Skip to comments.U.S. House is final word on seat (House May Declare Dem the Winner, Despite Vote Totals)
Posted on 11/17/2006 11:05:08 AM PST by RWR8189
WASHINGTON - If a recount in Sarasota fails to award Democrat Christine Jennings a seat in Congress, she has a final recourse: The newly Democratic-controlled U.S. House.
A little-known provision in the U.S. Constitution gives the House the final decision on who sits in its chamber.
House staffers have already been dispatched to Sarasota to monitor the recounts, and both candidates in District 13 - Jennings and Republican Vern Buchanan - say they are aware that a disputed election could be appealed to Washington.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a South Florida Democrat working with Jennings, said she hopes it wouldn't come to that, but she wouldn't rule out anything that would help determine if voters were disenfranchised.
"All options are on the table," she said. "We're going to explore any available option."
Still, House members and political observers say either party would be reluctant to take up a case that would lead to partisan warfare.
"I can't imagine that would happen," said Rep. Ric Keller, R-Orlando. "I don't think you'd want this to be settled by partisan politics."
Though it has happened before.
In 1984, the House refused to seat an Indiana Republican who narrowly beat his Democratic opponent in a race marred by ballot problems.
Instead, the Democratic-controlled House ordered a recount using its own rules, handing the victory to the Democrat.
Weeks later, 179 Republican members stormed out of the Capitol to protest what they described as a stolen election.
Rep. C.W. Bill Young, an Indian Shores Republican who was in office during the Indiana vote, said he didn't much care for the House getting involved then and wouldn't care much for it now - particularly because the Democrats will take control of the House in January.
"We prefer the decision be made by voters in the congressional district," Young said. "I prefer that the Republican win, obviously, and the original count favored Buchanan."
Buchanan led Jennings by 377 votes after the first count. With a recount underway, both chose to attend freshman orientation for House members in Washington this week.
Jennings is challenging the result because touch screen voting machines in Sarasota County recorded that 18,382 people, or 13 percent of all voters, did not vote for either candidate, a rate much higher than in other counties in the district.
Members of seven voter advocacy groups Wednesday called for a new vote and an outside investigation into Sarasota's voting system. They planned to collect stories of disenfranchised voters at a meeting there today.
A recount of the touchscreen totals and optical scan absentee ballots was completed late Tuesday, giving Buchanan a 401-vote lead. A manual recount will begin today, and those results are expected to be certified by the state Monday.
Each candidate has 30 days from then to ask the House Administration Committee to investigate, which usually takes a few weeks to several months.
Since 1993, about 105 such cases have been sent to committee but only a handful have made it to the full House for a vote.
Usually the committee dismisses the case, though it could recommend to the full House that it order a new recount or new vote. The House could also simply refuse to seat the presumed winner, leaving the seat vacant or filling it with someone else.
As it tends to do for extremely close races, the committee has already sent a team of staffers, consisting of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, to monitor the recount.
In this case, any investigation and resolution by the House or its committee is virtually guaranteed to take place after the Democrats take over Congress in January.
Rep. Allen Boyd, a North Florida farmer who is co-leader of the Blue Dogs conservative Democratic group, welcomed Jennings to its ranks Wednesday and said he's hoping she'll be able to stay.
He said it's too early to start talking about the House making a decision in the election but if it does: "We're in charge. Absolutely she'll get a fair shot."
and we talk about other Banana Republics. lol
And now, we can all see why teaching the Republicans a lesson was a bad idea. The dems will never give up power. They will simply nullify any election they lose. What is going on in Fla 13 is exactly what happened in the 2000 Presidential election. The dems are trying to say that undervotes really are votes for Jennings (the dem). In effect, they want a re-vote. Failing that, they will just kick it into the House where, voila, the dem wins.
ANOTHER Dim-o-crat who doesn't want to admit defeat. What a bunch of poor losers.
That's Sore Losers, man...
Quote: "ANOTHER Dim-o-crat who doesn't want to admit defeat. What a bunch of poor losers."
No, not losers, winners. Any election they don't agree with, they nullify and reverse. Welcome to the new world. Many warned of this prior to the election and the "teach em a lesson crowd" pooh poohed it. Well, here we are.
Well, the Dems did this in 1984, as the article points out.
They also did this in New Hampshire Senate race in 1974. They overturned a Republican's 4 vote win.
Congressman Keller needs to wake up and smell the coffee.
He "can't imagine that would happen." What a fool.
So even if you lose, you can still go to orientation?
Selected, not elected, if they do it.
It has happened in the past. I'm sure the Dems would do it. The question is whether the GOP would make a big issue out of it and ride the issue to an electoral victory in 08.
"When vacancies happen in the Representation from any state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies."
If the election can't be decided by vote, then the House can fill the seat.
See, 'Rats never "lose" an election. It was always "stolen" from them. And when they do lose by a close margin, they'll rig the system to get their "win". And the media will never question it, because "it is the will of the people".
Every time one of these thefts by the 'Rats happens, we all lose. Elective government by the people is really the issue at stake. I have no sympathy for the go-along-to-get-along crowd, who advocate overlooking such fraud in the interest of being "good losers", especially when they say, we'll get 'em next time by such a huge margin they won't be able to steal it by cheating. Because that is not representative elective government. Requiring one party to obtain a supermajority to win (i.e., the don't make it close attitude) is not what the Founders had in mind.
No, the correct citation is this:
Article 1, Section. 5.
Clause 1: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections...
"That's Sore Losers, man..."
Yeah, BIG time!
Are you sure? When I read that I interpreted the "executive authority thereof" to mean the state's "executive authority"... otherwise don't use the word "thereof". Also, since where in the Constitution does it say the Legislature have "executive authority"?
Yep. You're right.
The other section refers to vacancies, either by death, resignation or impeachment.
See post #15
OK, that is closer to it. Thanks:
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
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