This past election illustrated in vivid detail why we need swift and comprehensive election reform in this country. Please, do not misconstrue my meaning, I don't question the results of the election, I just think that they happened in spite of the current system. Because of the fracturing of the system, there is an inordinate amount of money spent in order to encourage or, much to the shame of our nation, discourage people from going to the polls. As a country we should work to change this as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Other countries have in place regulations and laws designed to encourage the entire population to participate. Simply by having everyone take part, we could end pandering to certain populations who actively work to exclude and harm.
There are so many concerns over voter fraud and new voter regulations specifically designed to disenfranchise large swaths of the eligible voting population. These laws and piecemeal regulations are angering and essentially disenfranchising many voters leading to outright voter suppression, especially of minority populations, the uninformed, isolated, and the elderly.
Partisans at the state level seem to be using underhanded tactics to create confusion and deliberately prevent certain groups from voting whom they do not feel share their interests.
The solution is to take the power out of the hands of a single partisan person or group. Instead appoint a non-partisan presidential commission to look into how to regulate voting on a national level. Then institute these changes via presidential decree as a temporary measure and then move for a constitutional amendment to make the changes permanent. The rights of an individual state may seem to be infringed upon; however the rights of one individual district cannot impede the progress of the nation. It is absurd that we have wildly different methods of voting from state to state, and because of that, there are too many variables in the mind of a voter. Can one trust a Secretary of State or a legislator in a neighboring state who has made no bones about what he or she wants the outcome of an election to be, and that they are willing to change rules and enforce suspect laws to see their outcome come to fruition?
Elections that affect all Americans should be accessible, regular, simple, and regulated.
Secondly, our voter turnout is embarrassingly low.
Voting is a privilege and a right, but it is also a duty. There should be a national holiday so that people have time to go to the polls and do not have to choose between a job and voting (if we limit voting to a single workday). This election made clear that businesses, while they may be considered people, do not have people's interests at heart, and there should be regulations in place so that the citizenry can make it to the polls. Additionally, there should be a penalty if citizens do not vote…a monetary penalty, not jail time, but progressive. The first time essentially a small warning and after the penalties accrue. The vote should be for everyone more than one day, if one state gets four weeks so should all states get four weeks. And there should be some way of doing secure voting from home electronically. If we can bank electronically, if we can sign secured documentation electronically, if we can file taxes electronically, there is no reason why we should not be able to also vote electronically, from our home computers.
We regulate voting and voting systems for the rest of the world, but our own election would never be able to stand up to our own terms. This is embarrassing, and it’s wrong. Let’s work to correct this injustice we heap upon ourselves.
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