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Independence via ineligibility

The Creation of the Electoral College

by Dr Nicholas Cole (npcole)

Cite as: Dr Nicholas Cole, ‘Independence via ineligibility’ in N. P. Cole, Grace Mallon and Kat Howarth, The Creation of the Electoral College, Quill Project at Pembroke College (Oxford, 2016), item 64.

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Independence via ineligibility


If the executive magistrate were to be chosen by the legislatures, and especially for the term of seven years that had been agreed at this moment, then an alternative way to ensure that the magistrate did not become a creature of the legislative branch was simply to forbid re-election.

The concern of this proposal, again, seems to have been to ensure that the executive magistrate did feel true independence from the legislature --- and would, in fact, reflect a proper separation of powers by being a truly independent branch of government.

This proposal was clearly at odds with those arguing for a more accountable executive, whether that meant accountable to the national legislature or to the states. Democratic accountability, in the sense of a direct relationship with the people, does not appear to have exercised members of the Convention much at all at this stage.

Approved for publication