Blog: Election laws need a tune-up
From the people who brought you the only convicted criminal ever appointed to the White House they now bring us a self-admitted serial sexual predator and pedophile along with his illegal alien, porn star wife. Although surprised, in a perverse way I am pleased to be able to continue posting comments regarding this selection of a totally insane narcissist for the next four years – or until he realizes it is an actual job and pulls a Palin.
On the plus side – at least here in the Daily Miner – we can live peacefully knowing the usual suspects will no longer be posting utter trash, nonsense and lies about both President Obama and Mrs Clinton. How wonderful that will be. Of course other rants of equal ridiculousness will continue because some people just cannot stop themselves from being foolish.
As a country we will now see nations around the world turn their backs on us because President Trump will not honor our obligations and long held positions involving mutual protection and assistance. However, Trump will not be able to arrest those people with whom he has disagreed – although he will set-up an enemies list that will rival Nixon’s, one of the disgusting GOP presidents of the past. He will not be able to reverse Roe V Wade, another canard expressed by every GOPer candidate since Reagan (once elected they always back off).
We will see massive loss of rights gained over the past few decades as Congress does away with anything that offers rights and protections to every American in favor of the wealthy. The saddest of all will be watching the intellectually challenged realizing Trump has no use for them as he works to take away their Social Security and Medicare along with a long list of protections offered to the poor, the middle class, veterans, children and the disabled.
Moving ahead we now need to take a serious look at fixing the mess known as voting in this nation. States have proven they are totally incapable of handling voting, but I do not advocate taking the control of voting – for local and state elections – away from them. Let them screw those up any way they want, just keep them a safe distance from federal elections. However, we need national standards and federal laws dealing specifically with federal elections. Those standards would apply to Presidential, Senate and House races along with constitutional issues (in case some idiots decide to mess with the Constitution).
There should be a standard federal voter ID card issued to all citizens, above age 18, holding a valid Social Security card. That card could also be used by the states, but if they choose not to acknowledge the Federal ID no big deal. However, no state could prevent a person holding a Federal ID from voting in a federal election.
Federal laws need to be changed so that any individual convicted of or admitting to committing voter fraud will lose their right to vote for life – with a retroactive base covering the period from 1920 forward. States will still be allowed to let such felons the right to vote, but only in local or state elections.
States will not be allowed to put in effect any law, regulation or ordinance that would prevent or make it difficult for any eligible American citizen to vote. Also, no state could institute any law, regulation or ordinance that would impede the gathering of ballots from registered voters for transport to a polling location, drop box or official office.
Federal funds must be made available for states to upgrade their voting machines, scanning equipment or any other method they use to tabulate votes. Currently, millions of means of tabulating are outdated, outmoded or just plain disasters. Those wishing paper ballots will still have access to them.
National elections should be held on the first weekend in November – both Saturday and Sunday – making it easier for more Americans to vote.
This is the standard in many nations around the world and works very well in increasing participation in elections and it should be the goal to make voting easier for every citizen. There should also be a two-week early voting window prior to the official election day that would be available at convenient locations with hours from 9AM to 8PM daily. In addition mail-in ballots will also be made available and if any state opts to use only mail-in ballots those ballots would also cover federal elections. States would be allowed to hold state elections whenever they choose, with extra costs of such elections to be borne by state taxpayers.
The concept of automatic voter registration should be extended to all states allowing more voters access to the polls by making certain they are registered. This program has proven itself in Oregon and in other nations with no drawbacks.
Campaign “season” needs to be drastically cut back. This last debacle lasted twenty months. Other nations have short campaigns with Japan’s lasting just 12 days and the longest in Canada’s recent history lasting 11 weeks. A 90-day campaign season should be more than enough. Nominating conventions would not be allowed more than 30 days prior to the start of the official campaign period.
Campaign spending needs to be limited. Numerous nations restrict the amount that can be spent on campaigns along with a limited amount of advertising time. In Germany political ads are restricted to one 90 second spot with parties given airtime on two public television networks based on their performance in past elections and the size of their party. Many countries successfully use public financing of campaigns as a way to regulate costs and relieving the need for reliance on wealthy donors. In Norway's 2013 elections, 67% of political party income was provided by the government.
There should be compulsory voting with penalties for failing to vote. Twenty-two nations, including Australia, have mandatory voting laws that virtually eliminate any socio-economic prejudice (poor voters, as a rule, are less likely to vote) while allowing parties to spotlight their message without spending funds to “get out the vote.” Those opting to not vote would be fined (a hundred dollar fine sounds good) and/or denied access to government services.
Following along with Nevada there should be a “none-of-the-above” option on all ballots allowing voters to indicate they are not in favor of any candidate or initiative. Such an option appears on ballots in other nations as well.
PAC’s using Dark Money to hide their donors need to be done way with. If an individual or corporation is ashamed to indicate whom they are supporting they should not be allowed to donate. In a similar move the disastrous Citizen’s United decision needs to be reversed. Corporations are not people and should not have the right to influence voters without disclosing who they are. It is bad enough that we have lobbyists writing legislation.
Campaign advertising making spurious claims about candidates must be able to show actual proof of their claims. Calling someone a criminal, a killer, a thief, un-American or any of the other trash spewed needs to be qualified with actual facts. If someone claims their opponent is a criminal then the indictment, arrest, trial, conviction and punishment for such crimes need to be detailed – orally, not in some “mice-type” on the screen for a millisecond.
There are most likely many other corrections that can be made to our screwed up election system, but the above are just a few thoughts on where to begin – now – so that the next time around charges of “rigging” elections can be immediately discounted.