by Barbara Shrump
Recently, false comments have been circulating regarding the 2020 election. Fortunately, our forefathers were wise enough to include specific information in the Constitution that was to be followed for just such a situation. If you check Article 11, you will find information regarding the election of the president and when. Most unlikely, but if Congress would delay the election, the current president's term ends on January 20 no matter what according to amendment XX. The Constitution would need to be amended to do otherwise. The president could declare an emergency, but does not have the authority to move elections. Trying to plan for any occasion and depending on the past experience and knowledge, the framers projected far into the future to guide us through our current upheaval.
THE CONSTITUTION IN ACTION
by Barbara Shrump
Amendment One: Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right to the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
On Saturday, June 6, at the Irwin Amphitheater, the surrounding area was treated to a presentation of our Constitution in action. Recent current issues prompted several Norwin High School students to organize an event to show support for the Black Lives Matter Movement, thus demonstrating one of our rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Even though African-Americans comprise only about one percent of the local population, Lily Janosz, one of the student organizers, stressed, "...It's a human rights issue." Student presenters, clergy, and professionals in related fields revealed their experiences. The 300 person group was predominantly a younger crowd, many were parents with children in strollers.
Even though concerns arose about disruptions, the event proceeded smoothly as a police presence watched from the hillside. Speakers followed one another quickly, while announcements alerted the audience to water. A register-to-vote area was available, and members of the younger crowd took advantage of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in November.
Rightfully, Irwin officials recognized citizens' rights. Borough manager summarized one of our Constitutional guarantees when she said, "You can't give someone a permit for the right to free speech."
ELECTION AUTHORITY ARTICLE 11
by Barbara Shrump
Beginning in early February and continuing through April, the news has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. Rightfully so, the focus has been on health issues. Thus, the primary election season has been altered with postponements. Some states waited to the end to take action (Ohio) while others (Wisconsin) insisted on in-person voting with no absentee ballot extension. States have the authority to change primary election dates, but not the timing of the presidential election.
November third has been designated as the federal presidential date. According to the Article 11 of the Constitution, Congress holds the power to designate time and place for holding elections. Article 11 of the Constitution clearly states this congressional power with the added point that the date is the same throughout the United States. No president could revise this constitutional rule unless Congress approved, which is unlikely.
So even though citizens are greatly affected by the current medical issue, attention will need to be focused on the November election as we move through this medical emergency. Will mail-in voting become more widespread? Are there groups working in the background who hope to seize this national emergency to promote their agenda? Will this time of uncertainty be converted into an agenda that will further disenfranchise voters?
The right to vote is a most critical right in our democracy. The November third election is growing everyday as one of great consequence. When people vote, they represent America's ideals and promise.