thedoctorisinthehouse

To Steal Our Democracy and What We Can Do To Get It Back

  
By:  thedoctorisinthehouse  •  Politics  •  4 weeks ago  •  12 comments

To Steal Our Democracy and What We Can Do To Get It Back
What is the single most important feature of the experiment that is the United States? For many, if not a majority of Americans, it is the notion that all are created equal. That equality is firmly rooted in our election process. The 18 year old finishing her high school course of study, living in her parent's home, and earning $8.00 an hour at her local bodega must have the same weight in her vote as the President of a Fortune 500 company or the President of the United States. One citizen...

What is the single most important feature of the experiment that is the United States? For many, if not a majority of Americans, it is the notion that all are created equal. That equality is firmly rooted in our election process. The 18 year old finishing her high school course of study, living in her parent's home, and earning $8.00 an hour at her local bodega must have the same weight in her vote as the President of a Fortune 500 company or the President of the United States. One citizen equals one citizen without any caveats when it comes to governance.

I am a political liberal {as if most of you don't understand that by my writings}. My political beliefs about one person = one vote are not partisan. I say this because I want to see everone, democrat, republican, or independent, leftist, rightist, or centrist, living in the north, south, east or west, have the same right and even obligation to vote and be heard. I want people to be able to express their views through the ballot box and in the halls of legislation clearly and with equity. My mantra is voting and inclusion for all. That is not liberal or conservative. That is American.

If we were to ask all adult citizens a generic question such as "Should all American citizens be able to freely exercise their right to vote?", I would venture to guess that the public would poll at least 85% in the affirmative. The same percentages would probably hold true if the question was "Should voting be made as easy as possible for citizens?". These questions are softballs. The super majority of Americans would see these statements as truths that are self-evident. So what the hell has happened at both the state and national levels of government? Concepts that are more American than mom and apple pie are being turned inside out and upside down by elected {that makes them our employees} representatives who are more interested in the raw application of power over the activities that form their job descriptions.....to legislate laws that serve the best interests of our society.

This is not to say that legislators should all placidly fall into lockstep on any or all issues. There are huge numbers of policy issues that not only could be, but must be, debated, moderated, compromised, and voted on by our deliberative bodies. The right to vote and the ease of voting should not be among them. We need to place policy issues like tax laws, education, health care, foreign affairs, human and individual rights, crime and policing, wages, and infrastructure to name a few, back in front of the public, and have our lawmakers lay out their respective sides the arguments and then meet in a compromise that best serves all of us.

Let's look at voting rights, both in the context of who can or who cannot vote in elections and in the concept of one man = one vote. To me, a true democracy encourages, not discourages its citizens to vote. that would mean making voter registrations easy, allowing multiple methods to cast votes, extending the times voting can occur, and providing all voters equal access to the polls. The current restrictions being debated and voted on in republican led states are an attempt to convince us that we need to solve a "problem" that has no empirical evidence that it even exists. It is the antithesis of what we should be doing.....expanding voting rights to everyone who is not incarcerated and is constitutionally eligible to vote. The real problem is that we should never have a goal of voter restriction, but set a goal of universal registration.

How do we get there:

  1. Automatically register every citizen at the age of 18, either through the schools, the military, or through walk in locations.
  2. Automatically register every naturalized citizen at the point of naturaliztion.
  3. Have felons who have completed their sentences immediately have their voting rights restored.
  4. Maintain registrations for 10 years with renewals able to be done by mail, in person, or at the renewal of driver's licenses or passports.
  5. Use these initial or maintenance registrations to include a photo which then could be used as a voting ID.

The goal here is to provide universal registration and concurrent maintenance of registration.

Once we begin to move toward universal registration, the concurrent step will be to move toward universal voting. How do we get there?

  1. Laws should encourage not restrict voting. The first law should be simply stated..... "No legtilative body, either federal, state, or local shall make any rule or law that in any way restricts and. or  prevents citizens from exercising their right to vote."
  2. Multiple ballot options should be given to all. Drop off centers or ballot boxes should be made available to all and in such a way that all voters are treated equally.
  3. No excuse mail-in voting should be instituted nationwide.
  4. Election day should be codified and made a national holiday.
  5. A realistic determination should be made to require the equitable application of voting machines. No voting locality should have a machine available for every 200 voters while another precinct has a machine available for every 800 voters.
  6. Interference with the individual right to vote should be a federal felony and prosecu5ted by federal authorities.

This brings us to the final question....that of protecting "one man, one vote." Here too, are a few suggestions.

