In part C of her Voter and Voters three-part series, Jill gives us a roadmap for how we can get more people to vote. Let’s face it, it’s not going to be easy and like she has said, there IS no panacea. But, there ARE things we can and should do. Thanks Jill, for the excellent series and helping to give us a path towards better voter participation. In 2020, we need all the help we can get!
In Friday’s post, we looked at the reasons people give for not voting, and in Saturday’s post, we looked at the demographics … who isn’t voting, and why. When we put those two together, we see why some people aren’t voting, for the system is designed to make it difficult for them. In this, the final post of the week on voters not voting, we will look at some ways to effect change. There are actually two distinct groups of non-voters: those who are at least partly disenfranchised, for whom the system has made voting a difficult task, and those who are either too lazy or apathetic to stir themselves to vote. The solutions are different for each of these groups, so we need to look at them separately. But first, a disclaimer. There is no panacea, no simple, single solution that will all of a sudden solve…
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Hi, Jill! Thanks for another excellent post. When it comes to election laws, you folks give FAR too much power to state governments in the framing of election rules for federal elections. From my perspective as a Canadian who has studied some American history, this state of affairs can be traced directly back to to the unitiy issues emanating from the Revolutionary War period and solidified in the aftermath when the states jealously fought for their right to be self-governing. During our Confederation period in Canada during the 1860s, we witnessed the unification of several British colonies into one confederated British colony. These colonies were never independent states and thus, central control was assured. They never became independent states, so Canadian provinces don’t suffer from an independence hangover. Here, federal election laws and procedures are set by Parliament in Ottawa, carried out by provincial & territorial governments – under the direct supervision of the independent agency – Elections Canada. All citizens here are automatically registered to vote in their home jurisdictions.
We don’t have the political shenanigans with gerrymandering and voter registration, yet we still share in the common disease affecting all modern democracies – apathy and laziness on the part of far too many citizens who don’t vote.
Australia has resorted to legal force – you break the law if you don’t vote there. I’m not comfortable about restricting a person’s freedom in this way, but I don’t see anything else that works. I just hope that enough of these voter delinquents will be roused from their apathy and laziness to throw Trump out of office in November. The very fact that I refer to the apathetic and the lazy as voter delinquents indicates that I’m leaning towards the Australian solution.
As I watch the sham trial in the US Senate unfold and see the GOP senators proclaim that Trump is above the law, methinks it is time for you guys to do some serious constitutional reform. I realize that is a long and difficult row to hoe, but after a majority of Senators and this president have trampled it asunder, it has been rendered irrelevant.
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Thanks for that John! I can’t tell you how envious I am of the type of system you have in Canada. My God, it seems so simple. Here, we’re so damn complicated. It shouldn’t have to be this way. I love the aspect of an independent agency overseeing your election. We’re supposed to have such an agency here…the Federal Elections Commission, or FEC for short. But even with that commission, it’s political in nature. Damn, everything is that way over here.
I, like many others are sick of it. There’s so much we could do to make it better. But, it takes two to tango, as they say-and we have one party with absolutely NO interest in making things better. In fact, they want it even more difficult for people to vote. How do we combat such a destructive force? It won’t happen overnight, that’s for sure. But we’ve got to start somewhere and that first place is this November! It’s the old cliche, if Democrats turnout, we win. There’s more of us than there are of them. That’s going to be the key John.
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I agree with you, Jeff. Reform must start at the ballot box!
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