(Letter to the Editor)
Patriots for Liberty & Constitution is a small group that gets together once a week to study the Constitution. We are currently studying Federalist 59 to 61. Traditionally, these papers do not receive much attention. After all, we know that elections are held in November. But, with the introduction of HR1, the “Voting Rights Bill,” things changed.
Federalist 59 to 61 are on elections; corresponding with the US Constitution Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1, which reads:
“The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”
The Biden Administration and Pelosi’s Congress see the Constitution as a Living Document, by interpreting it with current practical terms. Or, to make the Constitution fit their needs. Regarding elections, they wanted to eliminate safeguards and verification procedures to ensure a certain outcome. A casual reader of Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1 might say that the Progressive side of the government would be in their right to dictate changes to election laws.
Are there any other views of the Constitution? Yes, there are. These include interpreting the Constitution with the Original Intent or interpreting it as how We the People understood it when it was passed. Federalist 59, 60, and 61 provide us with the other views.
Three views of the Constitution
A Living Document. As such, interpret it with current practical terms
Original Intent. Interpret it according to the intent of the Framers of the Constitution
We the People. How did we understand it when we passed it?
Alexander Hamilton tells us during the founding era, there was no uniformity in elections, in the areas of “Times, Places and Manner.”
Time: Elections were held somewhere between March and November. One state had its election in Spring; others in Summer or late Fall. With the passage of the Constitution, we have national elections in November. The frequency of elections is also addressed, with the Congress every other year, and the members of the Senate serving six-years term, with one-third of them up for elections every other year.
Places: Citizens were not always able to cast their votes. Voting places were limited to specific areas, such as big cities. The Framers wanted to address this issue by requiring that at the minimum, one polling place be made available in each County.
Manner: As an extra safeguard to liberty, elections of the House of Representatives, Senators, and the President were defined to ensure proper representations as well as to guard against foreign or special interest meddling.
Both the original intent and the understanding of We the People were fulfilled. But, why did we do it? Admittedly, this is a complex system. In addition to the proper representation of the people, we want to safeguard the liberty and sovereignty of the States.
Ironically, Hamilton warned of elections rules that do not adhere to the “rigid conformity to the rules was incompatible” with the Constitution.
I close with this quote from Hamilton in Federalist 59, which identifies elections as a weapon against the People when not adhering to the rigid established rules.
“With so effectual a weapon in their hands as the exclusive power of regulating elections for the national government, a combination of a few such men, in a few of the most considerable States, where the temptation will always be the strongest, might accomplish the destruction of the Union, by seizing the opportunity of some casual dissatisfaction among the people.”