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Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Week 2: The American Electoral Process.

We have gone over two centuries with our current electoral process. That is something that is truly amazing. As an extension of the Constitution with the longest life span of any such document, it has served us proudly for many, many years. Like Marilyn Monroe and her mole, our electoral process is however flawed. Incomparably beautiful, as powerful, and enduring, as the majestic warships in the era in which our Constitution was forged the process does have flaws.

Our electoral process clearly enunciates the suspicion, and in some cases ourright fear some of the founding fathers had of ‘mob rule’. Several of them held that ‘too much’ democracy was even worse than none at all. We originally did not get to vote for senators, and the popular vote still is virtually meaningless, essentially our current national elector process is a first draft by men who were not sure they were doing the right thing. That is not a prescription for an efficient well thought out system. In short, it is a first draft. It needs some editing but a total out with the old in with the new ‘solution’ isn’t the best. Several main areas need addressing.

The President cannot and will not ever represent most of the people. Most of the voters yes, but the population as a whole, no. I propose two changes.
First, we need to over haul federal election law so that any candidate or party who can get on the ballot in sufficient states to represent one third of the total electoral votes need for election to the presidency would be listed on all federal election ballots. (If this requires states to issue two ballots in federal election year’s one state and one federal so be it.) This would open the field up and give ‘third party’ candidates a more level playing field. For the election of the president, I’d also propose a three level voting structure. The first level would be your choice for president and that person would get three tallies. The second would be your alternate choice who would be awarded one tally. The third would be a no vote that was one negative tally for a candidate you did not want elected at all. Tie breakers would go: highest first level votes, lowest no vote, and then go to a count of electoral districts won. If that failed to produce a winner the candidate with the highest winning percentage in their districts won would be selected, and then the candidate with the most second level votes. If this failed to produce a victor by popular vote a run off between all tied candidates would happen with a one vote ballot six weeks after Election Day.
The other key point is to infuse the Senate with the nation’s opinion as a whole. To accomplish this I would institute five “Senator at Large positions” four elected directly by national vote in the same year as the president, the fifth slot being awarded to the second place contender for the presidency

Electoral College
Much as I would like to simply do away with the whole unseemly and counter democratic process, there should be a back up plan to the more straight forward and representative process of direct voting, even if it is no more than an emotional bandage. To that end, electoral votes would be tied to the popular vote of district they represent. In the event someone was to win less then fifty percent. The tie breakers would go in the same order as the above presidential format.

Term Limits
Personally, as much as I believe people like the Grand Duke of Kennedy and The High Wizard Strom Thurmond are not good for America, I firmly believe term limits on public office violate the free speech of those voting. It is always possible to vote someone out. With the massive amounts of media and competitive scrutiny paid to any office where more than a few thousand people are expected to vote I fail to see how anyone wishing to be informed on an issue or a candidate could fall short of the mark.

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