Election Reform: If I Were Queen

Election day has lost its meaning.  For most, it’s business as usual, the normal day-to-day stuff,  but voting is no longer part of it.

On Friday, the FBI announced it was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and 34 percent of people told pollsters they would be “less likely” to vote for her, but wait!  More than 22 million people had already cast their votes.

Too bad for them. Too bad for the country.  In a race this close, it could affect the final outcome.

It used to be that a voter had to give a reason to vote early,   Now citizens are encouraged to vote by mail or show up at a polling place any old time.   It’s a needless drain of manpower and resources.

States are not allowed to publish the totals from early voting, but most publish everything else:   the race, ethnicity and even the party affiliation of most early voters.  Certain groups are fairly predictable and here is no shortage of analysts to tell us what these numbers mean.  By the time the election rolls around, a voter could get the feeling that its all over, so why bother.  This can suppress the vote and affect the outcome. 

Vote by mail is a blessing for the elderly and infirm, but  if I could be the voting queen, I would go back to only allowing early voting for those who are traveling or can prove a hardship.

Call me old fashioned, but election day should be a special day for citizens who are privileged to live in a free country.  Most polling places are open 12 to 15 hours and are within a few miles of where we live.  This is not a burden.  Businesses should allow their employees the opportunity to come in an hour late or leave an hour early in order to have extra time to cast their ballots.

We should take pride in turning out to vote on election day.   After all, our forefathers bled and died to give us this privilege.  Have we grown so lazy we can’t walk or drive few blocks to a polling place on election day?

If I were the queen of voting, the second thing I would do should be the most obvious:  Require a photo ID.   Presently only 15 states have this requirement.  It’s hard to argue against them and keep a straight face.

The third thing I would do is put up a sign at every voting place that says, “If you are unfamiliar or unsure of a candidate or a ballot measure, just leave that space blank.”   I once asked this question of some of the smartest people I know: bankers, lawyers, company executives, “Must you vote for every office in order to have your ballot counted?”  If someone said,“No,” I then asked, “Are you sure?”   Most admitted they were not.  Where do you think that leaves the average voter?

Most voters are heavily invested in the candidates at the top of the ticket: president, governor, or mayor, but after that, they simply go down the ballot and mark “incumbent.”  This is why we have a $20 trillion national debt.   Once in office our representatives can do virtually anything and they keep getting reelected.

The last thing I would do is eliminate all state laws that permit voters in one party to vote in another party’s primary.  It allows voters in a party without a contested race, to go to the other party’s primary and vote for its worst candidate so that their candidate will face a weaker opponent in the general.  Bear in mind, in the general election, you are free to vote for the best candidate regardless of party affiliation, and when we have two good candidates running against each other, we all win.

What about independents?  It’s been said that the only thing in the middle of the road is a dead skunk and a yellow line.   Voters need to choose a party in order to vote in the primary.  If not, they should stay out of it and wait for the general election.  This will cause more voters to study party platforms and register for the party that is most alined with their views.  If their views change they can always re-register and change parties, within a reasonable time before an election.

There will never be a voting queen who can simply make these changes with a stroke of a pen.   Voters in each state must demand them. We don’t need more voters.  We need more informed voters who are choosing among the best possible candidates.

8 thoughts on “Election Reform: If I Were Queen

  1. I think all the states should vote in the same 24 hours and no results or predictions should be given out until voting is closed across the country. It is insulting to the States that has a time zone with 5 hours difference.When Hawii hears the East Coast result I’m sure it takes the motivation out. I believe it is a form of control.
    No ID no vote! It is insulting to say you cannot obtain legal ID.
    I think you should be able to pass a simple test to show you understand the 3 branches of Government and who and what the different party’s stands for.
    My biggest complaint is the time and money spent on elections, in England it is done in 3 weeks!

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    1. Will add that to my list of reforms. Also, I would take away the designations, like incumbent and party affiliation. This would cause voters to find out who these people are and what they stand for before they vote. Again, if we had a sign that read, “If you are unfamiliar with a candidate or issue, just leave it black,” in every polling place, that would go a long way toward better government.

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  2. Knowing the party affiliation is paramount to me. I KNOW the Democrats all to well to cross the line and vote for one. Those who proclaim “I vote for the person” are politically blind. A mental review of the past 50+ years (assuming a voter has aged to do so, like me) should be obvious to anyone that the Democratic Party is a misnomer and a joke to ethics and to our Constitution. The Republicans are not much better but the difference, though narrow, is significant. The preposterous idea of legislating a minimum wage of $15 is just one small example of the conniving ways they use to obtain votes from the imbeciles who think we can legislate economics. Foreign policy? As far back as 1947 and 48, when Truman and the democrats ruled Washington, there was an embargo on helping the Jews as they were struggling to have a land of their own. The brave men who provided those arms that protected the Jews from a second genocide were subject to criminal prosecution had they been caught, one was, 18-months for helping prevent slaughter of the highest order. People can fault Nixon, but at least he responded to Golda Meir’s request for help in the Yom Kipper War. Ever read the party platforms? I struggled through both in 2010 and wrote an essay, Required: A New Political Party Platform Paradigm, wherein I suggested abbreviated platforms citing the Ten Commandments. God’s platform is 67 words for Protestants and 70 words for Catholics. Believe me, the Republican Party platform is far superior to the Democratic one. I’m a conservative and the Republicans are the lesser of the two evils.

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  3. No, actually, it’s easy to argue against photo IDs. They’d cause real, quantifiable hardship and promote a discriminatory and political agenda while solving no demonstrable problem. See? Easy.

    Observation. You like things to be simple and to argue with supposed empirical logic but usually just oversimplify.

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  4. I’m not sure how showing a photo ID at the time of voting makes it hard or discriminates. Our voting system is in need of improvement some of which are illustrated here. Now, the question is, where do we start and how do we move in the direction of improvement instead of living with a roof that leaks?

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  5. Hopefully Ms. Chastain’s common sense proposals will yet become law…things are changing at last. I would go even further: no right to vote is listed in the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights. The vote exists purely as a check on government power, and historically has been limited. I suggest that voters be required to pass a test on civics, history, and current events, and pay a poll tax to prove that they are serious.

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