What we do next

Eric Garland Uncategorized 18 Comments

Americans, I’d like your feedback on this list of stuff we can do that I hope every citizen of every political stripe can support:
  • A national holiday for Federal elections
  • Creation of a national voter ID card distributed to every eligible American as well as all future American voters on their 18th birthday
  • A Constitutional amendment which guarantees that every single eligible American be given access to early, absentee, or onsite voting
  • A national educational policy for U.S. Civics as a requirement for graduation from high school
  • Reduction of election season to a maximum of six months
  • Full text of upcoming Amendments and Propositions in a centralized government website allowing ample time to understand and digest complex proposals

Let’s start there.

Comments 18

  1. If everyone has the ability to vote early, a federal holiday for Election Day isn’t as important.

    In fact, the busses in my area run much less frequently on Sundays and holidays, so it might be harder to get to the polls on Election Day.

    1. I agree about early voting. It finally came to Massachusetts and I voted early in a short line.

      Eric – maybe reword bullet point 3 to “early, absentee and (not or) onsite voting”

      My own voting anecdotes:

      1. The family that I bought my house from 4 years ago is still on the rolls, that really should be tracked better – maybe when you register someplace new you need to tell them where you used to be registered and the burden is on the new place to inform the old place through some secure system.

      2. My wife spend way too much time trying to get an absentee ballot for my mother-in-law in Wisconsin who is in a nursing home in Milwaukee. I understand that most of this was intentional incompetence but why the hell are you trying to disenfranchise retired teachers – oops I think I just answered my question.

  2. Who says there’s going to be a next election? We just elected our version of Hitler. Not the Hitler you read about in history book. But the Hitler of the late 20s. The shouting mediocre art student. The open abuse of minorities by his supporters has already begun. We laugh and ignore history and think “how bad could he possibly be?” At some point in the next four years even possession of your “list” could get you killed for treason. This sounds insane and alarmist but I don’t think we all realize what type of fight this is going to be.

  3. Dude, are you crazy? None of this can be accomplished now. That’s what this election means. What we need to be doing now is preparing for 2018. Right now. And supporting organizations that are working in meaningful ways to promote human rights. Priorities need to be actionable. None of the things you’ve listed is actionable.

      1. I sure hope not! But if we want to make a difference, we have to find things to try that can work. The Republicans are not going to implement any of the things you have suggested, so they can’t happen until 2018 at the absolute earliest.

    1. Dude is crazy, but he is the good kind of crazy.

      It is not so much what can be done now, but what should be done. If we don’t start, it doesn’t happen. I don’t see why we can’t do both. Sometimes you need to take the long view as well – the R’s did by focusing on state houses and gerrymandering congressional districts, D’s need to take back state legislatures and/or undo gerrymandering.

      1. The thing is, people have been saying we need the above reforms for decades, and they haven’t happened. We are not actually doing anything that would get us closer to enacting those reforms; indeed, quite the opposite. We have been letting the Republicans walk over us in local politics. There is a desperate shortage of young progressives who could step into elected roles. So yes, of course, all of those things would be good, but lobbying for them is going to have zero effect, and just be a waste of effort, until we have a congress that will be responsive to the will of the people.

  4. “Citizens of every stripe” will not support these, because, as Wisconsin and North Carolina demonstrated, it’s to the benefit of one political party to restrict voting as much as possible. So if you want them, the question is how to force the issue. In Colorado, we amended the State Constitution (because it was trivially easy to do, something that has some serious down sides) to go to mail ballots. I don’t know what it will take elsewhere.

  5. Here’s different list. A mental one… Not to be written down. Make a list of people you know with skills not in the mainstream. Know a doctor? Know a mechanic? Someone who knows how to cook for large groups? Someone who can still sew? People who work in print shops, people who can mend boots. Someone who dyes hair really really well. Those people.

    This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco……

  6. I’m OK with the national voter ID card so long as it is issued at zero cost to the recipient, otherwise the fee associated with issuing it amounts to a poll tax, which according to our constitution is not cool. Honestly, number 1 on my personal hit parade would be overturning Citizens United. Until that booger is gone, nothing is going to change.
    Just thought of another wild and crazy thing to go with that 6-month long election season thing: federal funding for the presidential election. No direct private contributions to candidates or causes. If people wish to contribute to the cost of election campaigns (as tax-deductible charitable gift) it goes into a federally-managed central fund. No direct link to a particular candidate or cause. Totally agree with mandatory civics instruction, starting no later than 6th grade and continuing in every grade thereafter, at increasing levels of sophistication, through 12th grade.

  7. In Australia, I’ve never waited more than 10 minutes in a queue to votes. I’m over 50 and never missed an election at an tier on government. Voting is compulsory here, with token fines.

    Queues the size seen in US TV news report would be regarded as a sign of civil incompetence here.

  8. Eric,
    The Queen didn’t bail the Brits out of Brexit, but the US Constitution does provide an emergency parachute in the case of the election of a President. Any chance there will be enough Electors to prevent the elevation of a man with “Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity,” Will they act in the manner hoped for by Hamilton “It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.” Hamilton clearly saw the problem, my worry is that his creation will not be up to the task “Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment.” Hamilton was confident – “The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” We are about to find out.

    All quotes from Federalist 68

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