Vikram D. Amar
University of California, Davis - School of Law
Yale Law School
May 1, 1992
Virginia Law Review, Vol. 78, No. 4, p. 913, 1992
A funny thing happened on the way to the White House in 1988. A large number of swing voters split their tickets in various ways — most prominently by voting for a Republican in the presidential contest and for Democrats in congressional races. Various polls also suggested that many Americans preferred the Republican nominee for President, but the Democratic nominee for Vice President. Yet, voters were not allowed to split their tickets by voting for a Republican President and a Democratic Vice President. Dan Quayle now stands a proverbial heartbeat away from the Oval Office, despite a real possibility that a majority of the 1988 electorate, if given a clear choice, would not have put him there.
This essay addresses the issue of executive ticket splitting through identifying recent developments and patterns. We will discuss possible sources for the rule against ticket splitting in presidential elections and conclude that the prohibition is rooted in state law and practice, rather than federal statutory or constitutional law. We will also examine theory, policy and history to identify and question possible justifications for the rule. Lastly, we suggest some advantages of permitting voters to split their federal executive tickets.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Date posted: November 23, 2011