Other Election Related
Individual Candidate & Interviews Debates
Government owned media should air both debates between candidates and interviews with individual candidates for public office to the extent that at least one radio and one television station in each market carries the broadcast. In markets which may not have government owned media, then significantly government funded stations (at least one television and one radio station) should be required to air such broadcasts. If no significant government funded stations exist, then private radio and television stations should be required to fulfill this requirement and come to an agreement amongst themselves regarding which one will provide such broadcasts. All candidates receiving at least 1% of the popular support (determined by taking an average of several recognized polls) should be allowed to be included in any broadcasted debate or interview held for that office. Internet broadcasting and archiving should also be required for all debates so that any person anywhere and anytime can view them.
Such debates and interviews should last for hours, and be comprehensive in nature. Members of the press or other informed people (but preferably not common members of the public) should be the ones asking questions of candidates for state or national office. There should be fewer restrictions on who could ask questions in lower level races. Time limits shorter than 5 minutes should not be placed on responses unless they are filled with political babble (as determined by a poll of the panel of questioners). These formats would afford the candidates less rushed and more relaxed responses. In addition, candidates should be given at least a partial list (a full list would be better) of questions days or weeks ahead of time to allow them sufficient time to formulate a thought-out, structured, and prioritized response. After all, when decisions need to be made in the real world, solutions are hardly ever required within one minute. It would be unwise and just plain wrong to judge a candidate on how he responds to questions if he had only a few seconds to think about it. Truly valuable candidates are often not the ones that can provide the quickest answers; they are usually the ones who think a lot before they talk. If people want well thought out solutions, they should also demand well thought out responses to questions. Other than to provide the candidate with questions in advance, there is no other way to effectively minimize useless political rhetoric during debates and interviews and get an accurate perception on a candidate’s policy perspectives.
Audiences during debates should be kept to a minimum or should be non-existent. Their cheering, jeering and other reactions just add unnecessary emotions to the discussion, and reduce the quality of the debate by consciously or unconsciously encouraging the candidates to appeal to the audience. It also adds an unnecessary element of nervousness to the candidates that can only further reduce the quality of the discussions.
Political Candidate Position Statements
All candidates running for elected office should be required, at a minimum, to state their positions on a variety of topics listed on a questionnaire. They should also be encouraged to thoroughly express their positions, reasonings, and goals in written form as soon as possible so people could begin to make educated decisions. A picture or multiple pictures of the candidate should also be submitted. All of this information should be published on some government election website and candidates should be able to update their information whenever they wish. In addition, a summary of each candidate’s positions, reasonings, and goals should be published and included in official election information materials mailed to the voters to ensure that all voters are easily able to compare the positions of all the candidates.
Accountability for Elected and Appointed Officials
All elected and possibly some appointed officials must have yearly or biyearly (twice a year) progress reports published by an independent government organization, and made freely available to everyone or at least to the people in that elected official’s district. Publishing these reports on the internet on some official government election site would be the best way to go and constituents could request physical copies mailed to them if they so desire. These reports should include a record of all votes submitted by the official, speeches delivered, official meetings attended, and other official business of significant relevance engaged in by that official since the time that the previous such report was published. It may also include certain evaluations made by other significant or important people, including co-workers. The elected official may also include position statements and an unlimited length online essay (10,000 word limit for essays published on paper), also free of charge, so that communications to constituents and everybody else could be made at any time.
The tax returns should also be publicly released because they are documents that effectively contain essential character questions and other fundamental descriptive truths that are beneficial for the public to know.
Ballot Measure Historical Summaries
Voter information booklets and/or sample ballots should include within their descriptions of each measure a section dedicated to analyzing the relevant history of the subject related to the measure. Some examples of useful information to include in these sections would be a list and summary of similar measures in the past, when they were placed on the ballot and whether they passed or failed, relevant legislative action pertaining to the topic, the state’s history of debt and current and past credit ratings, and what its debt and credit situation would most likely be if the measure passes.
Releasing Election Results
In all public elections, no projections should be made and no results (including polling results) should be made known or broadcast through any mass media (including the Internet) to the public beginning at 12 AM on the day prior to election day and lasting through election day up until all the polls have closed in all the jurisdictions participating in that race.
All This Information Made Available On Single Government Website
All the information described above should be made available on a single government website so that any person could go and find virtually all the relevant information they could ever want to know about any candidate or issue in order to make a well informed decision during the election. A user should only need to type in their address and all the relevant elections in which he is eligible to vote in should appear. The voter could then pick one and begin his search for information about a particular candidate or issue.0 Comments
The minimum voting age should be age 20 (this should also be the age of majority).
