Amendment XII

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;--The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;--The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President--The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

The Twelfth Amendment was proposed by Congress on 9 Dec. 1803, when it passed the House, having previously passed the Senate on 2 Dec. (Annals 13:209, 775--76). It was not signed by the presiding officers of the House and Senate until 12 Dec. It appears officially in 2 Stat. 306. Ratification was probably completed on 15 June 1804, when the legislature of the thirteenth State (New Hampshire) approved the amendment, there being then seventeen States in the Union. The Governor of New Hampshire, however, vetoed this act of the legislature on 20 June, and the act failed to pass again by two-thirds vote then required by the State constitution. Inasmuch as Article 5 of the Federal Constitution specifies that amendments shall become effective "when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States or by conventions in three-fourths thereof," it has been generally believed that an approval or veto by a governor is without significance. If the ratification by New Hampshire be deemed ineffective, then the amendment became operative by Tennessee's ratification on 27 July 1804. On 25 Sept. 1804, in a circular letter to the Governors of the several States, Secretary of State Madison declared the amendment ratified by three-fourths of the States.

The several State legislatures ratified the Twelfth Amendment on the following dates: North Carolina, 22 Dec. 1803; Maryland, 24 Dec. 1803; Kentucky, 27 Dec. 1803; Ohio, between 5 Dec. and 30 Dec. 1803; Virginia, between 20 Dec. 1803 and 3 Feb. 1804; Pennsylvania, 5 Jan. 1804; Vermont, 30 Jan. 1804; New York, 10 Feb. 1804; New Jersey, 22 Feb. 1804; Rhode Island, between 27 Feb. and 12 Mar. 1804; South Carolina, 15 May 1804; Georgia, 19 May 1804; New Hampshire, 15 June 1804; and Tennessee, 27 July 1804. The amendment was rejected by Delaware on 18 Jan. 1804, and by Connecticut at its session begun 10 May 1804. Massachusetts ratified this amendment in 1961.

1.House of Representatives, Amendments to the Constitution, 22 Jan. 1801
2.James A. Bayard to Alexander Hamilton, 8 Mar. 1801
3.Alexander Hamilton, Draft of a Resolution for the Legislature of New York for the Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, 29 Jan. 1802
4.Alexander Hamilton to Gouverneur Morris, 4 Mar. 1802
5.Senate, Amendment to the Constitution, 1--2 Dec. 1803
6.James Madison to Thomas Jefferson, 14 Jan. 1824
7.James Madison to Henry Lee, 14 Jan. 1825
8.William Rawle, A View of the Constitution of the United States 57--59 1829 (2d ed.)