Alright! I'm glad to see this thread brought up. I covered my opinions in detail in two previous threads on the topic of election reform, here they are:
Ok, it is of my opinion that it is time for some serious election reform in this country. I don't believe we have had a truly and fully free election in a while. There is enough corruption and piss poor election legislation that we are suffering on both sides. I even believe that this should be THE most important thing our country is looking at because as long as we don't have free elections, our citizens suffer and so does our government.
Here's what I feel needs to be done.
1. Voting must have a paper trail. There should be no such thing as an electric voting machine without a paper trail. Without a paper trail, there is no way to investigate corruption or voter fraud.
2. Seriously limit campaign contributions from individuals, PACs, and corporations. The hand that they have in our government is sickening, and I feel its gotten to a point where its dictating our legislation.
3. Eliminate the electoral college. The presidential election is a national election, not a state or local one. The electoral college causes politicians to focus only on certain states and basically makes states that are solid red or blue states throw away states. If you are a voter in the minority in that state, your vote is wasted. The winner should be simply whoever has the highest popular vote.
4. Eliminate the caucus system. Along with getting rid of the electoral college, getting rid of this will simplify the election and take the pressure off politicans to win certain states for their party's nomination. Once again, I feel this system causes the majority of states to be ignored, and that is a travesty.
5. Introduce instant runoff voting (IRV). Instnat runoff voting allows voters to rank their choices of candidates. If no candidate emerges with a majority, the lowest vote-getter is dropped, and the second choices of his or her voters are assigned to the appropriate candidates. This continues until there's a majority winner. IRV not only eliminates the need for seperate runoff elections (which are also suspect to corruption), but forces candidates to endorse others so they can get their second-choice votes. I feel this will help put a kink in the two party system which is strangling our government.
6. Make any sort of voter fraud or voter corruption a serious felony with jail time a minimum. No probation, but instant jail time. This is our voter rights, the very foundation of our democracy, and when they are tampered with that is very serious.
Its about time that we demand free and fair elections. The people of the United States literally own our government and country. Our tax dollars pay for everything that our country does. Sadly I see it slipping away to the politicians and corporations and leaving the hands of the people. The government is by us and for us, not for the politicians. Its time we got our rights as citizens.
Ok, I posted my thoughts in another thread a whlie back about my thoughtts on election reform, and here's where I think we could use some serious reform.
Campaign financing is a nice way of saying bribery. In my eyes, that's all it is. As citizens, our votes don't count anymore in my opinion. Why would I say that you ask? Our representatives don't represent us anymore, they only represent private and corporate interests. And this isn't the first time it's happened either, President Mckinley was a representative of the corporations, just read up on Mark Hanna. Karl Rove claims in his book that he models himself off Hanna.
So how do I see the political system? We may have our voice in the voting booth, but its corporations and private interests that have the say through campaign contributions. Sadly the way in this country has been that if you have more money, you have a greater voice. I always thought that this democracy should be an equal voice for every citizen, not a greater voice for the richer citizens. Our representatives say one thing during elections, and then go an pander to special interests in congress. Its not right, in fact it absolutely infuriates me. I feel like my vote means nothing. Republican or Democrat, this is a serious problem.
So how can this be solved? I've been reading up on what's called "Clean Elections". What this means is the following:
"Under a Clean Elections system, candidates hoping to receive public financing must collect a certain number of small "qualifying contributions" (often as little as $5) from registered voters. In return, they are paid a flat sum by the government to run their campaign, and agree not to raise money from private sources. Clean Elections candidates who are outspent by privately-funded opponents may receive additional public matching funds.
Because the system is voluntary, it appears not to run afoul of the United States Supreme Court's Buckley v. Valeo decision, which struck down mandatory spending limits as an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.
I think this is a brilliant system. It eliminates coroporate interests in elections and forces our representatives to genuinely listen to us, not just put forward this farce that they are. What kind of democracy are we when corporations and private groups have a stronger voice than the average citizen?
That should cover my thoughts on the subject.