Only US citizens should be allowed to vote in US public elections. Lawful permanent residents (who are not yet citizens) or people with any other status should not be allowed to vote.
Registering to vote should be a high school graduation requirement. Voting should not be mandatory, but everyone should at least be registered.
One Voting Domicile At a Time
College students may only retain one voting domicile at a time, either within their resident political jurisdiction while attending college or within the political jurisdiction of their hometown.
Homeless people, recreational vehicles inhabitants, etc, without a permanent address may register only in the political jurisdiction in which they receive their mail.
Every voters should be required to have their correct name and address on file with their voting precinct prior to being allowed to vote. Voters with different names or addresses should be allowed to change/update such information at their voting place.
Voters should be notified that their current name and address will be assumed to be accurate. If it is determined that it is not accurate, heavy financial penalties will levied.0 Comments
Several Voting Methods
All voters should be able to vote either through the mail (such as through the use of absentee ballots), through the telephone, through the Internet, or by going to an official polling place. Special registration to vote by mail should not be required.
Flexible Voting Schedule
Every person should be allowed to vote on all issues on the ballot up to one month before the regularly scheduled day of the election. If, for example, an election is scheduled for November 7th, then voting should be allowed to begin on October 7th. Voting at the scheduled voting place may not be an option throughout this entire voting window, but voters should be allowed to vote through the telephone, internet, mail, or by going to an official central voting place like city hall, or a police station, etc.
Perhaps an allowance should be made for people who desire to change their vote at any time after they cast their original vote up to election day (because one month is a significant length of time in which people could change their minds), but a fee should be charged for such a service to compensate the government for costs associated with such an option as well as to discourage people from relying too much on this option as a substitute for thinking deeply about how they plan to vote.
Critical Voting Instructions
Voters should never feel as though they are required to vote on every race or issue on the ballot, especially those for which they feel they are not adequately informed or for which they do not have a favored outcome. As part of the voting instructions given to all voters on their ballots and in the voting booth, they should be told that they have the option to vote only on those races on the ballot for which they feel informed enough to make a decision. Voters should also have the option to check boxes marked “No Preference/Abstain” for every race or measure on a ballot.
Disinterested Voters Should Not be Encouraged to Vote
Uninterested eligible voters, especially those who are not educated about the issues, should not be encouraged to vote because they may actually damage the public’s wellbeing. Instead, they should be encouraged to abstain from voting until they become interested enough to become educated on the issues. This way, when they do vote, they would actually benefit society by casting an educated vote and they would be using the voting system as it was intended to be used.0 Comments
After the deadline for registering candidates or ballot initiatives, no more changes, except to correct errors, should be allowed. Candidates and initiatives failing to register in time should be required to wait for the next election. Voters should not be burdened by such things as Supplemental Ballot Pamphlets or similar documents that include information on ballot measures submitted late.0 Comments
States should hold their Presidential primaries on every first and third Tuesdays in the months of April, May, June, and July. The order in which states hold their primaries is not particularly important under this system, but to keep it simple, less confusing and, perhaps, more exciting, the least populated states could hold their primaries first followed by the more populous states. The least populated states would hold their primaries first, on the first Tuesday in April. The most populated state(s) would hold their primaries last on the third Tuesday in July. In each of the eight primary election dates, around 12.5% or 1/8 of the total population of the United States would vote. This means that for the first few elections, the Presidential candidates would need to campaign in many small states and with each following election, fewer states would need to be targeted, and the last one or two election would only involve one or two of the largest states.
Using this system, smaller states would be given sufficient attention while primary contests would tend to be determined more towards the end of the primary campaigns when the big states weigh in. This plan would make it easier for the candidates to devote more valuable time in states which are closest to their election dates, and would allow candidates to ‘practice’ their message before the big-state elections, and would also allow the candidates more time to raise the money required for the more expensive large-state campaigns.0 Comments
Election turnout figures should be calculated based on the number of people who voted divided by the total number of people who could have been voters (eligible voters), not just registered voters. Everyone who is a citizen and who is old enough to vote is an eligible voter. Such figures would better represent true voter participation rates.0 Comments
Contributions of any type from any party to any party that can potentially be construed as a potential conflict of public interest or violation of public trust should be required to be disclosed to the public no later than 3 days after the initiation of the transaction.
No contribution or contributor, especially to a public official, should be allowed to be kept secret or to provide a misleading identity.
No significant contribution or gift (valued over $100 per calendar year) should be allowed between any parties if it has been determined by law that justice or fairness is likely to be compromised.0 Comments