As we come up to yet another election, we face the prospect of control of state and national legislatures being decided by black box voting machines and gerrymandered districts. This flies in the face of everything the founders stood for. The underlying principal that should be the cornerstone of our democracy must be one citizen, one vote.
Enough of the bogus voter suppression laws and the voting machines with no verifiability. Enough with the gerrymandered districts that make one citizen’s vote much less valuable than another citizen’s. Enough with the districts that look like a serpent in a nightmare. And especially enough with huge amounts of anonymous money being used to scorch the field of play in an election.
America is nearly 250 years old. At that age it is time she start to act like an adult and settle her squabbles through fair processes.
When Democrats are back in control, let me recommend that their first order of business should be to restore integrity to our democracy. This can be done by making elections fully open to scrutiny. That would mean voting in such a way that ballots can be retrieved and recounted. It is time to be done with any machine voting or counting. We should do what the Irish did with their voting machines when they realized they could be so easily tampered with. They sold them as scrap metal.
Instead as we move forward we need to look backward to a time when voting was done Wirth a paper and a pencil and the ballot could be recounted over and over.
Secondly, the voter suppression laws must be done away with. The 15th amendment was passed in 1870, and ever since then various states have been trying all sorts of tricks and hocus-pocus to cheat citizens out of their right to vote. Today’s “exact match” and Ohio’s “voter purge” laws are merely recent incarnations of suppression tactics of a previous era known as Jim Crow laws that used poll taxes and grandfather clauses to keep African Americans from voting. Enough with these shenanigans.
If a person is a citizen, they should have a right to vote. I would go even further and say that the state should implement rules that automatically registers a citizen when they come of age. Further, should anyone lose their vote, they must be notified and have a hearing when their most precious right is taken from them.
One special class of citizens that may automatically lose their right to vote are felons. Yet once they have completed their sentence their right to vote must be restored immediately upon completion of sentence.
As for the gerrymandering, districts should be contiguous and as equal in population as is possible based on legitimate census numbers. If possible, districts should also be competitive in nature so as to insure issues will be fully debated.
As for money in politics – the age old question of politicians being for sale – the best answer would be campaigns funded by tax dollars. This would level the playing field for most competitors and give a challenger a fighting chance. However in America there is also the the concern of what to do with the “super-Pacs” where tons of money can be used by one side or another in thinly veiled ads that are actually campaign ads.
The impact of super-Pac advertising is that it gives the richest in America an avenue of influence that others do not have. Currently there are no limits on super-Pac contributions or spending. Nor are there any rules on openness that allow the names of those contributing to these campaigns to be released. At the very least there must be openness in divulging who is trying to sway the public opinion.
Coming off one election that was very suspect and careening into another election without one damn problem being fixed, it is time to take inventory of the election system and get about making the changes that will restore faith in this system. We can’t expect republicans to do anything to restore the election system integrity. Most of the problems that the system has now was created by their party.
Since the courts have been packed from stem to stern with Republicans of pretty much the same ideology we can’t expect the courts to be a voice of sense in this area much longer.
However if the election systems are not fixed soon, faith in the system will erode as fast as a dune in a hurricane.