  1. Do away with the Senate filibuster. This is a relic out of our racist past. There is no constitutional requirement for this over hyped and over used TACTIC. There should be no issue that can't be debated and brought up for a vote. When a legislator's position is extremely unpopular with a wide swath of Americans, it is critical that debate  and votes on that issue be done in the "sunshine" of open debate and votes. This should allow the citizens of this nation in general, and the citizens of that legislator's district in particular, to more effectively vote for good representation or at least majority representation..
  2. There has to be a better way to draw electoral districts than the current system of gerrymandering. We must morph gerrymandering into a fairer redistricting model. A possible approach to this problem might be to have independent commissions {e.g. chaired and chosen by the League of Women Voters} whose job would be to create voting districts in line with the population of the locality. There should not be safe districts, but districts should generally be created to stay in line with the proportions of votes in the state. A state with 10 house seats and a 60-40 republican edge in registration should not have Congressional districts drawn that gives 4 republicans 80% of the vote and 6 democrats 60%of the vote. This is a true violation of one man, one vote. Fairness in the creation of voting districts is paramount.
  3. Finally, the issue of fair representation. We live in a nation that has a bicameral legislature, a lower and an upper house. Our lower house is primarily a people's house with proportional representation by population. California has more representation than Montana. The upper house, however, is a remnant of the British House of Lords. There are two Senators from California and two from Montana. This gives a great advantage to smaller states. The reality is that the make up of the Senate will not change. I do not believe that in any of our lifetimes that number will change, other than the possible entry of new states {e.g. Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico}. The major change in the Senate must therefore be ending the filibuster. This would force Senators to work more collaboratively. People would see the workings of the body. If the electorate does not like the way a Senator votes, that can change the entire Senate and the dialogue that ensues {see Georgia run-offs}

These are in effect just a few thoughts and opinions about voting and the Senate. There are plenty of issues that we can and must debate in the halls of our legislators. This is the American way and it separates us from the Banana Republics of the world. Democracy is best served in the debate over policy and not culture. If we have learned anything in our 245 years as a nation, it is that we are a melting pot of cultures and those cultures have all found ways to survive and mostly thrive. Our policies, however, have evolved and morphed. They have changed and have been debated. The one constant in our great nation's history is that we have always moved to expand rights, not contract them. We all have the right to our individual positions. That does not give us the right to take away the rights of others. That is how nations fail. We are all brothers and sisters in the greatest national experiment of all time. Let's not destroy it.

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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  JohnRussell    4 weeks ago

Good article.

I'm not sure what the rationale is for wanting to make it harder to vote, but to me it appears to be a combination of "why not" and the suggestion that restricting voting to certain times is a character builder. 

There is only one thing that matters in the process of counting votes, and that is that the vote was cast by a registered voter from that state.  What time the vote was cast, on what day, at which polling place , and by what method is all pretty immaterial.  Haven't  any of these restricters ever heard of computers? 

If someone wants to vote "out of precinct" their info is just a few clicks away on the laptop screen. Are they registered? Good, have them sign a piece of paper and match it to their registration signature which the local board of elections has on file. Problem solved. 

Americans of good will need to fight back against these restrictions meant to cut back on minority voting. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     4 weeks ago

Good article. IMO, the role of government/fed and state is to get as many people to vote as possible. That huge turnout in the 2020 election must have scared the crap out of the RWer's. 

I have no problem with any of the suggestions in the article.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1  Ender  replied to  Kavika @2    4 weeks ago

I just read an article where now some right wing circles want to surgically dismantle any left leaning enclaves that have a congressman. Squeeze them out with redistricting.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  Ender @2.1    4 weeks ago

Both sides gerrymander when the opportunity is there.

Heck, Democrats did it for decades with nary a whisper of complaint from the left.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
2.1.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.1    4 weeks ago

I complained no matter who did it. It is wrong. I don't see why we can't be put on a grid system so no one can game the system.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.3  Ender  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @2.1.2    4 weeks ago

Exactly. The ever changing squiggly lines are ridiculous.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
2.1.4  devangelical  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @2.1.2    4 weeks ago

it should be computer generated based upon the census. we have the tech, we just need to get rid of the relics of the past obstructing the process.

 
 
 
devangelical
PhD Principal
2.1.5  devangelical  replied to  Texan1211 @2.1.1    4 weeks ago

but, but, but, they did it first...

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
2.1.6  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  devangelical @2.1.4    4 weeks ago

I could go along with that.

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
Masters Participates
2.1.7  igknorantzrulz  replied to  devangelical @2.1.5    4 weeks ago

does it not seem that Republicans can never see fault in there own doings ? From defending the indefensible one, to anything gun, to being gay means less happy fun, to restricting a woman's rights, to election reforms, when they're too tight, cause i don't know, is it just me, or is it more so the hypocritical 'Right" that isn't...?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Principal
3  Bob Nelson    4 weeks ago
If we were to ask all adult citizens a generic question such as "Should all American citizens be able to freely exercise their right to vote?", I would venture to guess that the public would poll at least 85% in the affirmative. 

Before Trump decided to undermine the electoral process, I might have agreed. Not now. 

What was once 85% is probably more like 60% now.


IMNAAHO, the most important aspect of the American Experiment is "Rule of Law". That's why the current Republican American Fascist Party campaign to overthrow the Rule of Law is so fraught. 

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Principal
4  Hal A. Lujah    3 weeks ago

When the popular vote ends up being contrary to the EC vote, as it so often does, any discussion about an $8/hr bodega worker’s vote being as important as an executive is moot.  One citizen, one vote - fuck the electoral college.  If your party can’t get the votes of the constituents, it’s because their policy initiatives are unpopular.  It’s not that complicated.