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Does the Constitution need Amending?

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Message Paul Cohen

This closely follows the wording of Article II, section 2, clause 2 of the Constitution and it would serve to modify that wording.

The recent impeachment of Trump and especially the subsequent Senate trial points up another very familiar but serious problem; our politics suffers from excessive partisanship. That intense partisanship is, in large measure, a consequence of our adherence to a two-party system. In turn, our two-party system is maintained in large part by the fact that we continue to conduct elections using plurality voting, a system I have elsewhere described as first-choice-voting . In that traditional system of voting, all any voter can express is a first choice among the candidates and that is fine so long as there are only two candidates. But more generally a voter cannot express opposition to a specific candidate nor support for more than a single candidate.


Not all serious problems require a Constitutional amendment for a solution and this is a good example. The Constitution does not tell us how to vote; in fact it does not say much about voting by citizens except that it requires voting not to discriminate on the basis of gender, race or ethnic origins. In fact the Constitution left voting very largely up to the states. States remain free to choose how they vote. In particular they do not have to continue to encourage extreme partisanship by continuing the use of plurality voting. In a series of articles I have argued that balanced voting systems are particularly likely to encourage the participation of more candidates and to lead to a decline in partisanship.


Of the three problems discussed above, the partisanship issue may appear to be the most intractable. But because there is a possible solution that does not require a Constitutional amendment, it may actually be the most tractable of the three and without the partisanship we are so accustomed to, the other two problems may become much more easily addressed as well.

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A concerned citizen and former mathematician/engineer now retired and living in rural Maine.
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