afghanistan pretty much shut up the nay-sayers there, and we need to do the same in Iraq.

11 posted on 12/06/2004 5:41:54 PM PST by Yo-Yo
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To: Congressman Billybob

As a general practice, I look at the position taken by the NYT, and take the OPPOSITE position. Works 99% of the time!


12 posted on 12/06/2004 5:45:48 PM PST by ab01
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie

how many people waiting to vote in florida were gunned down by AK47s and car bombs? if you don't think that is going to happen on election day in iraq, you are mistaken. absent some quick turnaround in the security situation there, it will.

I would say go forward with this election, if you could convince me that time wouldn't help solve this problem. But indeed, time is what we need to kill more insurgents, train more iraqi police and get the ones on the job now to actually start shooting back, etc. how many people a re you willing to see die to hold the election on 1/30?


13 posted on 12/06/2004 5:46:43 PM PST by oceanview
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To: oceanview

Thanks for the bump,oceanview----A good read,but I still feel the way I feel.

The early elections didn't have bombs going off all over the place and raging terrorists----ooops,insurgents,trying to kill anything that moves.



14 posted on 12/06/2004 6:03:20 PM PST by Mears
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To: Mears

yes. and again, notice how few posts these iraqi threads on FR get these days.


15 posted on 12/06/2004 6:04:31 PM PST by oceanview
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To: crazyhorse691

How far back will multiple massacres at the voting precincts
set the democratic process back?

Security must improve dramatically or the voters will not go to the polling place, making election 2005 in Iraq a joke.


16 posted on 12/06/2004 6:06:31 PM PST by dwilli
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To: dwilli; All

Keep American and other Coalition troops back about 5 miles back from the polling places and let the chips fall where they may.


17 posted on 12/06/2004 6:19:47 PM PST by olde north church (I'm back, back in the F R groove, back in the F R groove)
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To: oceanview

aaaaaaaangh.
wrong answer.
will security be better in 3,6 months. no the bad guys will see they forced a delay and step up the attacks.
if the sunni's do not get thier voice heard then they are to blame for allowing the terrorist safe haven for so long.
let them lose out not the 14 districts that are ready.


18 posted on 12/06/2004 6:30:28 PM PST by 537cant be wrong (no kittie! thats my pot pie!)
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To: dwilli

How far back will multiple massacres at the voting precincts
set the democratic process back?
_______________________________________________________________

Probably not as great a setback as postponing them would have. Postponing over "security concerns" pretty much assures the terrorists that they can disrupt any process that they see fit.


19 posted on 12/06/2004 6:32:42 PM PST by crazyhorse691 (We won. We don't need to be forgiving. Let the heads roll!!!!!!!!!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Many commentators have questioned whether the Iraqi elections, scheduled for 30 January, 2004

Typo -- didn't you mean 30 January, 2005?

-PJ

20 posted on 12/06/2004 6:34:18 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (It's still not safe to vote Democrat.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
After all, the UN is dominated by dictatorships who fear free elections the way vampires fear necklaces of garlic.

I'd say more like the way vampires fear silver bullets, crucifixes, and wooden stakes. (and of course Buffy). Dictatorships fear elections because afterwords, dictators often end up dead, or at beat exiled to Uganda or Saudi Arabia.

21 posted on 12/06/2004 6:36:49 PM PST by El Gato (/)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Generally sound analysis -- BUT. Washington was "unanimous" in the sense that every elector gave him a vote. Pre-12th amendment, each elector had TWO votes. Each give Washington one of his two, and the other vote was scattered among 10 people, with Adams being elected Vice-Pres by having the second most votes. (This system is what led to the fiasco of 1800, where Jefferson and his putative Veep, Burr, tied by having the same number of votes, as ALL of their elctors voted for both, TJ having forgotten the system and not arranging to have one of his guys drop Burr!)


22 posted on 12/06/2004 6:39:31 PM PST by BohDaThone
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To: Political Junkie Too
You're right. I paused to send the correction to all three of my dead tree editors.

John / Billybob
23 posted on 12/06/2004 6:39:46 PM PST by Congressman Billybob (Visit: www.ArmorforCongress.com please.)
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To: oceanview
how many people waiting to vote in florida were gunned down by AK47s and car bombs? if you don't think that is going to happen on election day in iraq, you are mistaken. absent some quick turnaround in the security situation there, it will.

Require at least one member of each family to come to the poll with an AK-47, SKS, G-3 or whatever. It hasn't been that long since bringing your arms to the poll was a requirement in Switzerland. It also tends to discourage the odd Jihadie.

