Jun. 12th, 2016

pryder: (Default)

(I also posted this on Facebook, so those of you who follow me in both places may have already seen it.)

This year's primary election cycle has made a lot of election-related problems visible - some of which are widespread and some of which are unique to primaries. I'm going to focus mostly on the Democratic Party process here because it's the one I know most about, but most of the same things probably also apply to the Republicans. Some of the problems favored Clinton; some favored Sanders; still others are hard to calculate the effect of.

Here is my list of changes that need to happen. We need to do this to restore confidence in the fairness of the election process.

1. Caucuses must go. They are inherently undemocratic.

2. Onerous voter ID laws must go. They discriminate against the poor, against non-white populations, against the young and the elderly, and against people who do not drive cars. (Any process where one population must do something extra to get the necessary ID while others already have it because of other life circumstances or choices discriminates against the group that has to take the extra action. That's why I oppose automatic voter registration linked to driver's licenses.)

3. Adequate numbers of adequately staffed polling places need to be provided. Most especially, distribution of voting locations and staffing that discriminate (or even appear to discriminate) against disadvantaged populations must stop. The goal should be that nobody ever has to wait more than 15 minutes to vote; if an election falls short of that goal it means that the staffing level of polling places is inadequate.

4. The hours of voting must be long enough to allow everybody to get to the polls regardless of work or school schedule. For the final presidential election I support a 24 hour voting period that would be the SAME 24 hours - real time, not clock time - in all 50 states; thus the polls would close at exactly the same time everywhere, so nobody would be voting after results from other states have already been released.

5. The window of registration should at the very least be open until one month before election day. Some states allow day-of registration; we should investigate whether that is feasible to do everywhere.

6. Removal of people from the voter rolls should be done at least six months before the relevant election, so that the voters have ample time to respond and correct any errors that were made. Ample notification must be provided to anyone who is removed.

7. We should come to an agreement about who is allowed to vote in a primary and who is not. I favor, at the very least, allowing anybody who is not enrolled in any political party to choose to vote in any party's primary, and it should be possible to make that choice at the polls.

8. All voting methods must provide a full paper trail and allow a manual recount. Randomly selected polling places in every election should be recounted so we can detect if there are patterns of machine results that do not match the manual recount of the paper trail.

9. Rules that obfuscate the process of registering for an election or the process of becoming eligible for a specific primary must be eliminated. The process should be as simple and as well published as possible.

April 2017

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