Our election systems give a guise of democracy but bipartisan election laws, huge amounts of private money, and the corporate media deny representation for a great many of us. The President is not elected by the people of this country. Instead, the president is selected by a majority of an Electoral College which is tilted to favor states which have much smaller numbers of people where each elector represents fewer people.
The case for multi-member districts
The U.S. Congress and most state legislative bodies have too few members and as a result each member must represent far too many people. These districts are so large that it takes really big money to reach voters. Candidates are sold by corporate interests like any product with sanitized advertising designed to sell a product. Currently elections are held in districts where only one person is elected. However, many people are now realizing that the only way, without artificial gerrymandering, to represent the various constituencies in an area is to create districts where several people are elected from each district in proportion to the number of votes received. More people of color, more women, and more people from smaller parties would then be elected to office.
How proportional representation works
Many countries use Proportional Representation to elect multiple legislators from each district, with parties and independents elected in proportion to the number of votes they received. Fewer votes are wasted, gerrymandering ceases to be useful, there are higher voter turnouts, and those elected are more diverse.
There are two major types of Proportional Representation. Here is how they work. In the most used List system, if a party gets half the votes it gets half the seats, not all of them. If a party or independent candidate gets 10% of the votes, that party or independent candidate gets 10% of the seats, not none of them. That way, the majority is protected and minorities get voice and representation. In states that have partisan primaries, a party’s list can be arranged in order of preference through the primary vote.
Some areas use Ranked Choice Voting in multi-member districts to achieve diversity. Voters simply rank candidates in their order of preference. The votes needed to be elected depends on the number of votes cast divided by one more than the number of seats to be filled. In states without partisan primaries, we can save the taxpayers billions of dollars by eliminating the primary and use either type of proportional representation in the general election.
The problem of differing State electoral laws
A new party must qualify and maintain ballot status in each state separately. Some states have very difficult election laws while other states have reasonable ones. Equal ballot access for federal candidates does not exist and this lack of due process violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. There needs to be a law that allows a new political party to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states without qualifying separately in each state.
Let’s get big money out of politics. Money has corrupted our political system. Let’s work to establish a clean money type of equal public funding for all candidates who raise a base amount. Basic rights, such as voting and freedom of speech should be reserved for people, not corporations. A constitutional amendment is needed to establish that money is not speech and that corporations are not people. Government-printed voter information guides need to be free to all ballot-qualified candidates in order for them to inform voters on their issues. This would help insure that the public has access to the education needed to cast an informed vote.
Our elections must be secure and transparent. We need to replace privately owned voting equipment and software with publicly owned, open-source paper ballot voting systems.
A few states have a non-partisan Top Two voting system designed to promote corporate/business friendly candidates. Only two candidates are allowed on the general election ballot. Smaller parties are not able to get on the general election ballots. That’s horrible! Let’s get rid of Top-Two and have more choices in our general elections.
-- written by C.T. Weber