Posted on October 29, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
ith United States midterm elections only days away, election reform seemed a timely topic. It’s surprising that in the United States the standardization of voting systems/processes has yet to become implemented which leads to nearly perfect symmetry between voters’ true intentions and the final results. Many writers and activists concerned about clean elections point to Canada, where apparently paper and pencil ballots, hand counted across the country, results in final tallies after 5 hours.
In voting and elections, simplest is best. Paper and pencil ballots are as close as one can get to total transparency and confidence that the people’s votes/intentions became accurately expressed, and the men and women elected were the ones which the democratic majority of citizens thought best qualified for public service. Other election reform measures worthy of consideration include the banning of all money – down to the last penny – from the process, banning all advertising in lieu of debates on radio, television, and the internet, Sunday and/or weekend voting instead of Tuesdays, and strong enforcement of election laws related to political corruption.
Paper ballots filled out with a pencil offers the chance for accurate recounts with a paper trail, while eliminating any opportunity for criminal hacking of votes through either electronic voting machines or counting scanners. Banning all money from elections benefits citizens who will become much more informed on the issues and more apt to vote for the candidates whose positions reflect their own. Elections should be all about whose ideas make it better possible to improve the health and well-being of citizens, not about whose advertising consultants have the best marketing tricks up their sleeves.
Banning money from elections eliminates the need for elected representatives to spend too much time raising money, to cast their votes with prejudice toward their largest contributors, and allows that time to become spent on solving problems. Voting on the weekend would result in higher voter participation as most people have Sundays or Saturdays off from work, and Tuesday voting makes many voters not bother because of the pull between work and voting.
Of course, media corporations may hold a much different view about eliminating $multi-billions of spending on advertising during elections, as well as providing free primetime airspace for debates. Very large-money, billionaire election donors may have an even more intense opposition to removing every last red cent from elections, and/or could have a problem with citizens becoming more greatly informed about real issues affecting their family, neighbors, and friends’ lives. All these reform measures and more could come into existence after the United States held a Constitutional Convention.
Perhaps after viewing the following video clips from the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary “Hacking Democracy” the idea of a United States Constitutional Convention will seem like a very wise idea. Perhaps some major reforming is in order.
(Thank you to Hacking Democracy at YouTube)
First ten minutes of the film:
Troubling, saddening demonstration of touchscreen vote count manipulation:
Don’t forget to vote.