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Demanding Election Reform

By Andrew Witzel

I went to vote in my state’s local elections yesterday, ready to pick the people for township board, judges, supervisors, etc. that I think could do well in the positions. I waited in line with everyone else, reviewing my list of names just to make sure I got them all based on the board of electors displayed in the room. The woman greeting everyone asked me “Democrat or Republican?” I looked at her with a puzzled look on my face and asked her to repeat herself. She said the same question again. I responded “Neither, I’m Libertarian.” At this time she took a calm tone and informed me that I was not eligible to vote in the local elections because I was not registered as a Democrat or Republican. The next set of words out of my mouth apparently offended her and the Judge of Elections overheard what I said and came over asking me to come with him and leave the line. This man, about the same age as my grandfather, explained to me that the local elections use the same rules as a primary election and therefore, voters need to be registered as a Democrat of Republican. What a load of crap in my opinion.

In order to vote in a primary election, you need to be registered as Democrat or Republican.

No wonder so many people don’t bother voting in any elections when these kinds of regulations and restrictions are imposed on our constitutional right to vote in this country. From my perspective, I’m being suppressed as an eligible voter in this country because I don’t have a voter registration that conforms to the obsolete two-party system we’ve had in this country for the last 240 years. Several amendments have been made to the constitution that have expanded voting rights to eventually equate to “one person, one vote” methodology where the below changes were passed in Congress.

  • 15th Amendment – “Race, color, or previous condition of servitude”
  • 19th Amendment – “On account of sex”
  • 24th Amendment – “By reason of failure to pay any poll tax” for federal elections
  • 26th Amendment – “Who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of age”

This is a history that spans 1870 to 1971 that punctuates periods of time where the American people demanded social change and the laws were changed to meet those demands. The problem that hasn’t been addressed is the ability of States to deny voter eligibility for other reasons provided they do not violate any of the above amendments. There in lies the issue I have in that I’m an able voter, not dissuaded by restrictions and regulations imposed on me, but have become angry at the injustice that exists to maintain what many regard as a broken two-party system. When local candidates register as both Democrat and Republican to reach the entire voter base (only Democrats and Republicans), there’s a major problem with the system as it currently exists at a local level.

Election reform in this country at any level is not unprecedented and certainly can be changed. That ability to change is what is driving me to start attempting the much-needed change required to make it a privilege to vote in this country again. So many Americans are jaded to the idea of voting because they are opposed to one or both candidates the two-party system has served up; its how we ended up with Trump as POTUS after all. The next few days I’m going to be writing to my state representatives and senators expressing my disappointment with the current system and offering up a few ideas on how it can be easily changed to allow a larger voter base. How can an elected official reject any idea that opens up more votes for their election/re-election activities? I’m also going to submit editorials to the local news papers, reach out to local radio stations and submit my experience anywhere I think it will reach even one person as that is how a grass-roots movement is started; with one person and an idea to make something better.

Sure, I can register as a Democrat again and all this nonsense would be irrelevant. That isn’t the point and would equate to my giving into their rigged system of voting and election laws. So many other countries have figured out that a two-party system doesn’t represent the people adequately anymore and have modernized their election systems to accommodate accordingly. Most Americans identify as Independents and therefore, most Americans don’t bother to vote as it’s been burned into their brains that their vote doesn’t count. That is a dangerous precedent and something that will just get worse if we don’t do anything to change the system now. What are we if we’re not able to exercise our basic democratic rights to vote for the representative we think can serve the people the best? We need reform and it will start with the people demanding change that more appropriately represents them as a whole. The two-party system is on life support, it just doesn’t work anymore.

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About Andrew (93 Articles)
I'm a middle aged tech geek with a passion for computers, technology, politics and all the bits in the middle between 0 and 1. I am what could be considered a moderate progressive and like to consider all sides of a debate before taking a position.

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