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
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.
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.