Federalist Papers Summary 61

 

Federalist Papers Summary No. 61

 
 

Federalist Papers Author Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton

Federalist Papers Summary Number 61

The Federalist Papers Summary No 61: Hamilton
February 26, 1788

This paper addresses the critics who suggest that the constitution should require that all elections should be had in the counties where the electors reside.  It is admitted that such a declaration would be harmless but it would “have afforded little or no additional security against the danger apprehended”.  The argument used against this suggestion is by looking at how the states currently hold elections and noting that there is little complaint concerning the regulations which do not include such a requirement.  New York is singled out since that is where Hamilton lives.  If Albany could, for example, be appointed as the sole place for the election of the county and district would not Albany's inhabitants soon become the sole members of the Senate and Assembly for that district?  Citizens living at remote locations within the district would not travel the distance necessary to vote.  Similarly the federal government could make New York City the sole place to elect representatives and thus ensure that only New Yorkers would be elected.  But existing state laws do not allow such invasions on the freedom to vote so there is no reason to expect that federal law is required to prevent like invasions.

He ends the discussion of regulating the elections by noting that this clause in the constitution ,repeated in paper number 59, allows for uniformity in the time of elections for the Federal House of Representatives which is a positive advantage.  Assume there is a faction with “an improper spirit”controlling the House and every state elected new members at random times during the year.  As the new members trickled in they could be assimilated into the existing mass providing no change.  Uniform time of change would eliminate this probability.  Similarly the rotation of the Senate should also be synchronized. 

 

Summary Written by Donald Mellon

 

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