Thursday, November 06, 2008

Election Musings

Feel free to refine or poke holes in the following ideas.

The Primaries
Is anyone confused about the primary process? I know that I am. This process wreaks of a lack of planning. It just sort of fell together this way over time. I live in one of those states that doesn't matter in the primaries. Texas. The state that holds 34 electoral votes has virtually zero sway in the primaries. Who chose Iowa and New Hampshire as the king-makers of this country? Iowa doesn't even use a legitimate selection system (caucus) in my opinion.

So here is my plan. It is simple, and it is allows the nation (not a handful of states) to choose who gets to run.

Super Tuesday 1
The First Tuesday of February of the election year. All 50 states will hold a primary election. Candidates that can gather signatures amounting to 0.25% of the popular vote in the previous election are eligible for their party. That would be slightly over 300,000 signatures in 2012.

Super Tuesday 2
The last Tuesday of April of the election year. The top 3 vote getters for a party will be eligible. All 50 states will hold a primary election. The top popular vote getter wins the nomination.

How hard is that? You get rid of caucuses. You get rid of superior first choice states. You get rid of goofy delegates, super-delegates, and all that jazz.

Election Day
I think that everyone can agree on this one except for my boss. Let's make election day a federal holiday. This will help prevent the end of the day rush (when people get off of work). We don't have to sneak out during the lunch break to vote. This day is a celebration of our country's freedom. Let's celebrate.

Next, let's move election day to the first Friday of November. Why you ask? Because I want a 3 day weekend... just kidding. Most people stay up late and watch the results, most people also get little sleep, and most people spend the next day at work talking about the results. The result... a very unproductive workday.

Voter Registration
The most controversial measure on my blog today. Let's do away with Voter Registration! What?!? Why or how would you do that? Simple, use the same form of ID that everyone else requires... a Driver's License.

If I go the movie theater and look young, they demand it. If I go to 7-Eleven and use my credit card, they sometimes demand it. If I want to drive a car, I must have it. If I want to get on an airplane, I must have it (or a Passport). Whenever I get a new job, they make a copy of it. Everyone else accepts this form of ID, why not the election board.

Why do I want to do this? So we can simplify the process of voting and eliminate the occurrence of minimize suspicion of election fraud.

Issues to Overcome
Fake IDs - If high school aged kids can produce McLovin, we need to check for it. Answer: Every polling place uses an ID verification webservice that takes Drivers License Number, First Name, and Last Name. This webservice interfaces with the state's database and spits back a Valid or Invalid verdict.

Using the Same ID More than Once - This same webservice puts a little X next to everyone name as it is checked. After being checked once, it will return invalid.

Security or I Don't Trust Those Newfangled Machines - This is a valid fear, but it nothing more than that. I work in the financial software industry. I pull people's credit reports, wire money, send SSN numbers around all via a webservice. How is this allowed? Because we use secure methods (ones that I will not divulge here). If I can do it with that information, we could have the NSA whip up something better in no time I would bet.

This Disenfranchises People - I know, I am suppressing the vote of people who don't have an ID. I am against the poor, the immigrant worker, and the elderly. You know what, I think that would could figure something out here, I just haven't come up with it yet. Help me out.

What Band Would Play At Your Inauguration Party?
Ah yes, the really important question of the day. I thought about this one and came to the conclusion that the word Party was the key. So my initial verdict is:

Toby Mac

I could party to:

Let's Get This Party Started - to set the mood
Feelin' So Fly - I could do some goofy dance like them
Extreme Days - to go along with the urgency of things
Boomin - just to bring everyone together

Could you wish for a President that sang with him, I don't want to gain the whole world and lose my soul!

...and yes I am white... so is Toby Mac.

Please feel free to offer other suggestions...


III said...

I really like all of the ideas except for utilizing computer/network technology for voting. If it fails, then people can't vote. There are still too many kinks with computer/network technology to trust it for elections.

Also, I think that there should be some kind of national election board that oversees how states conduct elections & so forth. Perhaps something like that already exists. But it's ridiculous how many stories there have been on how easy it is to manipulate electronic voting machines. There needs to be a national mandate for a paper record of EVERY vote. Also, there should be some kind of mandated guidelines for what a voting ballot should look like. Eight years after 2000, some counties in south Florida are STILL using that confusing butterfly ballot system where you punch holes & there might be hanging chads. It's ridiculous. We owe it to our vote to make sure we do it right!

Ted C. Howard said...

I like except for a few points.

1) The primaries are run by political parties and not the government. If they would agree to standardize on this, that would be great.

I'd like to go a step further and not start the primaries until August. We have national media now, so there is no need to visit each state and deliver the same message. One month should be plenty of campaigning for the primaries, and another month should be fine for the general election. That way we can focus on actual issues.

2) Drivers license for voter registration is problematic because you don't have to be a US citizen to have a drivers license.

Jordan said...

Yah, I am not sure how to ease fears over the Computer. I don't have them myself, but convincing people is hard.

"you don't have to be a US citizen to have a drivers license" - Well maybe we can fix this when we fix the IDs

Dan said...

Good ideas. Anything is better than the primary system we have. I didn't even vote in it because McCain already had the nomination locked up. And the Democrats let non-Democrats vote in their primary? What's the logic of that? But I guess I wouldn't expect it from them...:)

I think the driver's license idea was brought up in Arizona I believe, at one time. They were going to honor driver's licenses and voter ID cards, for those who don't have licenses. The ACLU and all the wacko leftists fought it though, saying that it was an impediment to voting, and not everyone could afford it or go to get one, thus denying the right to vote. It was then pointed out that the state would pay for one if someone couldn't pay for one, and it would deliver it if someone couldn't go to get one. How that person could go to vote, though, was never answered.

Also, I'd like to get rid of the electoral college. Effective at one time, today I think it is irrelevant. The difference in the popular vote was 6% this time, which led to a 2/1 electoral vote advantage for Obama.

Jordan said...

You know, I had not thought about the electoral college. Good Point. It would certainly make candidates focus on more than just a couple swing states. I do think that the current system does prevent say California, Texas, and New York from totally dominating the political scene. If the top 5 states went 85% one direction, could the rest of the 45 mount up an opposition? I am not sure.

III said...

Scrapping the electoral college would have a drastic affect on party platforms. Each party would begin to cater, pander, and jockey for the votes of high population centers. Candidates wouldn't care about rural America. Candidates would only campaign in dense population centers, probably primarily on the Eastern & Western seaboards, with the occasional side-trip to Denver, Dallas, or Houston.

I think the electoral college works just fine the way it is. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.