Basic and Bold Steps To Improve U.S. Elections

We continue with National steps to complement steps for Connecticut. Basic steps that cost little, should almost be assumed. Bold steps that could transform the system, and transcend knee-jerk half steps.

Mandate Paper Ballot, Optically Scanned Nationwide, paying for the conversion. (BOLD). Paper ballots are easily auditable and recountable. Extend the Help America Vote Act to pay for the conversion. Paper ballots also have advantages in reducing long lines, economical equipment, and by definition provide for a system that works when power or equipment fails.

Mandate Independent Audits and Recounts. (BASIC). We audit almost every other government function independently. Why not the most basic democratic function. We could start with improved version of past “Holt Bills”.

Fix the 12th Amendment and Electoral Count Act. (BASIC) We just do not have a Presidential election system we can trust. We have seen the worst of it in 2000, 2004, our ancestors lived through it in 1876. It is past time to have a uniform, rational, predefined system for determining the President, without games and questions. Such a system would be one prerequisite for a national popular vote.

Pass and Enforce a Federal Right To Vote. (BASIC for any other democracy). Voters should have an equal right to vote from state to state. Who gets to vote should be the same everywhere. There should be reasonable and equitable access to voting. Government should bare some responsibility for a rational voter registration system. The Civil Rights Act has worked well for minorities in formerly discriminatory states – we need something similar for equal rational voting rights.

Prohibit Internet Voting, while Serving Military and Overseas Voters (BASIC) Internet, online, email, and fax voting should be outlawed until the Internet is safe for business, military, and government. The lack of safety is recognized in every other area. We need to assist military and overseas voters with online absentee applications, and ballots returnable in a single envelope. The Military needs to take responsibility to assure every member has the opportunity and support necessary to vote, if they so choose.

As we said for our Connecticut steps, this short list. We would be completely pleased if all of these reforms were addressed in the near term. There are many other possible and useful reforms.

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