Can A State Alter Qualifications for Election of The President Of The United States
by KrisAnne Hall, JD
The Office of the President of these United States was designed to be a representative of the States in foreign affairs and the chief executive of the federal government. Article 2 of the Constitution establishes the qualifications for this office, the conditions upon which the President is to serve and the limited powers delegated.
Article 2 section 1 establishes that the President will hold office during the term of 4 years. Article 2 section 1 clauses 2 and 3 provide that the President is not to be elected by popular vote but by representatives of the States, called “Electors.” The number of Electors of each State is established by the number of Senators and Representatives a State has in Congress. These Electors are appointed by the State Legislature and shall cast their vote for two people, one of which cannot be a resident of their own State. Article 2 section 1 clause 5 requires every person running for office of President must be a “natural born Citizen,” thirty-five years old or older, and have lived within the United States for fourteen consecutive years. The rest of Article 2 addresses the duties and obligations of the president once elected to office.
So in summary, the Constitution establishes that there are 4 requirements for an individual to be eligible to run for President:
- Natural Born Citizen,
- At least 35 years old,
- Lived in the United States 14 years immediately prior to running for office, and
- Be elected by the Electors of the States.
The Constitution of the United States was established as a contract between the States primarily to create a Union of States and a central government to establish a unified voice for the States in foreign affairs. The Constitution creates the federal government not only by establishing the offices of the federal government, but also by specifically enumerating powers to each of its 3 branches. The entire purpose for delegating each specific power to the federal government as opposed to reserving that power to the State was to create uniformity throughout the Union for specific federal and foreign functions. The Tenth Amendment orders that every power not delegated to the federal government is reserved to the States and the people. When a power is delegated to the federal government, all State-members of the Union are required by contract to be bound by the laws created to execute that particular power. Article 6 clause 2 is the law on this matter and it states the following:
“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
The requirements for the qualifications of the office of the President are established by the Constitution. The purpose of the Constitution establishing these requirements is so that the terms upon which a president is elected is uniform throughout the States. Therefore, the power to create the qualifications for the office of the President are not reserved to the States and the States are bound by the Constitution’s requirements upon the office of President through their agreement to be part of the American Union.
It is completely unconstitutional for a State to add to or take away from the requirements for the office of President established by the Constitution. Not only would that be a violation of Article 2, Article 6, and the Tenth Amendment, but it would create utter chaos during federal elections. If each State was permitted to establish their own independent criteria for election of the president candidates eligible in one State could be ineligible in another State. The American people could never be confident they had a qualified candidate.
There is only one circumstance that the Article 2 qualification for office of the President does not apply to a candidate and that is the selection of a presidential candidate through the primary election. A primary election is not a civic event. A primary election is a private corporate event. There is much confusion about this fact because Americans, over many decades, have been led to believe that political parties are part of the government. They are not.
Political parties are private corporate clubs which is why they can establish exclusive memberships and are exempt from certain provisions of the non-discrimination clause of the Civil Rights Act. Primary elections are how political parties, aka private corporate clubs, choose the candidates that will represent them in the truly civic event we call general elections. For the purpose of primary elections, political parties can ADD qualifying criteria to the office of president. For example, a political party can require a candidate must be a member of the political party, must have served within the party for a designated number of years, or any other limiting factor as long as the party maintains the Article 2 qualifications as well. Because a primary election is actually a private corporate club event, many States hold closed primaries where only members of the private corporate club can vote in primary elections. In reality, primary elections should never be paid for by tax dollars and should not be coordinated using State resources or funds. The people of the State would never facilitate or fund the election of the CEO of Mc Donald’s Corporations so why are they funding and facilitating the election of the Chief Executive Candidate for the private corporations we know as Republican or Democrat Parties?
With these facts and the wisdom of the intent of those who wrote and ratified the Constitution we must conclude that no State government can constitutionally add or detract from the qualifications of the office of the President. To do so is a violation of the Constitution and a violation of the contractual agreement each State has with each other through the Constitution. In addition to this truth, any State that attempts to alter the qualifications of any candidate during a primary election would be a violation of that private corporate club’s right to the property of their corporate elections, it would be an unlawful government taking and a violation of due process.
So what are the remedies to unlawful interference with elections on the State government level? If that violation occurs during the primary election, the private corporate club party, the candidate, and the members of that club should sue the State and every Supervisor of Elections in a court of law for an injunction to prevent the interference and compel compliance. If that violation occurs during a general election, the people of the State and the candidate should again sue the State and every Supervisor of Elections in a court of law for an injunction to prevent the interference and compel compliance. In addition to the private law suit, the governor of every other State should issue a Resolution of Condemnation to the offending State for violating the terms of the Contract, the Constitution, and issue a demand for redress and restoration of the constitutional standard. If the offending State should refuse to comply, according to Article 2, Section 1, Clauses 3, the President of the Senate must refuse to acknowledge the ballot from that offending State as it does not comply with the Constitutional Standard.
These remedies will only sound extreme to those who are not educated on the terms of the Constitution and the principles of contract law followed by those who ratified the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist #78:
“There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.”
We must get back in the habit of applying the Constitution as it was intended. When we do, we will see that the remedies are simple and based upon contract law and common sense. Government only becomes complicated when we set aside the standard of the Constitution and rely on the word of politicians, pundits, and professors instead of the words and intent of Madison, Jefferson, and Mason. The Constitutional crisis exist not in the failings of the Constitution but in the failure to abide by the Constitution.