The Presidential Electoral College is the body that is responsible for the election of the President of Stausland. It has 450 members elected by various means. It meets every four years.
It is based on the Denmanathen practice of electing the Emperor.
It was created by the constitutionin its original draft in 742. It is a controversial body, with many left-wing groups crtisising the 'Convocation seats' and the ex officio officers, others critisise the role of the states in it and that of the Union Congress. Others claim that it would distort the popular vote even if the 'institutional' delegate seats were abolished. Its proponents claim that the role of the states is necessary in a federal democracy and that Congress is an elected body anyway.
The incumbent remains in office while the College is in session (it meets or more formally 'opens session' in early November and theoretically can continue for 16 days).
When the College elects a candidate that person is known as the 'President Elect of the Union' but does not become 'President of the Union' until the 6th of January.
The procedings of the College voting chamber have been televised since 1972. Once the College opens session no delegates may leave the grounds of the Old Speaker's House except for urgent medical reason. Shortly after the College opens session the Chairman orders that 'the general public be cleared', even though it would only have been journalists and eminent people there in the first place. From that point on only those invited by the delegates may enter. These guests are only permitted from 9am to 9pm. At 9pm every night the House and grounds are searched. The television crews and security staff are technically guests of the Chairman but are entitled to stay all day (as is obviously necessary in the case of the secret service agents). Candidates do not have right of attendance but get around this by appointing themselves as delegates.
All delegates are paid £10,000 plus £500 for every day of the session excluding the first day. They receive a further £15,000 when the President Elect is sworn into office and declared President of the Union.
The Chairman of the Presidential Electoral College is paid £12,500 plus £500 for every day of session excluding the first day. He is paid a further £15,000 when the President Elect is declared President of the Union.
While in session the College has met in the Old Speaker's House since the Speaker of the House of Representitives left it in 1722, until then it met in Pennterston Castle, Saloire.
Nomination for the PesidencyEdit
Originally any eligible citizen could legally run for the presidency (that is, any citizen of Stausland of 15 years standing who shall be at least 30 when inaugurated). However it wasn't long before the ballot papers were clogged with no-hoper candidates who presumably ran for the sake of having their name on the paper. To save paper and combat this Congress passed the Presidential Candidacy Deposits Act. This required all those wishing to run to pay a hefty deposit, originally £5000 (equivalent to £600,000 today), this would be repaid only if the candidate received 20 votes on the opening ballot of the Electoral College.
For almost 160 years this worked very effectively until 922 when the Supreme Court struck it down in its Plereau vs the Union ruling on the grounds of the act preventing candidates who did not have the means of paying the deposit from being elected president. This they ruled violated the rules of democracy. As a result the 923 election saw 98 candidates on the ballot paper.
It was decided that a nominations process was required and that would require a constitutional amendment. The 20th Amendment was reffered to the states in 925 and passed in 926. It stated the following
Ratified and Sanctioned on this the 12th day of March the Year of Our Lord 926
Section One. No person shall contest any election for the Presidency of the Union unless that person shall have been nominated to the same.
Section Two. Only eligible citizens of the Union shall receive any such nomination.
Section Three. Eligible citizens of the Union shall be deemed to have been nominated if they do receive, and consent to, a Certificate of Nomination by one of the following means:
(1) The incumbent President of the Union, or any of his predecessors, shall grant the same.
(2) The Senate shall vote to grant the same, in which case the signatures of the approving Senators shall be listed.
(3) The House of Deputies shall vote to grant the same, in which case the names of each assenting and dissenting member shall be published in the Journal of that house and the Certificate shall be signed by the Speaker of the House.
(4) The Governor of any state, in the name of that same state, of the Union shall grant the same. He shall have discretion to grant the same to whichsoever eligible citizen of his choosing.
Section Four. Once such a Certificate of Nomination shall have been granted it shall not be revoked without the consent of the nominated party.
Section Five. Certificates of Nomination, once granted, shall not be deemed to be invalid due to the death, impeachment, resignation or vacation from office of the granting party.
Section Six. No more than one Certificate of Nomination each shall be granted by the incumbent President of the Union, nor by any former President of the Union, nor by either house of the Union Congress, nor in the name of any state for the same Presidential Election
Section Seven. Certificates of Nomination shall only be construed to one person, who shall be clearly named in the same.
Section Eight. Certificates of Nomination shall only be valid if granted between sixty and two-hundred and forty days prior to the Presidential Election.
Section Nine. Certificates of Nomination shall only be valid for the Presidential Election prior to which they are granted.
Section Ten. Parties empowered to grant Certificates of Nomination shall have the power to grant the same to themselves, within the confines of Section Two of the Amendment.
