The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution: “The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate….” This provision gives citizens the right to vote for President and Vice President.
W. Cleon Skousen explained, “The Twelfth Amendment was designed to correct the deficiencies in the electoral college system. Article II, section 1 provided that the electors were invited to vote for `two persons,’ without separately designating either of them for President or Vice President. The idea was that the one who received the most votes would automatically become the President and the second in line would be assigned the office of Vice President. If none of the candidates had a majority, then Congress would select these officers from among the top five candidates….” (See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 714.)
Charles Fried at The Heritage Foundation explained, “The Twelfth Amendment sets out the procedures for the election of the President and Vice President: Electors cast one vote for each office in their respective states, and the candidate having the majority of votes cast for a particular office is elected. If no person has a majority for President, the House of Representatives votes from among the top three candidates, with each state delegation casting one vote. In the case of a failure of any vice presidential candidate to gain a majority of electoral votes, the Senate chooses between the top two candidates. The procedure for choosing the President and Vice President is set out in Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2-6, of the Constitution. This amendment replaces the third clause of that section, which had called for only a single, which had called for only a single set of votes for President and Vice President, so that the vice presidency would go to the presidential runner-up. In the unamended Constitution, the choice in the case of a non-majority in the Electoral College fell to the House of Representatives, as it does under the amendment, and the runner-up there would be chosen as Vice President.” (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 377-378.)