24 posted on 12/06/2004 6:40:40 PM PST by El Gato (/)
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To: oceanview

Either way---delay or not--there will be consequences. The administration has decided that the consequences associated with delay would be worse than those associated with the problems of security in January. I tend to buy this position as I think that delaying would simply reinforce the terrorists' behavior and encourage the enemy. Your points, though, are well-taken and logical.

I guess the bottom line is that there is not a perfect answer, and I, for one, will not follow the NY Times and other doom and gloomers lead in not being satisfied absent a perfect solution.

BTW, I'm not accusing you of such, just for pointing out the issues with not delaying. There is a difference between that and demanding perfection when it is not feasible (i.e., the position of the NY Times, Joe Biden, and other fairly unhelpfuls).


25 posted on 12/06/2004 6:44:40 PM PST by wolf24
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To: Congressman Billybob
Thanks for posting this link on my Iraq thread. This one slipped by me. You have it dead on in this article.

BTW ... My folks live in western N.C., and I will be sending them the link to your website so they can keep their eye out for you.

26 posted on 12/06/2004 6:45:15 PM PST by Jackknife (.......Land of the Free,because of the Brave.)
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To: 537cant be wrong

yes, security likely will be better in 3 to 6 months. if you are arguing that it will not be, then you are essentially saying the effort in iraq is failing. if the security sitution isn't improving over time, what the hell are we doing over there?


27 posted on 12/06/2004 6:46:17 PM PST by oceanview
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To: El Gato

we can't even get the iraqi police to shoot back - now you want voters to open fire?


28 posted on 12/06/2004 6:47:16 PM PST by oceanview
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To: wolf24

all we need is one major break over there to put this insurgency on the decline - a zarqawi capture, s few incidents where the iraqi forces/police actually repel some attacks and blow the insurgents away. just one break, and we can snap this thing. once the trend is in place, it will feed on itself, and then we will know that an election can be sensibly scheduled and conducted.


29 posted on 12/06/2004 6:49:55 PM PST by oceanview
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To: oceanview

Agreed---I think, though, that Fallujah was that break.


30 posted on 12/06/2004 6:52:07 PM PST by wolf24
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To: Congressman Billybob
Many commentators have questioned whether the Iraqi elections, scheduled for 30 January, 2004, should be delayed.

Hold the election on the appointed date.

5.56mm

31 posted on 12/06/2004 6:53:00 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: wolf24

it was part of it - but clearly many of them relocated because the element of surprise was zero.


32 posted on 12/06/2004 6:53:39 PM PST by oceanview
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To: Congressman Billybob
I just dunno. I have some major uncertainty to whether this democracy export / imposition even fits "these people."

Speaking from ignorance, but I hope that we are taking their cultural / tribal / religious norms into account with what we are doing.

33 posted on 12/06/2004 6:53:42 PM PST by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and become a Monthly Donor.)
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To: don-o

let them give it a shot. if it fails, we move into the "controlled civil war" stage of this effort, and let the shia and the kurds kill all the sunnis.


34 posted on 12/06/2004 6:58:11 PM PST by oceanview
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To: oceanview

by better are you saying NO attacks on polling places?
i think that delaying elections will not give iraq the legitimacy that it will get if they procede on 1/30/2005.
even in the north after all this time the darn kurds are still letting us fight thier "civil war". when the north is the most U.S. friendly and stable section of iraq. 12 years of no fly protection and 1+ year of U.S. direct involvement on the ground and we still aren't getting what we pay for in U.S. blood.
i am 100% behind what we are doing in the middle east but its time to see if the iraqi are interested in self determination.


35 posted on 12/06/2004 7:13:14 PM PST by 537cant be wrong (no kittie! thats my pot pie!)
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To: oceanview
"controlled civil war" stage of this effort, and let the shia and the kurds kill all the sunnis.

I am afraid that how it plays out.

Not pretty

36 posted on 12/06/2004 7:16:04 PM PST by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and become a Monthly Donor.)
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To: oceanview

your confusing me now,
let them give it a shot? is this on or after 1/30/2005?
btw, i have no problem with the shia and kurds wiping out the sunni if they don't want to be a part of what could be a major upgrade in life overall.


37 posted on 12/06/2004 7:18:24 PM PST by 537cant be wrong (no kittie! thats my pot pie!)
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To: 537cant be wrong

yes, a shot at a unified country. not necessarily on 1/30 (for other reasons, namely the security), but in general. it might not work, and the civil war is the "alternative".


38 posted on 12/06/2004 7:30:53 PM PST by oceanview
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To: 537cant be wrong
The easy way to shut down the subhuman bombers is to announce that NO automobiles or trucks other than those manned by uniformed soldiers will be permitted on the roads on election day. Any other vehicles will be fired on immediately if they move.

