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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

August, 2004

Three Mechanical Election Reforms
By Harry Holdorf

When I was a kid playing in the dirt outside my grandma's rural Nebraskan homestead, the little black bugs with red wings I played with were called Democrat Bugs, because there were so many of them. With so many Democrats disliking Bush so much, all they have do is get the voting system together and vote him out of office. Nationwide, 49% of those eligible don't even vote; and most of these would vote democratic. It's estimated a million actual votes were lost nation-wide during the 2,000 election. Democrats: make sure the votes are counted. Computers are excellent devices for storing information: recording and saving votes shouldn't be that hard, if Democrats expend enough energy in that direction (don't wait till November). Absentee voting is a GREAT way to vote, allowing you to vote weeks early, at your convenience, while leaving a paper record: go for it.

A major reason many people don't even want to vote is they don't like either major party candidate, and voting Nader or anyone else would be throwing their vote away. There's a quite logical and easy solution for this which both major parties have drug their feet on: it's up to the people to insist on it being put in place as soon as possible. The European-style instant runoff system means you vote for your first, second, and third choice, without wasting your vote. If you voted for Nader first, and Bush or Kerry didn't get a majority, then your second choice vote would be counted. It's such a good idea, trying to hold elections without it seriously damages our democracy.

The other huge electoral bummer is way many of our state legislators have succumbed to gerrymandering: redistricting their states in such a way to ensure advantages to each of their major parties, to the disadvantage of the voters. Of the 435 congressional races, in 400 of them, there's actually no contest, principally due to the fact that these districts have been drawn in such a way to be either strongly Democratic, or strongly Republican; which means that for 90% of us, our votes for the representative branch of Congress have been stolen from us. ASAP, state legislators: give up the fancy redistricting: divide up you states with natural lines, following watersheds, ignoring political consequences. Establish your congressional districts impartially; our democracy desperately needs this.

Republicans really drag their feet on election reform, because reform would hurt their chances for winning. It's up to the Democrat Bugs to get their trip together and re-establish a healthy democracy in this country.

 

 

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