7. FIXING DEMOCRACY: Expanding on page 6 ideas

We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both! 
- Justice Louis Brandeis


Our representative democracy is endangered. Extreme economic inequality creates political inequality. Political inequality leads to dysfunctional government which is not solving our serious national problems - such as climate change, racial injustice, decaying infrastructure, gun violence, and unrelenting poverty.

Many Americans generally agree that solving these problems requires that we significantly repair our representative democracy. I am suggesting that we must also take the next step which is to focus public attention on specific individual repairs currently being proposed as possible and necessary.

This page discusses in more detail the Five (5) Critical Areas for Reform of Our Political System mentioned on page 6 as the third part of a 'Three-Part Campaign' and gives specific ideas for repair in each area. They point out how things should work and what we should support, rather than what we are against. As you will see, many of these reforms are starting to get attention.


Five (5) critical areas for reform of our political system are:
1. Expand voter participation to create a democracy that works for everyone
2. Reform redistricting procedures and stop gerrymandering to ensure voters chose their representative not the representatives to chosing their voters
3. Secure the vote and improve voting/election procedures to reclaim the cornerstone of our democracy - honest,  fair, and transparent elections and voting process
4. Minimize money's role to make it possible that elected officials work for everyone, not the wealthy elite
5. Strengthen government ethics including reforms to the U.S. Senate operating procedures so that this chamber debates and acts on the great ideas rather shut off debate.

We all need to help publicize and advocate for these reforms in Letters to the Editor (LTE), discussions with friends, and emails/calls/letters to elected officials and candidates. Click HERE to get contact information for your elected officials.

The Brennan Center for Justice (HERE) and FairVote (HERE) and Common Cause (HERE) are some key resources for much of this information.



Specific suggestions for reforms in each of the 5 areas!

1. Expand voter participation to create a democracy that works for everyone

   * Requires working with civic organizations joining in the 'get everyone 
       registered and voting' movement.
        ^ Why Voting Matters: Large Disparities in Turnout Benefit the Donor Class - HERE!
        ^ Statistics on Voter Participation - National - HERE and by state - HERE!
   * Pass universal/automatic/permanent voter registration. Names are
      removed only when the voter dies or moves to another county or state.
      Voters are not purged for not voting.
        ^ The Case for Automatic, Permanent Voter Registration - HERE!
        ^ Why we need Universal Voter Registration - HERE!
        ^ Video on Automatic Voter Registration - HERE!
        ^ Check National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (sections 29 and 30) 

              on purging for not voting - HERE!
   * Make election day a holiday.
       ^ Make election day a federal holiday - HERE!
       ^ Video on 'Making Election Day A National Holiday' - HERE!
   * Allow early voting for 15 days before election.
       ^ Allow Early Voting - HERE!
       ^ Brennan Center for Justice on early voting - HERE!
   * Allow every citizen not incarcerated to vote.
       ^ The Sentencing Project on Felon Voting Rights - HERE!
       ^ Video: Eric Holder on restoring ex-felon's voting rights - HERE!
       ^ FairVote on Felon Voting Rights - HERE!

   * Move low-turnout odd-year local elections to join even-year elections.
       ^ Article - The Elections No One Cares About - HERE!

       ^ Article - How election timing affects voter turnout, outcomes - HERE!
   * Allow same day voter registration.
       ^ Video on value of same day voter registration - HERE!
   * Allow online voter registration.

       ^ Article on this issue - HERE!
   * Use 'Ranked Choice Voting' (Instant Runoff) to improve tone and 
      participation.
       ^ Video - RCV helps the tone and participation - HERE! (2) and HERE (2)
       ^ Article on Ranked Choice increasing participation - HERE!

   * Fight voter suppression.
       ^ Renew the Voting Rights Act - HERE!
       ^ Voting Right: A resource page - HERE!
       ^ Brennan Center for Justice on this topic - HERE!
       ^ The Myth of Voter Fraud - HERE!
       ^ Article on suppressing the vote - HERE!
   * Consider National Popular Vote of the President.
       ^ Fair Vote on Nation Popular Vote for President - HERE!
       ^ Website - National Popular Vote has a plan - HERE!

       ^ Video - Why National Popular Vote for President is a good idea - HERE!
   * Consider Compulsory Voting.
       ^ Article on pro and con - HERE
       ^ Video against it - HERE! Video for it - HERE!
       ^ Article about countries that have it - HERE!