We can deal with these murderers if they have to come into the street carrying weapons or explosives.

Billybob

39 posted on 12/06/2004 7:38:41 PM PST by Congressman Billybob (Visit: www.ArmorforCongress.com please.)
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To: oceanview

the civil war is already happening. we just happen to be fighting it for the shia and kurds.
after an election the crux of the biscuit will be right square on those who should be actively fighting it now.
we will still be there taking the brunt of the fight but i think the iraqis will gain so much from actually having thier voice heard that even the iraqi police force may gain some backbone.


40 posted on 12/06/2004 7:51:53 PM PST by 537cant be wrong (no kittie! thats my pot pie!)
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To: oceanview

I think the only "reality" is that postponing elections will accomplish only one thing: telling the terrorists that they have won and can influence our decisions.


41 posted on 12/06/2004 7:55:09 PM PST by polyester~monkey (4 Senate seats, 4 House Seats, and 52% of the popular vote: AMERICA HAS SPOKEN)
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To: Congressman Billybob

you are correct sir.
i often wondered why we let the police and or ING, gather in crowds to get pay and or sign up.
it would be easy to set up stations outside city limits requiring a 1/2 or 1 mile walk through open space to enlist or collect. any vehicle moving anywhere is fair game.
a suicide bomber still may get near but 1 or 2 vs 10s and 20s getting hit is way much better.


42 posted on 12/06/2004 7:56:43 PM PST by 537cant be wrong (no kittie! thats my pot pie!)
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To: oceanview
if the election is held, there will be massacres at many polling places

Many said

43 posted on 12/06/2004 7:57:12 PM PST by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

Oops..Many said the same thing about Afghanistan


44 posted on 12/06/2004 7:57:32 PM PST by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

i think the terrorists blew it in afghanistan (thank the Lord)
they will be much more active in iraq, but we must move ahead with the vote! 1/30/2005, let freedom reign


45 posted on 12/06/2004 8:01:55 PM PST by 537cant be wrong (no kittie! thats my pot pie!)
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To: Uncledave

the minds of things taking place on a daily basis in iraq, were not going on in afghanistan.


46 posted on 12/06/2004 8:04:44 PM PST by oceanview
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To: oceanview

minds=kinds


47 posted on 12/06/2004 8:05:11 PM PST by oceanview
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To: Congressman Billybob
"Anyone who cares to check the facts will find that only 10 states cast Electoral College votes in the election of George Washington. They’ll also find that the election of Washington was not unanimous; a total of eleven other men received votes for President in that election. But the most important aspect of that election was that it took place, and that a stable US government resulted from that."

Minor point of disagreement: As far as it was possible, the election of George Washington as President in 1789 was unanimous. Since as you pointed out there were only 11 States in the Union in 1789, New York did not appoint its allotted eight Electors, Maryland had two Electors who did not vote, Virginia had one Elector who did not vote and one Elector who was not chosen due to lack of returns from that District. So 12 Electors out of the possible 81 cast no electoral ballots.

So of the 69 electors who could vote, each was given two electors votes in their choice for President, which could not be cast for the same candidate. This means that while there were 138 possible electoral votes to be cast, a candidate could at best receive only half of them, or 69 electoral votes. George Washington received that maximum number of 69 electoral votes. one vote from each elector. Since the Constitution at that time was structured to have the candidate who received the second most electoral votes was to become the Vice-President, every elector understood that his "second" electoral vote would actually 'elect' the Vice-President, since no other candidate would receive a 'unanimous' 69 electoral votes, rather they were fragmented among 5+ other 'Presidential' candidates. John Adams became the Vice-President upon receiving 34 electoral votes.

Since a candidate could only get a maximum of 69 electoral votes of the 138 electoral votes cast in 1789, I submit that George Washington was unanimously elected under the pre-12th Amendment system. He would not have been if another candidate had also received 69 electoral votes, then forcing the election into the House of Representatives...

dvwjr

48 posted on 12/06/2004 8:10:06 PM PST by dvwjr
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To: oceanview
In order to have democracy you must have a few more components than an Election.

The other essential components are a Free Press, Free Speech, Free, Stable and Prosperous Economy, Domestic Tranquility and party system that has at least two major political parties.

Iraq may have an election but they will not be a Democracy any time soon.

However, it can be done, it is just going to take a while.

49 posted on 12/06/2004 8:10:48 PM PST by pete anderson
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To: 537cant be wrong
let freedom reign

There cannot be freedom without stability.

50 posted on 12/06/2004 8:12:48 PM PST by pete anderson
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