The Nominations Process TodayEdit
The nominations process allows larger parties to keep the Presidency amongst themselves. Indeed it is possible that if the incumbent president, all former presidents, both houses of congress and all 7 state governors were of the one party then that party could ensure that only their candidate is nominated. To date this has never happened, though it has often come close. It also reinforces the two-party system, especially since the decline of the Liberal Party. In fact since 1979 only Labour and Tory candidates have been nominated on all but one occasion, the 1999 elction, when the Liberal Party Governor of Phora nominated himself. In all cases the incumbent president's party has used the House of Deputies to nominate their candidate (it was decided that this makes it seem as though the president is popular and well liked). When the incumbent president's opposition controlled the Senate (which happened from 1980-1984 and 1996-2000) the opposing candidate was nominated by the Senate. Otherwise the incumbent's opposition candidate was nominated by a state governor.
Because Labour and the Tories use it to prevent parties such as the Liberals, the Socialist Party and the Republican Party from running candidates this system has been much criticised. The smaller parties want an amendment to reform it but the larger parties block such moves. Hence, the nomination system is here to stay.
While all delegates are theoretically equal most of them are pledged to a specific candidate. Only the 13 ex officio delegates and the Convocation delegates are not pledged. They are elected by different and controversial means.
These are the most common. They are appointed by a candidate according to the number of popular votes that candidate received. They are pledged to the candidate that appointed them and are therefore obliged to vote for that candidate until that candidate is either elected or eliminated.
For every complete 0.25% of the popular vote each candidate receives they receive one delegate or seat.
The delegates or 'seats' are apportioned to each candidate according to their popular vote. It is calculated on a Largest Remainder basis.
There are 400 popular seats. Therefore 100% / 400 = 0.25%.
The percentage of votes each candidate receives is divided by 0.25%.
Each candidate receives seats equal to the integer. Eg. if Candidate A recieves 50.375% of the popular vote then 50.375 / 0.25 = 201 with a remainder of 0.125%
When all the candidates have received seats equal to the integer then the unapportioned seats are awarded to the candidates with the largest remainders.
The candidate then appoints people to occupy these seats.
13 delegates hold their seats by virtue of their office. They are amongst the most controversial delegates as left-wingers claim them to be undemocratic.
Speaker of the HouseEdit
The Speaker of the House is not only an ex oficio member but is also the ex oficio Chairman. He/She is elected to position of Speaker at they opening of each House (every four years).
He invariably votes for the candidate of his party.
The Chancellors of the 5 'Universities Greater' are also ex oficio delegates. The Universities Greater are not recognised and protected by the Constitution like the Universities Lesser, however the Constitution allows Congress to "provide through law the means by which the remaining ten delegates are to be chosen, upon the presentation to the President of the Union of this same legislation it shall be returned to the Union Congress as though he had vetoed the same", the purpose of this is to ensure it is the legislative branch alone that chooses how they are to be apportioned, with a two-thirds majority in both houses. The Chancellors are elected for life by the 'Convocation' of the relevant University.
Of all the ex oficio officers they draw the most critisism as they more often than not vote for the Progressive Conservatives (Tories).
All state governors are also ex oficio members. They invariably vote for their own party.
Each convocation of each of the Universities Greater has the right to vote for one delegate, this delegate does not have any binding pledge but they are often elected on the undersatnding that they will vote for one candidate.
In four of the Universities it is by plurality vote but in the University of Clarrum if no candidate receives a majority of the vote on the first round then the 2 with the most votes continue on to the second round with the candidate with the most votes being elected. This is made possible by the fact that there is no postal vote in Clarrum and only those members of the convocation physically present on the night actually vote.
The Convocation seats have traditionally gone to the Progressive Conservatives, prior to the 70s the last non-Tory was elected by Clarrum in 1948. Since the 70s however there has been an increasing Labourite middle-class who have on rare occasions swung the Convocation for Labour
The University of Saloire holds the record for being most staunchly Tory, it last elected a non-Tory candidate in 1908.
A Convocation is the collective name given to the holders of degrees granted by a certain university, eg anyone with a Clarrum degree is a member of the Convocation.
In addition to the governors each state also sends two delegates to the College. The constitution leaves it to the states to decide how these delegates are elected. For many years most of these delegates held their positions ex officio. However, the last such ex officio delegate, the Secretary of State of Werva had this right removed in 1971, before the 1972 election.
Freesson is the only state in which these delegates are elected by the people.
In Santoire and New Oxlon the governor appoints both delegates.
In Phora, the only state to have a unicameral legislature, the Parliament (the General Assembly) elects one delegate and the governor appoints the other.
In Werva and Vynnton the upper house (the Senate in both cases) elects one candidate and the lower house (the Chamber of Delegates and the Assembly, respectively) elects the other
In Clare both delegates are elected by the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies.
The Constitutional also grants representation to Congress, though these delegates are pledged to candidates. They are awarded nine each to the House and Senate.
The Senate uses the Hare Quota largest remainder system for apportioning delegates. The 126 Senators (the President of the Senate has no vote) vote by secret ballot (the idea being to prevent a whip being imposed by the parties) for a specific candidate. As there are nine seats the quota is 14.
Therefore the number of votes a candidate receives is divided by 14. The candidate is then apportioned delegates equal to the integer. At the end any unapportioned delegates are awarded to the candidates with the largest remainders. Eg if Candidate A receives 78 votes and Candidate B receives the remaining 48 then: 78/14 = 5.57 and 48/14=3.42. Thus, A receives 5 seats and B 4, then 1 seat is left over and as 0.57 is greater than 0.42 A gets the remaining seat.
