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Ballentine is Wrong About Constitution


Dear Editor:

St. Thomas soi-disant "philosopher" and unsuccessful 2004 candidate for delegate to Congress, Krim Ballentine, is still trying to get somewhere with a lawsuit he filed in 1999 challenging the legitimacy of the Revised Organic Act of 1954. He has now taken his case to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, after being rebuffed by federal courts in the territory.
Ballentine wants Virgin Islanders to have the right to vote for President of the United States and wants the congressional representative from the islands to be able to vote on the floor of Congress. Currently, the delegate can only vote in committee.
Ballentine told a local paper that Virgin Islanders are citizens of the United States and he argues that the federal Constitution "delineates no reason why they cannot vote for president." Actually, the constitution does delineate why they can't, since that document provides that presidents are chosen by states, not by people. It just so happens that all states have individually adopted popular-vote systems for choosing delegates to the Electoral College, which does the actual voting.
The only jurisdiction that is not a state and has electoral votes is the District of Columbia, which was granted three Electoral College votes by amendment to the Constitution in the 1960s. For Virgin Islanders or Puerto Ricans to win the right to vote for president, they would have to have the Constitution amended, create their own state, or move to the mainland.
Merely being a citizen of the United States confers no right to vote in any election. Felons can't vote; children under 18 can't vote; and adults who have failed to register as electors can't vote. Ballentine is wasting our, and the court's, time.
Robert Hoffman
St. Croix

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