American Elections: Needs Improvement

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It’s been 5 days since the American people reelected President Barack Obama, but I’ve been thinking about how we could get more people voting since I read that somewhere on the order of 90 million eligible voters would not be voting this year.

Now, most of these are merely logistical tweaks to make it easier to vote rather than methods of encouraging people to do so, but here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Election day should be a federal holiday- this should be obvious. In this country we extol voting as the duty of every American, and we have a day off for Columbus (!) but not for voting? This must be rectified.
  • Mail-in-ballots should not require postage. This should be built into the system. If you are sending your ballot through the United States Postal Service to do your civic duty as an American, you should not need to first go out and buy stamps.
  • Public transit should be free on election day. We should be able to vote, even if we don’t have cars.
  • The Electoral College should be replaced with direct popular vote. Currently, if you are in a strongly partisan state, your vote for President has much less value than if you live in a swing state- the awareness of this fact serves to depress voter turnout and reduce engagement even for state and local matters where the Electoral College has no direct effect.
  • Voting machines without paper trails should be eliminated with extreme prejudice. We cannot afford to have either the reality or the appearance of crooked elections.
  • We need to have Citizens United (Orwellian naming schemes, how reassuring) undone. People should not have to compete with multinational organizations for control of the country. I’m not picky about how to undo that ruling: Constitutional amendment could work if the justice system doesn’t clean its own house. (This country was formed after the British Crown taxed the colonialists to make up for a tax break to a too-big-to-fail East India Company, one of the first multinational corporations. Don’t try to tell me that an impartial ruling based on the constitution indicates that the founders wanted companies to be treated like people.)

 

Please share more ideas in the comments.

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