Cheney Would Face Constitutional Hurdles

ByABC News
July 20, 2000, 6:39 PM

July 20 -- If George W. Bush picks former Defense Secretary Richard Cheney as his running mate, a prospect that has been the subject of increasing speculation, he could face a constitutional hurdle when electoral college members from Texas cast their votes.

In recent days, several senior Republican sources have suggested that Cheney, who is heading up the Texas governors search for a presidential running mate, might well be on the list himself. And Bushs refusal to rule out tapping Cheney in a chat with reporters aboard his campaign plane Tuesday night started political tongues wagging.

When questioned by ABCNEWS, Cheney refused to comment on reports hes a leading contender, saying only He (Bush) will make a decision this week.

But theres a hitch in the Bush-Cheney pairing. Both Bush, who lives in Austin, and Cheney, who lives in Dallas, reside in Texas.

And under the 12th Amendment, electors can cast their votes for president and vice president with one restriction one of the two shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.

If the peculiar term inhabitant is equivalent to the modern day resident as some constitutional law experts say it might be electoral votes cast for both Bush and Cheney by Texans could theoretically be disqualified.

Option 1

Cheney could try to reestablish residency in another state perhaps in Nebraska, where he was born, or Wyoming, where he served as a congressman.

But residency means different things to different state agencies.

If it was to register to vote, explains Pat Arp, a spokesman for the Wyoming secretary of state, we are a state that has same-day voter registration then you could register to vote, she says.

But if Cheney wanted, say, a license to hunt game, hed have to wait at least a year.

And legal experts say its up to the courts to decide which type of residency would be constitutionally correct.