We need to admit it, we screwed up democracy the first time. We've seen all these boring, annoying, crappy ways politicians make it hard to vote. We need to put a stop to them and change the structure of voting and elections.
Let's #ReDoDemocracy and legiSLAY once and for all. Here's 6 ways to start:
1. FairVote Act/Ranked Choice Voting
We all hate gerrymandering and we all hate third party spoiler candidates. But we don't have to do all the work of "getting rid of them"!
We can change our voting structure to allow third parties to run without ruining the elections! This system (ranked choice voting, or RCV) usually increases turnout by about 10% and leads to more independents, women, and people of color being elected. It seems simple and boring, but it's actually incredibly powerful. When you are trying to get people's 2nd or 3rd place voters in a crowded race, you are less likely to crap all over your opponents. Instead, RCV promotes building coalitions and finding common ground. Its a huge step towards unlocking the gridlock and undoing the "zero-sum" war games of national politics that leaves everyone upset, tribal, and angry.
And if we make our districts bigger, we won't have to worry as much about gerrymandering. Plus, more marginalized and outsider groups can feel represented if we get multiple Congresspeople from each of the larger districts. Another good idea to help defeat the hard problem of gerrymandering would be requiring every state to have an independent/bipartisan districting committee instead of letting politicians pick their own voters. We'd support that as well!
2. Universal Voter Registration
We need more than Automatic Voter Registration - it's nice but not enough. The entire concept of voter registration came out of the Civil War as a way of making it harder for freed slaves to vote. And if you really care about voter fraud as a problem, then we should solve it completely (without suppressing any vote). Make a database of all people of voting age and citizenship and make them all be voters automatically. No more voter purges and no more burdening everyone with all the hoops, foresight, time, and money of our democracy. If the government should do one thing, it's make a system that lets everyone vote.
3. DC Statehood + PR Statehood
There are no policy arguments against DC Statehood, only political ones. We overwhelmingly want it and it would only take an act of Congress (HR 1291) - no Constitutional Amendment. The "federal city" outlined in the Constitution would be shrunk down to just the Mall and government buildings. The rest of DC would become it's own state.
For people who say "you should just go back to Maryland", we say "just go back into the womb"! In other words: It's not so easy, it's been too long / we're kind of our own people now, and neither side really wants that. For those that say, "oh, but that benefits Democrats", we say "enough with all the politics!". We are 700k people - more than Wyoming and Vermont - and we have NO vote in Congress and NO Senators to call when we're angry. It is a disenfranchivesty. Hmmm, there's probably a better word. But you get it. Plus, DC is becoming whiter and less Democratic (Trump's America) so it is not the Democratic stronghold it used to be. Plus, the Senate is already deeply biased towards Republicans and adding DC Senators wouldn't change that.
4. Voting Standards
States are allowed to screw around with voters - and they do!
- Registering years in advance of an election and wasting money and people's time on primary after primary after primary? Check!
- Closing polling locations and early voting hours? Check!
- Using old crappy technology that is not secure and has no paper trail? Check!
5. Returning Citizens = Full Citizens
Luckily, FRRC has this on the ballot in Florida, the state with the worst dehumanizing laws for former felons. But this practice of making folks who are down on their luck have to grovel to the government to confirm their humanity needs to end. All citizens get to vote. Period.
6. $100 Tax Credit for Voting
This is a new one. Keep it simple, stupid: a Tax Cut. Now there's something we can all get behind. Especially if it strengthens our sickly democracy.
Sure, it's complicated. But in order to #ReDoDemocracy, we have to get out of our cozy little boxes and take ourselves a little less seriously.