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Voting reform: voting in the United States needs to change
With the 2012 election quickly approaching, I think now is a good time to talk about voter reform. In the last two election years, 2008 for president and 2010 for congress, voter turnout in the US was only 37.8% and 56.8% respectively. These aren't numbers that are just recently low, going back to the 60's they are only a few points behind what they used to be. I obviously can't speak for the other 40-60% of Americans who don't vote, but I can at least tell you why I don't and what I think needs to change.
Back when the US was founded, the electoral college was a great idea. Back then, the average person couldn't read or write, so in all reality it was needed. Now some people, and test scores, might argue that American's aren't the smartest, but I think we are smart enough to elect our own president, instead of voting for someone else to vote for us. It's an outdated process that is really only kept around because it's always been there.
Another problem is have with the electoral college is just under half the states don't have laws that require the members of the electoral college to vote the same way the popular vote of the state went. In other words, if in a states popular vote republican won, in those states one or more of the electors could vote democrat. Granted, it doesn't happen often, and normally when it does happen it's not significant enough to make a difference, but that doesn't change the fact that it could happen.
Lastly, and in my opinion most importantly, giving all the votes in a state to a single candidate invalidates all the votes for the other candidate. For example, in the 2008 election California had about 7.5 million people vote democrat and 4.5 million vote republican. However, all 55 electors voted democrat, which means the 4.5 million that voted republican basically had no say. Now, if 61% of the 55 electors voted democrat, and the rest voted republican, it would be a different story. It doesn't happen very often, but there have been 3 times in our history that the person who won the popular vote didn't win the election.
What I think needs to change
First, the electoral college needs to go. There is no point to it anymore. No need to replace it with anything, just completely scrap it.
Second, scrap the idea of parties. They work on paper, but then again so does communism. The problem with parties is that you'll get some people that will ignore policies and qualifications, and vote based on who is in what party. If I were to decide how voting would work, nobody would be affiliated with a party, and when you vote you would check 2 names. Whoever gets the most is president, second most is vice president.
This, in my opinion, would be better for a couple reasons. First, lets say you have 2 candidates. Candidate A has a better foreign policy, and Candidate B has a better economic policy. With the current voting system, you have to look at these 2 candidates and decide what is more important to you. With my idea, you don't.
Finally, money needs to be removed, in it's current state, from politics. Instead of you donating money to a party, or a candidate, I think all money donated should go to a general election fund. For example, lets say you donate $20 and there are 4 candidates. Each one should get $5 of that $20. No qualified candidate should have little, or in most cases, no chance of winning because of money.
Because I know at some point in time I'm going to get a comment about traditions, I'm just going to add a little "joke" I once read regarding them.
A groups of scientists took a cage, and put 5 gorillas in it with shock collars on. In the cage was a ladder, and once a day they would tie a banana to the roof. When a gorilla would climb the ladder to get the banana, they would shock all the gorillas. Eventually they would stop trying to get the banana, for fear of being shocked.
Once this happens, they would replace one of them with a new gorilla without a collar. Naturally, the new gorilla will try and get the banana when it's put in, but the 4 remaining gorilla's with collars would stop it for fear of being shocked again. As the new one learns to stop trying, they would keep replacing gorillas until none of the original 5 are in the cage.
What they were left with was 5 gorillas in a room with a banana, all of whom wouldn't touch, but had no reason not too. That's tradition.