Letters to the Editor

Letter: The difficulty of amendments

Regarding Clarence Crawford’s July 24 letter: I am interested in knowing by what “simple” means we should “eliminate” the electoral college. It is not now simple to eliminate the electoral college. The bar is an amendment passing out of divided Washington, D.C., to the states, where 39 ratifications are required for final passage.

Just as we do not have a sorely needed Equal Rights Amendment for women, we are unlikely to meet that bar and eliminate the electoral college.

Knowing that successful amendments are few and far between, I do want to say that: the 23rd Amendment expanding the electoral college to include the District of Columbia, in 1961; the 24th, prohibiting poll taxes, in 1964; the 25th, specifying how to remove a president who is incapacitated or unfit to serve, passed in 1967; and the 26th, granting 18-year-olds the right to vote, in 1971; all reflected perhaps the most productive era of successful changes, notwithstanding the failure of the ERA. It took 20 more years for the 27th to pass, thus restricting effective dates of congressional salary increases in 1992. Now it’s been another 30 years. Please do not miss that the 27th, having been pending since 1789, reflected 202 years of the people waiting before the effort came to fruition.

I feel history since those successes in the 1960s, through to 18-year-olds getting the right to vote in ‘71, tracks a growing discord that has led us to the point of division we are at today. I do not currently believe such an amendment has a big chance of passing — even with the growing discord among small-state conservatives regarding Donald Trump’s activities. I would be supportive of such an effort, though. If we don’t even try, we will fail. Having already signed the petition asking for the amendment, I would also support formal efforts to negate the effects of Citizens United. That’s also the case with other subsequent Supreme Court decisions in the 21st century.

— Lyle Anderson


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