Therefore for every 14 votes a candidate receives they are awarded one delegate. Because of the hare Quota if two candidates receive half of the votes each then both will have the same remainder, this has happened only seven times in history, 5 times that was because the Senate was halved between the parties and twice because some Senators crossed the floor (though their identities were protected by the secret ballot). In such case where there is a tie for a seat the President of the Senate may award it to whichever one he wishes, usually his own party.
House of DeputiesEdit
The House of Deputies uses the similar Droop Quota. Thus the quota is equal to the number of votes divided by the number of seats (9) plus one and then one is added to that. Thus if the full house voted the quota would be (1000/(9+1))+1=101. This favours the majority party more than the hare quota in the Senate. As the House is rarely of a different party to the incumbent president it is usually his party that benefits.
In the House there is also a secret ballot, which can often lead to surprising cases of candidates crossing the floor, in 1995 for example a House which had 512 Tory members actually only gave the Tory candidate (the incumbent President Julian Aster) 495 votes, giving Labour the last delegate.
Just like in the Senate the largest remainder system is used.
The Chief Clerk is the most senior officer of the College after the Chairman. He is invariably a high-ranking civil servant. He is charged with organising and administering the College.
The Chief Clerk also takes the vote. At the end of each 'ballot' the CC rises and call the name of each delegate that doesn't have a standing pledge.
He is paid £75,000 plus £500 for every day of the session.
The Chairman presides over debate and ballots. He is theoretically responsible for the welfare of the College though this is in reality handled by civil servants and is arranged beforehand.
By far his most important duty is to preside over debate, he may order delegates to be seated and can 'adjourn conference'.
He remains a delegate and retains the right to vote. If on the 'final ballot' there is a tie he can cast the deciding vote, this however has only ever happened eight times in 1,266 years or once in every 40 elections or so. These were the elections of 1224, 1396, 1440, 1608, 1748, 1828, 1900 and 1916.
The Speaker of the House of Representitives is the ex officio Chairman of the College.
The tenure of the Chairman ends with the dissolution of the Electoral College at midday on the 6th of January.
The Senior Clerks assist the CC. They too are civil servants. Their main duties are taking the minutes during ballot debates.
They are paid £50,000 plus £500 for every day of the session.
The 'Conclave' is over 1,250 yrs old and is therefore steeped in tradition.
Since 1724 it has met in the Old speaker's House in the Capital District of Saloire. The delegates sleep in the left and right wings, live in the main house and meet to vote in the middle wing. In the middle wing there is a large semi-circular chamber. The delegates dine together in the State Dining Room in the main haouse. Due to a lack of space the delegates are not allowed to have anyone stay with them though they are allowed visoters during the day.
Every delegate appointed by a candidate has a binding and constitutionally recognised pledge to that candidate. This means that unless his 'patron candidate' is eliminated he is obliged to vote for his patron. For this reason the CC never calls the names of pledged delegates when taking the vote.
If a delegate's patron candidate is eliminated then the delegate is legally free to vote for any candidate. However, because coalitions are sometimes required for getting candidates over the line they usually vote for who their patron tells them to.
Debate and VoteEdit
Every morning at around 11 O'Clock the delegates meet in the 'chamber'. There may be a debate, though it rarely goes on for long (the Chairman isn't obliged to have any debate) and then he instructs the Chief Clerk to take a roll-vote. One by one the Chief Clerk (CC) calls the names of all those who don't have a 'standing pledge'.
He then adds up the totals including the standing pledges and hands the results to the Chairman. The Chairman then announces the vote. The results are then published.
The opening ballot takes place in the late afternoon of Day 1 of the session. The Chairman usually makes a speech and and a roll-vote is taken. There is rarely a victory on the opening ballot.
For every day after there are two ballots a day. One beginning at 11 O'Clock and the other at 5 O'Clock (this refers to the time the meeting starts as opposed to the time the vote is taken).
The required vote or quota is depends on the ballot number. For the opening ballot and for a subsequent 14 ballots the required quota is 2 out of every 3 votes cast. If the number of votes cast is not devisable by three then the quota is equal to the smallest two-thirds (ie if 449 votes cast then quota is equal to (2/3 x 447)+1 = 299. If 448 votes were cast then the quota would be 298).
If after 15 ballots (8 days inluding the first day) there still has been no victor then the quota is reduced to the largest three-fifths. Presuming every delegate votes this would result in a quota of 270.
If after a further 14 ballots no candidate has been elected then all but the two candidates with the highest vote on the previous round are eliminated. This is the only time when candidates are eliminated. The quota remains unchanged but there is a higher chance of a candidate making the quota.
If there is still no elected candiate then a simple majority vote may decide the matter. If there is a tie then the Chairman is obliged to cast the deciding vote in favour of one of the candidates.
The last of the above outcomes is quite common as many presidents are unwilling to water down their policies for the sake of winning the votes of another party when they would win the majority vote anyway.