2. Reform redistricting procedures and stop gerrymandering to ensure voters chose their representative not the representatives to chosing their voters
   * Use independent redistricting commissions for district boundaries.
       ^ Videos - What is gerrymandering? - HERE! (4) and HERE! (3)
       ^ Article - Seeking to End Gerrymandering's Enduring Legacy - HERE!
       ^ Article - What's wrong with gerrymandering? HERE!

       ^ Article - Imbalance of Power - HERE!
       ^ Resources on redistricting - HERE!
   * Consider proportional or fair representation with 3 person districts for

      electing legislatures.
       ^ Fair Vote on this topic - HERE!
       ^ Video - Fixing Congress with Fair Representation Voting - HERE! (6)

   * Stop prison gerrymandering.
       ^ Website - Prison Gerrymandering Project - HERE!

       ^ Article on solutions - HERE!

3. Secure the vote and improve voting/election procedures to reclaim the cornerstone of our democracy - honest,  fair, and transparent elections and voting process
   * Mandate voter-marked paper ballot with optical-scan machines to count 

      voted
       ^  Article - The Case for voter marked paper ballots - HERE!
       ^  Article - Computerized Vote Rigging Is Threat to US Democracy - HERE!
       ^  Video - Why electronic voting is a bad idea. - HERE! (8)
   * Develop public-interest voting equipment.

       ^ Article on public-interest voting equipment - HERE!
       ^ End the U. S. Election Assistance Commission? - HERE!

       ^ Website for Election Assistance Commission - HERE!
   * Use Ranked Choice Voting (Instant Runoff) for single person offices.
       ^ Videos - Instant Runoff  Voting (Ranked Choice) - HERE (1) and HERE (3)!
       ^ Video - Ranked Choice Voting helps the tone of campaigns - HERE! (2) and HERE (2)
       ^ Website on Ranked Choice Voting - HERE!

       ^ FAQ about Ranked Choice Voting - HERE!
       ^ Article - Where is Ranked Choice Voting is used! - HERE!
   * Use Top Four Open Primaries with Ranked Choice Voting

       ^ Article - Introducing the Public Primary - HERE!
       ^ Article - % of Public who are Independents, Democrats, or Republicans - HERE!
       ^ Website - Open Primaries - HERE!
   * Improve ballot access for minor parties.
       ^ Worst Ballot Access laws in US - HERE!
       ^ PA Voters' Choice Act on ballot access - HERE!
       ^ Book - Third Parties in America - HERE!

   * Say no to internet voting.
       ^ Why Online Voting is a Danger to Democracy - HERE!
       ^ Online Voting is a Bad Idea - HERE!

   * Replace partisan oversight (secretary of state) with non-partisan election 
      commissions at the national and state levels.
       ^  Article on Non-Partisan Election Administration - HERE!
       ^  Article on Election Integrity - HERE!

4. Minimize money's role to make it possible that elected officials work for everyone, not the wealthy elite
   * Support public financing of campaigns (citizen funding)
       ^ Video - Public Financing of Elections - HERE! (3)
       ^ Report about Public Financing of Elections - HERE!
       ^ Article and video about money in politics - HERE!

   * Support disclosure of all campaign funds.
       ^ Ideas from California on disclosure - HERE!
       ^ Why Our Democracy Needs Disclosure - HERE!
       ^ Disclosing Money in Elections - HERE!
   * Stop all gifts to elected officials.
       ^ Article about gifts to elected officials - HERE!
       ^ Article about gifts to elected officials in PA - HERE!

   * Establish free air-time for state and national office debates which include 

      all ballot candidates.
       ^ Articles on free airtime for candidates - HERE and HERE!
       ^ Article on open debates for all ballot candidates - HERE and HERE!


5. Strengthen government ethics including reform of the U.S. Senate operating procedures so that this chamber debates and acts on the great ideas rather shut off debate and generally strengthen governmental ethics.   * Strengthen government ethics
   * Modify the filibuster and Senate holds to make the U.S. Senate adhere 

        more closely to a 'one person, one vote' idea.
       ^ Article - Why we must reform the US Senate! - HERE!
       ^ Article - How to Fix the US Senate! - HERE!
       ^ Video - Common Cause panel discussion on fixing the US Senate - HERE! (61)
       ^ Article - Solutions to Fix the Broken US Senate - HERE!
       ^ Article - Fix the filibuster - HERE!