Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Voter Enhancement

An outline for an oral report, somewhat shorthanded:

John Jay expressed the opinion held by many including Madison & Washington that the upper classes were a better sort and the owners of the country should govern it. Nixon’s opinion was that what worked was as during the Founder’s time when 200K out of 3.5-4Mil voted & that the Republic would never have “survived if all the dummies had voted along with the intelligent people." We’ve seen it over the last 6-7 years, 50-60mil mostly poor and minority.

The US is one of the few established democracies without “Universal Voter Registration” where the government automatically registers all eligible voters. Fully implemented this would nearly 1 in 3 voters. Less fraud (or accusations of) because it would do away with partisan voter drives right before elections and help keep judges out of the process. Also cuts the surge crush on voter officials, one of the probable causes of the lines in Ohio. This could bridge between libs and conservatives and the under registration & fraud concerns. Technology exists, merging SS, DL, Census, Tax, & other Fed forms. States could require HS Juniors or Seniors to complete registration forms. It would also be an opportunity for civics lessons.

Election Day Registration is used in 6 states, ID, ME, MN, NH, WI, & WY which tend to have higher than average voter turnout – but they are also high “social capital.” Still leaves the responsibility to the individual. Both are snagged in partisan battle.

Make voting easier – Saturdays or National Holliday, the 1st Tuesday in November was established by Polk in 1845 to follow harvest and allow Monday as a travel day for farmers. It makes little sense today on a busy workday, it would be a small trick to have Election Day as a Federal Holliday.

Voting as a Right, it is not a Federal right to vote for President, that is the State’s decision. HR 28 Right to Vote Amendment has all D & 1 I support.

DC lost its representation in congress in 1801 when Congress voted to take control of DC, just 26 yrs after “No taxation without representation.” How to deal with this is varied, there is a bill in the House to give DC a voting Rep, Sen. Lieberman ( I) to give DC 1 Rep & 2 Sen.

Ex-felon & prisoner – around 4.7 Mil are unable to vote due to felony conviction, varying state to state, and only 2 states allow prisoners to vote – ME, VT. Felon lists have been used fraudulently to disenfranchise. A national regulation might clean this mess up.

Overseas voter registration can be very difficult. 3-7 Mil. Live overseas at any one time. DOD frequently has problems with registrations. This seems ridiculous in the modern world, but it is the case that various states treat this process differently, mail delays occur, foreign offices run out of applications, lose them, and generally turn the process into a nightmare.

Over the last 5 years the DOJ CR division has almost completely fallen on the side of vote restriction. Many career employees have resigned.

Recommended Sources:

Demos – www.demos-usa.org
FairVote – www.fairvote.org
DC Vote - www.dcvote.org
Right to vote – Felony Disenfranchisement – www.rightovote.org
US Commission on Civil Rights – www.usccr.gov
Dem Abroad – www.democratsabroad.org
R Abroad – www.republicansabroad.org


Overseas Vote Foundation said...

Note to overseas Americans and active-duty military and their families: our help desk and voter registration services are available to you at any time for assistance in the overseas citizen and military voting process. It can be rather complex, Chuck is right on that point. We are pleased to assist you. www.overseasvotefoundation.org

Anonymous said...

Nixon's mistake was equating "rich" with "intelligent." A study came out recently finding no correlation between wealth and intelligence, and our own observations bear that out almost daily.

Re making Election Day a national holiday, I agree 110 percent. Should have been done decades ago.

Chuck Butcher said...

Thanks to Overseas Vote Foundation for stepping up.

Anon 3:53, absolutely, there is no particular correlation between wealth and intelligence, there certainly is a correlation between dedication to the accumulation of wealth and wealth - a different thing. Nixon was an accolyte of wealth and power, blind to the fact that the founders would have scoffed at his pretensions.

KISS said...

Yup, wealth and intellect do not go hand in hand..look at Bush. I have yet to see away for voting to be equitable in our country. Should all voters be allowed to vote on property taxation, if they own no property? Should people be allowed to vote if they cannot read or write? Should voters know the name of the three highest highest office holders of the state they vote in? Yes, I Believe in freedom of voting; I also believe in the responsibility of voting.