These are some I’ve been thinking about this week, but feel free to add your own.
But first a minor rant:
I’ve been so mad this week. Not only at Trump voters. Oh don’t get me wrong, I think they made an UNBELIEVABLY poor choice. But they voted. The latest turnout numbers suggest only 55% of registered voters cast ballots. If the turnout had been 5% higher Hillary would have won and the Senate would have switched. Higher turnout almost always means the Democratic candidates do better.
I know voter suppression has been talked about a lot. And there is definitely some state/county/local voter suppression that needs to be addressed. But I feel like the biggest vote suppression is from people themselves. Who think the candidates suck and that their votes won’t matter anyways. Who can’t(or won’t) take the time to stand in line. Or who don’t vote in protest (still not sure why deliberately not taking a stand is a protest but ok).
Here’s the thing: no candidate is perfect. And the only way your vote doesn’t count is if you don’t cast it. Even when your candidate/issue loses. I’ve voted for terrible people over the years (more often in local/state elections than national). I’ve voted for people who I thought were criminals and liars and who held very different beliefs. Because the other guy was worse. Because the other guy shouldn’t be in charge of anything more complex than zipping his pants(and all too often even that is too much).
Too many people assume someone else will go vote against that asshat. That someone else will make sure the crazy guy/religious nutbag/ayn rand fanboy doesn’t succeed. All too often no one does. I don’t think New York or Illinois wants their state governments to be indicted regularly. I don’t think most of Texas wants the state school board to be creationist anti-history ignorant gasbags. But over the years too many people skipped the elections that could have stopped (or slowed) it. And one way to try and avoid it is to vote, every time, in every election.
Ballot Prop 1: End gerrymandering. Every district should be re-drawn after every 10 year census by nonpartisan groups who try to make them equally representative of registered voters. And sure, there will be still be districts that are overwhelmingly blue or red in various states. But they won’t be odd shapes or designed to keep the one black neighborhood out or to have the local college sidelined. And unfortunately both sides do it (Republicans more successfully in recent years) so we can’t just say, oh make sure the state houses are blue in 2020. We need to end the bullshit. The House of Representatives would suddenly be a hell of a lot more representative. And hopefully more people would feel like their votes matter.
Ballot Prop 2: Make Election Day a State holiday. (I’d prefer this be a federal holiday but we know that won’t happen). If Election Day is a holiday more people will be able to take the time to stand in lines (some artificially induced by people trying to suppress the vote). It removes one hurdle people have to voting. It would also make it easier to get out the vote. If I hadn’t had to work I would have been able to volunteer to drive people to the polls and I bet there are a lot of other people who would do the same.
Ballot Prop 3: Make voting compulsory. As in, everyone who is registered has to vote or be subject to possible fines/community service. So like Jury Duty (and enforced a lot like Jury Duty too, cause most places aren’t going to actually fine people). This feels Nanny State, a bit like the seat belt law was considered when first passed. Too many people are being adversely affected by low voter turnout. Also, if voting was mandatory it would spur action on creating better/easier voting systems ( like vote by mail in WA/OR) that would help everyone to participate. And yes, there would need to be a system in place so that people who really object to voting for religious or other reasons can petition to opt out.
I think these Ballot propositions could get on every state ballot in 2018. I don’t think they would win in every state, but they’d definitely pass in a bunch. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing. And it would scare all the Republicans to hell and back which isn’t a bad thing either.