Changes Needed for Voting to Help American Democracy Part II

election101-logo1A lot has happened since I wrote part one of this series. Most of what happened proved my points in spades from part one. As everyone knows, the voter turn out for the 2014 mid term elections was the lowest in 72 years.

I have seen so many so called high and mighty DEMS ridicule and chastise those that didn’t vote and saying they are getting what they deserve with a GOP majority in Congress. I have seen many of these so called armchair pundits say that those that didn’t vote are “whiny” and their opinions aren’t valid.

This is the most blatantly irresponsible and self righteous response that is making matters worse. To those of you that think the people who didn’t show up to vote are lazy, whiny and deserve what they get from elections are not only missing the point but are also ignorant and part of the basic problem in this Country.

Yes, voter turn out was abysmal, but if you just point fingers and say, well I voted you should have too. You are completely missing the point and creating an atmosphere that will doom the electorate.

An intelligent person asks the questions that need to be asked; without judgment. Why didn’t people vote? Why didn’t young people vote. Listen to what they say. Learn from what they say. Get off your alleged high moral ground and deal with reality the way it is and try to change it. Preaching to people turns them off, turns them away.

What we have heard and learned is that people didn’t vote because they see that neither party speaks to them. Neither party addresses their day to day issues and concerns. So, in their reality, why vote? Both parties will let you down in one major way or another so why come and vote.

This question is essential to the very fabric of our democracy. When people feel like their vote doesn’t matter you risk losing the core of how our Country was founded, how it prospered.

Why does a candidate like Barack Obama, who seemed like the perfect voice of the people bail out banks and large corporations but doesn’t help the actual people whose lives were destroyed in 2008 with the Housing and Financial Meltdown. If you can’t trust someone like him to be on your side, whom exactly would you trust?

Enough of the ‘Happy Talk’ the American people are suffering and suffering big time. We hear about the job growth, we hear about the GDP, we see the stock market at record highs. So, why are the American people, by a percentage of 91, so anxious about the economy. Our president tells us that is because the people haven’t felt the gains yet. That’s total bullshit. The American people are not stupid, they are practically screaming about how they feel unsure.

Why do they feel unsure after the longest job creation in the nations history? It would be nice if we heard the truth from our leaders, but we don’t. The reason no one feels better about the economy, the reason the economy and jobs have been top priority for the American people since 2008 is because of what kind of jobs are actually being created.

The jobs that are being created now are about equal with full and part time jobs. There are 72 million people forced into working part time jobs because there are no full time jobs to be found. Most of the full time jobs that are being created are in the hospitality and healthcare fields. Both extremely low paying. Why are people anxious? Why do they feel their vote doesn’t matter? Because the people are being force fed a load of crap. They know there are almost no good paying full time jobs out there. They are forced into working low paying jobs and or part time jobs. It’s not that the people haven’t felt the gains in the economy. It’s that they have had no gains.

One would hope the new GOP majority in Congress would come in and address this issue immediately and win over all of the anxious people about the employment situation. But, no. The GOP wants to start by repealing ACA. A complete waste of time since Obama will veto it. Again, adding to the peoples disillusionment of our government, Another example of the power elite not caring about the public in general.

You wonder why people don’t show up to vote? Wonder no more. DEMS and GOP have both failed the American public. So, many look at the situation and say what difference does it make. When 72% of the public doesn’t show up to vote this should sound extremely loud alarm signals.

But, unfortunately it doesn’t. So, the next time you want to feel good about yourself and pat yourself on the back for voting don’t. Think about the people who didn’t vote and understand why they didn’t. If you think they are whiny and don’t understand, it’s you that has it all wrong. And you are the problem.

The best voting reform is getting people to vote. In order to get people to vote they need to see that their vote means something. It’s up to us to not point fingers and partake in name calling, but to hold elected officials to their promises so people know it does matter if they vote.

Voting: Everything We Do Must Change Part 1

IMG_0287Going through the last election cycle really made me think. I came to the conclusion, that I have had for many years, that we do it all wrong in The United States of America. And I mean everything.

Let’s start with the push for voter turn out. The ground game. Getting the young people, who almost never vote, to vote. Getting more than 38% of the voting public to show up. To me, this is the wrong way to look at it.

Take life and facts the way they are, and change things to work with reality. When voters don’t come to the voting booths, bring the voting opportunity to them. All of the money, time and effort that is spent having the perfect ‘ground game’ to me is missing the point. Today we can pay our credit card bills or order in dinner on our phones. We must work out a way that people can securely vote on their own time of their own choosing.

I have long said I love the idea of everyone voting by mail. We all have legal addresses, ballots can be sent to those addresses and we could vote from our homes, at our leisure. Knowing that the ballot must be mailed back by a certain day. I would also insist that each ballot have an envelope with an address filled out and postage paid. Yes, postage paid.  I would also include a copy of how someone voted as a concrete form of proof of how you voted incase of any kind of recount.

Another idea is voting from your phone, computer or designated places (libraries) where you can go and vote for free. In this version people would be able to start voting 4 weeks before the election so anyone can go vote. They would have plenty of time. There is no discrimination towards people who don’t have internet access at home or smartphones. Surely, if the IRS can figure out a secure way to pay taxes online there must be a way to securely vote online.

The money, the effort for turnout needs to be refocused. Have people spend more time on creating better policy.

The goal is to get more people to vote. Imagine how things would look if we got 90% of the eligible voters to actually vote? Then we could have a government that represented the people. Our society has changed, people are used to doing things remotely. Voting remotely including by mail, needs to happen. Now

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This second suggestion comes to me from the New York Times Op-Ed from a few days ago, please read the entire piece as I think it’s a brilliant idea: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/03/opinion/cancel-the-midterms.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%221%22%3A%22RI%3A9%22%7D

The premise of this idea is to get rid of the mid term elections completely. Members of the House surely can’t concentrate too much on legislating when their next election is in only 2 years. They have to immediately start fundraising for the next cycle. The idea here is to make terms in the House go to 4 years, so they have more time to do the people’s business. And, also to change the Senate to either 4 or 8 year terms. Most people don’t vote in mid terms, so get rid of them and have everyone on the ballot at the same time. Presidents, House, Governors and Senators. I love this idea.

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For presidential elections the primary system must change. If you have read my blog in the past you will know I have mentioned this before. Why should people in Iowa or New Hampshire have more say than anyone else in the country? But they have and continue to have enormous sway. To me that is insane. The order in which states having primaries must change every election cycle. I would announce that order probably one year before the election.

Doing this will accomplish 2 very important things. First, it will give each and every state their turn at vetting candidates. Like I have said, do people in NH speak for the country? NO.  Maybe Arizona will be the first primary state, maybe New York. We can not continue having Iowa and NH having more sway. Secondly, if the potential candidates don’t know which state will have the first primary they would no longer be able to go to Iowa 4 years before an election to get on their good side. Candidates would be forced to speak to the entire nation. No more laying out your ground work four years in advance.

If you implement what I have so far outlined you would see a huge boost in people voting. This would give us a much better representation of what the American public wants. Again, when they don’t go to the voting booths bring the voting to them. Let’s try for 90% voting. Also, add in losing the candidates knowing what order the primary states will be in will make them much better vetted by the entire country. These are the first 2 steps I would start with to have better elections.

I do love the idea proposed by NYT, I would love to see that implemented and I believe those ideas complement mine perfectly.

As always, please offer feedback or ideas. And, in the future look forward to more of my ideas.