We've only been voting for a little over 240 years here in the United States of America and I think we might never get close to figuring out how to do it. I know some of you are saying, but Dan, this democracy thing takes time. We can't rush changes through willy nilly.
I agree. Change is evil. There is no reason we shouldn't just keep things the way our founders laid it out for us. I mean they clearly said, male landowners will get one vote each. Nobody else. Suddenly every American thinks they have the right to vote. Non landowners, women, people of color, new citizens, students, I mean where do we draw the line.
It's not like voting is even important, really. Proof of that is the polling places are staffed by volunteers. These fine people with literally nothing else to do with their time agree to sit there all day and into the night checking people in and arguing with them over what ballots to use.
As a registered independent here in the great state of California, I have the choice of taking a "non party" ballot or a "crossover ballot" in today's primary. (Side note: despite the similar sounding name, a crossover ballot has nothing to do with either the top 40, or, country music charts, and is neither a likely hit, nor a quiet moody song.)
I requested a crossover ballot, as I was instructed to do by numerous stories in the local paper over the past week, and was surprised to get push back from an election judge who loudly and snottedly, let everyone in the room know I was an idiot for asking, and there was no such thing. When another election judge told her I was right, she huffed and gave him a death stare.
Should be good times there the rest of the day for those two.
After fifteen minutes of a mad scramble, by several people, it was determined that no such ballots were ever sent out and I was handed an emergency Democratic ballot instead. In the unlikely event that I wanted to vote on local and state issues and elections, I could just turn the ballot over and use both sides.
Interestingly, while there were no "crossover ballots" there were ballots in six different languages. (See, I voted sticker above) So, you can't vote if you are an independent, but you can if you are Chinese. Makes perfect sense.
Every election cycle feels like we are doing something not quite right with our elections here in the good old US of A. We make it hard to vote. We hold it on a workday. We have non professionals watching out to make sure nothing crazy is going on. All while we struggle to figure out which crackpot, thief, and liar to vote for.
As someone who has voted in every election since 1972, I have noticed things, and I might have some ideas to help this process. You may not agree with any, or all, of them but that never stopped me from sharing anyway.
First, and this is non negotiable, the pre-election period should be a maximum of thirty days. We do not need two and a half years to figure out who to vote for. Iowa gets all this time, and they still can't get it right, and then big states with diverse populations like, Illinois, California, Texas, and New York get three days of campaigning. Really?!?
Secondly, another non negotiable, voting should take place on the weekend and everyone gets the day off to vote. Shouldn't we allow as many people as possible to participate in the process? We are the cradle of democracy and only 28% of the people vote. Many other countries routinely have 90 - 97% turnout for voting. This is shameful for America.
Third, and here is where you might get sideways with me, we need to eliminate all political parties. If you run for office, you run as an American, not a Republican, or a Democrat, or the Green Party, or whatever crazy party is out there. A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N.
Fourth, end the primaries. Decide if you want to run, get enough signatures to get on the ballot, and let us vote for you, once and only once. I do not understand why we need to drag this process out for months. Eliminating the parties will end the need for this anyway.
Fifth, term limits. I have yet to meet anyone that tells me how much they love a politician who has been in office for 42 years. We can work on who gets how many years, and how to stagger the elections down the road, but we need to stop career politicians who hold way too much influence on things. This includes judges too.
Sixth, make the jobs part time. Since most of Washington only is there working four days a month anyway, this seems like a no brainer. If they actually had one week a month to show up and get something done, I guarantee you things would be different. If we only cover their expenses, in lieu of a salary, imagine how few sleazebags would actually want to be elected. I know I'm sick and tired of seeing guys get elected who have no money and then retire four years later millionaires.
Seventh, and finally, limit election spending to $10,000 per race. If we have every taxpayer pay an additional $2 on their taxes we could cover the cost. If anyone spends over $10,000 they are disqualified.
Seven simple steps to fixing our election problems. Now get out there and vote.
You're welcome America!