The Arizona Republic

Sen. Allen correct about states’ power


THE MEDIA: Web. WHO SAID IT: Sylvia Allen. OFFICE: State senator, District 6; Senate president pro-tempore. PARTY: Republican. THE COMMENT: “How the Electoral votes are appropriat­ed is only one of two of the powers the state legislator­s have been given in the U.S. Constituti­on. The other is Article V which allows the states to propose amendments to the Constituti­on.” THE FORUM: Facebook post on Dec. 20, 2016.

WHAT WE’RE LOOKING AT: The powers of state legislator­s outlined in the U.S. Constituti­on.

ANALYSIS: The U.S. electoral college voted in December to seal Presidente­lect Donald Trump’s victory despite Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory margin of nearly 3 million. Last week, Congress, meeting in a joint session, certified the outcome of the Electoral College balloting.

This presidenti­al election marks the fifth time the Electoral College victor did not win the popular vote, according to That has led to loud debate of the merits of the Electoral College system.

Senator Sylvia Allen’s Facebook post came in response to what she said was a lot of email from constituen­ts “asking (her) to change the way the Electoral College works in our state.”

The two powers she claims the Constituti­on grants state legislator­s are specified in articles II and V:

» Article II, section 1: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislatur­e thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representa­tives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”

» Article V: “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constituti­on, or, on the Applicatio­n of the Legislatur­es of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments.”

The Constituti­on mentions those two specific state powers, but the 10th Amendment addresses more broadly states’ powers: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constituti­on, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respective­ly, or to the people.”

James Weinstein, a professor at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, said in an email that the 10th Amendment doesn’t give power to the states. “That amendment merely confirmed what was implicit in the Constituti­on before the amendments, namely, that the power not delegated to the federal government remained with the states or the people,” he wrote in the email.

These state powers include establishi­ng local government­s, regulating state commerce and regulating corporatio­ns, among other powers.

Regarding the Electoral College, the members are selected by political parties in each state. According to the National Archives and Records Administra­tion, “They may be state elected officials, state party leaders, or people in the state who have a personal or political affiliatio­n with their party’s Presidenti­al candidate.”

BOTTOM LINE: Allen is correct that choosing electors and proposing constituti­onal amendments are two powers reserved for the states and outlined in the Constituti­on. They are not, however, the entirety of state powers since the 10th Amendment specifies powers “not delegated to the federal government” remain with the states.

THE FINDING: Four stars: True SOURCES: Sylvia Allen’s Facebook post; “Presidents Winning Without Popular Vote,”; U.S. Constituti­on, Constitute­; “About the Electors,” National Archives and Records Administra­tion.

 ?? REPUBLIC FILE PHOTO ?? State Sen. Sylvia Allen was right about states’ power over the Electoral College.
REPUBLIC FILE PHOTO State Sen. Sylvia Allen was right about states’ power over the Electoral College.

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