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ArtII.S1.C2.1 Overview of Electors Appointment Clause

Article II, Section 1, Clause 2:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, also known as the Electors Appointment Clause, provides for states to select electors to vote for the President and establishes that the number of each state’s electors will equal the number of its Senators and Representatives.1 The Framers adopted the Electors Appointment Clause as a compromise between the direct election of the President and his selection by Congress. Among the Framers’ objectives was to provide for the President’s selection by persons whose “sole purpose” would be choosing the best candidate for the President rather than by persons “selected for the general purposes of legislation.” 2 Notwithstanding this electoral system, divorcing selection of the President from partisan politics proved elusive.3

See McPherson v. Blacker, 146 U.S. 1, 35 (1892) (holding that this clause confers “plenary power to the state legislatures in the matter of the appointment of electors” ); see also Fitzgerald v. Green, 134 U.S. 377, 379 (1890) ( “By the constitution of the United States, the electors for president and vice president in each state are appointed by the state in such manner as its legislature may direct.” ). back
3 Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States § 1450 (1833). back
See ArtII.S1.C2.2 Historical Background on Electors Appointments Clause. back