Questions relating to the 12th amendment of the US Constitution. This amendment provides the procedure for electing the president and vice president.
The 12th amendment is described below:
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;--The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;--the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
In summary, it states that:
The electoral college shall meet every presidential election to cast their votes for President and Vice President, a simple majority electoral votes means said candidate is elected president.
Electors cannot vote for both a President and Vice President, each from the same state as the elector.
- If no candidate gets a majority, then the top three are chosen by ballot, per state in the House of Representatives. A majority of at least two-thirds of the states need to agree on someone.
- If, after part 3, no one is picked by March 4th of the next year (changed to January 20th of the next year by the 20th amendment), then the Vice President becomes the president as if the president has died or suffered another constitutional disabiltiy.
- The person who has the simple majority of electoral votes for Vice-President becomes vice-president, and in cases where a simple majority is not reached, a similar process is followed as in part 3. The top two candidates for vice president are picked in a run off by the Senate. Whoever gets a majority of at least two thirds senators present becomes Vice President.
- If someone is not constitutionally eligible to become the President, they are also not eligible to be Vice President.
Relevant Case Law
There is very little case law on the 12th amendment. The only case issuing a landmark interpretation was Ray v Blair which stated that electors are representatives of a state, and can legally be asked to take a pledge to support their party's nominee in the general election:
Where a state authorizes a political party to choose its nominees for Presidential Electors in a state-controlled party primary election and to fix the qualifications for the candidates, it is not violative of the Federal Constitution for the party to require the candidates for the office of Presidential Elector to take a pledge to support the nominees of the party's National Convention for President and Vice-President or for the party's officers to refuse to certify as a candidate for Presidential Elector a person otherwise qualified who refuses to take such a pledge. Pp. 343 U. S. 215-231.
The particular portion about the 12th amendment is mentioned here:
The Twelfth Amendment does not bar a political party from requiring of a candidate for Presidential Elector in its primary a pledge to support the nominees of its National Convention. Pp. 343 U. S. 228-231.