Dicky's Doodles &Scribbles

Cartoons,editorials and comment about current events and more.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Reforms Needed


Today is election day 2008. However it turns out millions of Americans will be very happy it is finally over!

This has been a two year campaign costing, including primary spending, $1 Trillion! That’s an obscene figure! With so much need in the world how much better could that money have been spent?

As each four year national election cycle begins many will point out the many foibles, absurdities and disparities of our hopelessly complicated system. Tongues will cluck and heads will nod and many a tsk tsk will be expressed and some will agree that something must be done. These ideas, however, soon fade as the election is done and inauguration nears.

Perhaps it is time to finally come to grips with the problems.

Here are a few ideas:

There is no reason we should have an election “day.” The Constitutional requirement to hold the Presidential election “on the first Tuesday in November” is a hold over from an agrarian age at a time when the national population was a fraction of what it is today. To alleviate the long lines, confusion and human errors of election day the election could take 5-7 days.

Early voting should be nationwide. The period should be at least two weeks allowed for early voting.

The electoral college should be abolished.

The campaigns should be restricted to six weeks starting on Labor Day.

No campaign ads should be allowed from outside of the particular candidate’s organization. Campaign ads should not be accepted before the official start of the campaign “season.”

Campaign spending limits should be imposed.

Campaign donations should come from individuals only and not companies, corporations or any organization. These donations should be limited to no more than $250.00.

Primaries should be simplified and bundled into periods. The time zones could delineate the order allowing the eastern states to go first, the mid-western states next and so on.

There should be an independent clearing house for information on candidates and issues unfiltered by partisan or ideological spin. Perhaps the League of Women Voters could do this. They have long been a source for the most unbiased information. False, defaming and misleading claims could be examined here as well. At least voters would have a place to go rather than depend only on the internet, TV and newspaper sources.

It would take a Constitutional Amendment to get rid of the Electoral College and could take years to accomplish.

It would likewise require a Constitutional amendment to change the voting day. Maybe we could go for a “twofer.”

Any other changes would likely be difficult as well, entrenched interests and stubborn traditionalists would resist any change at all.

There are no doubt many other ideas that could be considered in any revision of election practices and any changes would likely take years to implement so it might be a good idea to begin a national dialogue considering how the system may be improved all the while remaining honest, open and inclusive.

And there is much to consider about improving the method of voting, scans, computers, paper ballots etc. That is a whole other issue!



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