CSUN held an event in the Grand Salon discussing the Constitution on Saturday, Sept.13. The main topic was about what the Constitution says about the electoral process.
‘Not much,’ according to Dr. James Sefton, who is a history professor at CSUN.
Sefton, along with Dr. John Evans, spoke on the Constitution. The event was held four days before Constitution Day, which is celebrated on Sept. 17.
‘The Constitution arose in a different period of time’hellip;The Constitution was building a country with 18th century dimensions, not 21st century,’ Sefton said.
When the Constitution was written, the country had a small population, it was an agricultural country, locally oriented and it was a republic.
One of the things that the Constitution wanted to change was the executive power, which ‘was not there’ according to Sefton. We vote for the executive power, better known as the president, through the Electoral College, he said. The Electoral College is a group of 538 elected officials who vote for president, not by popular vote.
‘They do not have to vote for the candidate they are pledged to,’ said Sefton. ‘The electoral college is an improvisation to settle disputes and to balance interest.’
He posed the question of why the popular voted wasn’t used to determine the president.
‘There was no confidence in the will of the people,’ Sefton said. There were ‘no national media in 1787, no political parties,’ he added.
Even though some would like the presidential race to be decided by a popular vote, there has not been a constitutional crisis regarding the electoral process.
‘It ensures candidates have a variety of popularity’hellip;Someone shouldn’t lose because they are unpopular in one state,’ Evans said.
After Sefton’s lecture focusing on the electoral process, Evans focused on what the Constitution said about voting. Evans’s response was similar to Sefton’s concerning electoral votes.
‘The Constitution is pretty silent on the right to vote,’ Evans said. ‘But Congress can step in and protect.’
After Evans’s speech the floor was opened for questions. One young woman wanted to know if former felons could vote. Dr. Sefton replied, ‘the judges decide.’ Another question came from a student who wanted to know if illegal immigrants could vote. Sefton responded, ‘according to the 15th amendment you are a U.S citizen if you are born here’.
At the conclusion of the event Evans emphasized the importance of knowing the Constitutional rights.
‘At least read it’hellip; Just read the damn thing,’ he said.