As a representative government, the people give their consent to be governed by the elected at the ballot box. Any system that allows selective access to the ballot or relies on an intermediary interpretive process to determine the outcome of an election, is susceptible to CORRUPTION of its integrity. Does our current election system produce a CLEAR MANDATE from the people? If we created a NEW ELECTORAL SYSTEM, what would we want that system to BE…
A political system in which candidates run for office based solely on the merits of their ideas. An election system in which the winning candidate is decided by the people at EVERY step of the process, from the Primary to the General election. When you walk into the booth in November, you already know every candidate on the ballot because every candidate has already faced MULTIPLE statewide primary elections and they have been fully vetted… not by a group of wealthy individuals or entities who stand to profit off of a particular candidate, but by EVERY REGISTERED VOTER in EVERY STATE.
Right now, how do candidates for office make it on to the ballot? MONEY. And that effects EVERY aspect of our daily lives, in the form of the legislative agendas pursued by the winning candidates.
In our current Primary Election Process, KANSAS has just as much Electoral Power as CALIFORNIA… because neither of us are IOWA, or NEW HAMPSHIRE, or SOUTH CAROLINA. By the time the first handful of States have decided who they think should be on the ballot, the impression of being a “viable candidate” has been cast. Any candidate that doesn’t win in those first States, in the eyes of the voters, is irrelevant.
But, then again… it really doesn’t matter what the voters decide at the ballot box. ALL decisions are made at the convention by the DELEGATES. The long days, shaking hands, eating corn dogs, promising this and that… if the DELEGATES can’t agree, it’s all up for grabs.
The Constitution does not outline our current system. It’s a patchwork of precedent and legislative guardrails passed to prevent misdeeds from reoccurring, while ignoring wrongdoing that goes “undetected”, and failing to prevent future abuses of a largely unregulated system.
We should not stifle candidate’s voices or limit their possibilities, but we should more clearly define the parameters in which they are allowed to operate.
Every candidate’s message should be fully accessible to every voter INSTANTLY via a universally trusted source. Without the filter of the media. Without the filter of moneyed interests. If a question of substance arises during the campaign, a voter should have easy access in order to ask that question, and how the candidate chooses to address it will be seen by EVERY VOTER. On the FIRST DAY. On the LAST DAY. Every voter. Every candidate, regardless of party.
No legally binding limitations on candidates’ ability to engage in debate. The vision and direction of the campaign should be decided by the candidate and judged by the voters, not first judged by the FUNDRAISERS and THEN the voters. The current system gives rise to deception, in fact it is REQUIRED to be successful. Candidates are forced to run a campaign that appeals to a majority of HALF of the electorate FIRST, to display PARTY LOYALTY… in order to secure FUNDS.
“The presidential contest — primaries and all — accounts for $2.4 billion of that total. The other $4 billion or so went to congressional races. The tally includes spending by campaigns, party committees and outside sources.”
– The Washington Post (04-14-2017)
… how much of that total is just waste and greed?
All Federal Elections should be 100% FUNDED by the TAX PAYERS. The candidate directs the message and creates the VISION, the PEOPLE fund its creation.
Yes… that is a lot of money. But just consider the amounts currently spent on advertising and appearances on media outlets. The United States can leverage a better deal when purchasing ad blocks for EVERY CANDIDATE and air-time for ALL EVENTS… equally. It unlocks multiple possibilities for SAVINGS, but also for GROWTH.
All of the effort dedicated to changing the way we choose our candidates would be wasted if we did not address the other side of this issue… who should be allowed to vote in our elections.
Voter suppression. Through threat of violence, through fear and intimidation. Through misinformation and misappropriation. MILLIONS of dollars are spent every year to stop people from casting a vote. To paint a picture in the minds of select groups of voters that says, ‘Your vote doesn’t count’ or ‘Send a message by NOT voting’… all while knowingly aiding their preferred candidate just by keeping people OUT of the process.
LOWER participation in their eyes, means VICTORY on Election Day.
The War on Drugs has created a PERMANENT way to disenfranchise millions of voters through the legal process. Laws carrying punishments that take away voting rights, written by legislators that are BEHOLDEN to campaign DONORS, both of whom will never be targeted by such laws. Even if they were, they could easily afford the legal fees necessary to evade punishment.
Felony convictions, YEARS behind bars… for possession. MILLIONS of people who cannot vote while serving their sentence, and are unable to regain their right to vote once released. The requirements in some States are vague, unattainable, or discretionary depending upon who stands before the governing body that decides their fate.
– Orlando Weekly (10-31-2018)
Elected officials represent ALL of the people in their districts. Right now, prison populations are INCLUDED in Census numbers, deciding how much federal funding goes where.
– The Huffington Post (02-08-2018)
For-profit legislators, beholden to for-profit organizations who FUND their campaign…
Sounds like an easy way to stack the deck.
Every prisoner should have the right to vote, while serving their sentence and after they are released. If the goal is rehabilitation and a successful transition back into society, then they should feel like they are a part of the system and have a say in their destiny.
At the very least, they should be able to hold their representatives accountable when they have failed to protect their interests:
What should be required to vote?
That, and age.
The age of enfranchisement was lowered under President Nixon from 21 to 18. As the Vietnam War raged and the draft was sending citizens 18 years and older off to war, it made sense to give them a VOICE on who was making that decision. From another perspective, I would not want to send someone off to war without their having a say in the matter, just as I would not want a CHILD deciding my fate.
But our definition of the word “war” has evolved. Since that time, we’ve invaded a country unilaterally without evidence supporting our decision. We’ve declared a war on an “idea” that has no clearly defined objective, and we’re currently under attack in an undeclared VIRTUAL WAR where NO ONE can be charged with aiding and abetting our adversary.
In 2019, more CIVILIANS died in mass shootings than SOLDIERS were killed on the battlefield in the War on Terror.
“The latest fatality brings the number of U.S. deaths in Afghanistan this year to 20. There have also been three non-combat deaths in 2019. More than 2,400 Americans have died in the nearly 18-year conflict.”
– military.com (12-23-2019)
“In 46 weeks this year, there have been 45 school shootings. That’s nearly an average of one school shooting a week.
Of those, 32 of them were at facilities serving Kindergarten through 12th grade.”
– CNN (11-19-2019)
“The GVA said there was a total of 15,381 gun deaths — including homicides, suicides and accidents — and 29,568 injuries in 2019.”
– CBS News (01-02-2020)
… and elected officials in the United States Senate still DO NOT ACT to SAVE LIVES.
At 16 we can get a job, drive a car, and PAY TAXES. The ability to participate in our society begins at 16.
Every United States citizen over the age of 16 should be guaranteed the Right to Vote. That should be the goal of the United States Election System.