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Would you like to see America's electoral system changed?

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ddbaj Donating Member (246 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:03 AM
Original message
Would you like to see America's electoral system changed?
I think most of us would like to see one change at least, paper ballots. However, do DUers support a change to the way we elect our leaders? I am not a big fan of our current system of electing congress, the winner takes all district system leads to way too much power for the incumbent thanks to the joys of gerrymandering. It also shuts out third parties as any party would be stealing votes from one of the sides.

I would like to see either proportional representation for the house (With a 5% minimum), or keep the districts require 50% of the vote to win and absent this a second round between the two top candidates would take place, this wouldn't solve gerrymandering though. For the senate, I would like the majority system and then popular vote for the president.

So, any ideas DUers would like to see?
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Ha Ha Ha Oh Wow Donating Member (37 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. Circle of Equals a la Mechwarrior
Get into some old gangster shit.
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The Count Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
2. I want the electoral college to go. Votes should be equal. Senate makes
a vote from Montana worth 10 times as mine. That should be changed too some day. But abolish electoral college NOW!
The primaries should take place the same day - I'd like to have a voice too, even if I am not from NH.
No private interests in elections - manufacturers, counters - nothing can be privatized, secret, not available for public scrutiny.
Only the vote should be secret - the counting - as public as necessary.
And, maybe do something about making people vote.
Also, restore the equal time doctrine - have the TV networks give (equal)free time to all candidates.
Public financing. Mandatory.
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
3. If it were up to me, I'd end the electoral college and start proportional representation...
along with offering a more-accurate representation of the will of the people, this would have the side effect of ending the two-party system as we know it, likely giving rse to a multi-party system, of which the center-left party (i.e. the Democrats) could form a coalition with Greens et. al. that would be pretty tough for the right-wing to overtake.
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ddbaj Donating Member (246 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Complete agreement.
I think you'd probably see the Libertarian party get a lot of votes under this system and you'd probably see the rise of a purely religious party as well. But a solid left bloc should be able to kick a fair ammount of ass.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. Unfortunately, proportional representation is exactly how the right wing took over Israel
Israel has a straight up PR system. 150 seats in the Knesset and any party that gets more than 2% nationwide gets exactly that proportion in government. It has fostered a LOT of right wing and extremist spin off parties, any zealot with a big ego can pretty much make himself a player in the system. The result is that your country's leadership is fostered by demogoguery and fear mongering, and the ability of (and incentive to) the government to cut deals with their enemies in the Palestinian Authority is destroyed.

Religious hard right wingers hold the balance of power in every Israeli government--and their pound of flesh cycle after cycle gives them ongoing control of their pet issues. Imagine what an American version of that would be: the fundies would have virtual control over issues like abortion & gay rights--issues where more people vote "against" than "for"--while the mainstream parties fought over basic pocketbook issues and national security issues. PR is a recipe for destruction of individual rights.
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Yes, but that's just one example...
the system has worked remarkably well in most European countries.
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. So let me ask you this. Is the US more like Israel or Europe?
In political culture, I think we're more like Israel. As badly divided as we are now, I think PR would tear us apart.
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. I'd argue we're way more like Europe...
we just don't realize it under the current system.

In terms of geography, culture, ideology, socioeconomics, and certainly with regards to issues of war and peace, we're a lot more like Europe than Israel. I think -- and this is just my opinion now -- that if we had a proportional representation system, it would cause a lot more people to go out and vote, because they would find a party that actually represents their views. And as these millions of people who don't vote head to the polls, we would find that the vast majority of them fall on our side of the fence, politically speaking. In poll after poll, the majority of Americans are for universal health care (EVEN IF taxes must be raised to make it possible); for legal, safe abortion; against religion in public schools; for well-financed public schools, for that matter; for public transportation; for moderate gun control; and so on and so on, almost ad infinitum.

America is a liberal country, a fact proven in poll after poll. But the majority of Americans don't vote. If a system were in palce which allowed for people to find a party or faction that better represented them, it's my belief that far more people would vote and, as a result of that, conservative thought would find itself in a permanent minority status. A lot of this is conjecture, of course, but I believe that, were it to happen my opinion would be born out by the actual events.

Ahem. Of course, I could always be wrong. It's been known to happen -- quite often, at times.
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cboy4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
5. I'm not a huge fan of dicking around with the constitution,
but on the other hand, the year 2000!

Hello.
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Norquist Nemesis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
6. Not a fan of the Primary process either
Just seems to me that if the GE can be on the same day across the nation, then the primaries can too. By the time they get to Illinois, we already know who the Presidential candidates are going to be. For the "average" voter (vs. those of us who get into every aspect of it all the way down to Dog Catcher LOL!), it tends to reduce voter turnout IMO. It fosters an attitude of, "Why bother? It's already decided."
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Bucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
7. Sure, but it won't happen.
I'd like to see the imbalance in the Senate partially adjusted--allow larger states, anything with 10 or more House members, have a 3rd, 4th, 5th Senator. Maybe let California have six. They'd still be under represented, but there would still be some form of representation, which conservatives in California and liberals in Texas do not have.

In the electoral college I'd like to see whole-state winner-take-all laws repealed. If San Diego votes for the Republican, their electoral votes should count for the Republican. If Denver votes for a Democrat their electoral votes should count for the Democrat. The last three elections have been won or lost by the votes of just a few counties in Ohio and Florida--nothing else really matters. Mixing things up a bit would mean that more voters will matter in what candidates have to promise and say to get elected.
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longship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
9. Yes. Here's what.
1. Constitutional Amendment codifying the right to vote.

2. Elimination of the Presidential primary system. Return the Presidential nomination process to a party caucus system, like that in Iowa. If the Democrats did this it would give them a huge advantage in upcoming contests.

3. Congress should adopt laws mandating openness to the electoral process. Election software must be freely available for inspection so that it can be peer reviewed. Random and open audits should be mandated. The entire process from top to bottom must be open to inspection.

4. Congress should adopt laws forbidding partisan political activities by people at the top of electoral administration, including Secys of State and county election commissioners. Never again should the person responsible for elections in a state be the head political operative of a partisan campaign.

5. Penalties for violation of voter rights should be long jail terms.

6. Campaign finances must have drastic reform. We need public campaign funding.

7. Deliberately deceptive, lying campaign ads should be illegal.

8. Constitutional amendment to change national election day. A variety of different scenerios are possible, the most simple of which might be making election day a mandatory national holiday. Other scenerios could be, weekend election day, contiguous 24 or 48 hour election days, etc.
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High Plains Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
10. Proportional representation.
Break the two-party monopoly. Sorry.
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Jimbo S Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
12. Parlimentary system intrgues me
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