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The Expansionist
Monday, November 03, 2014
Evil Country: Turnout Determining Elections
The pretense that the United States is a democracy will be tested tomorrow. Everyone knows that if the U.S. had mandatory voting, the national Republican Party would be decisively defeated every time. But we face the prospect that this perpetual minority will gain complete control of Congress because we do not HAVE a democracy of the WHOLE, but only of the PART, the part of the population that votes. Alas, everyone has to live with the consequences of our rotten, imitation-democracy.
We need to require that everyone eligible to vote DOES vote, or pays a substantial fine — say, $1,000 — and loses the right to vote for at least one year thereafter. A second violation should result in a $5,000 fine and five-year ban on voting. If needed, a third violation should result in a $10,000 fine and a lifetime ban on voting.
Some 22 other countries have ACTUAL democracies, in which EVERYONE is REQUIRED to vote. Employers in the United States should be encouraged to fire or refuse to hire anyone who does not vote. People unwilling to assume even the tiny, trivial responsibility of voting at most once a year cannot be entrusted with any responsibility of any kind.
I say "once a year" (which is a maximum in which general elections are ever held pretty much anywhere in this country) because the primary election system MUST BE ABOLISHED. It is another aspect of our phony 'democracy', in which the minority imposes upon the majority every time.

Cover of a book that discusses, in part, the unrepresentative, imitation-democracy of the
United States.

School elections and other special elections should also not count in mandatory voting, because people who do not have children in school rarely keep themselves informed of school-board candidates and issues, and probably should not be making decisions for the people who do.
We should also consider banning nonpartisan elections, instead to require every candidate to declare his or her party identification, or inclination toward supporting the principles of, one or the other of the major parties, two in number in most areas, altho there are more than two major parties in some places.
If we do abolish the outrageously unrepresentative primary-election system, people need not register as a Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, or whatever. But people who run for office have an obligation to let people know where they stand in the political spectrum, by declaring their party identification as will guide potential voters as to what they can expect on a broad range of issues.

Still, the basic issue in creating a real democracy in this benited country, with its wildly unrepresentative major parties, is to require everyone to vote. But we need as well a BINDING "None of the Above" option, such that people turned off by the named candidates can vote "a plague on both your houses", and refuse to endorse anyone. If "None of the Above" garners more votes than any named candidate, ALL named candidates must be regarded as defeated, and a new election, with all new named candidates, must be held. I suspect that one such second-round general election will be enuf to impress the various parties with the fact that the voters are DISGUSTED with the choices presented to them.
As to how candidates would be chosen for a second-round election, we should be very free in permitting anyone at all (who is a registered voter) to place him- or herself on the ballot simply by asking. Modern voting machines can list dozens or even hundreds of candidates. Especially can Internet voting sites list hundreds of candidates, and many jurisdictions now permit Internet voting.
No petitions, no forfeitable deposit, no requirement but asking. There are many barriers to ballot access all over this country, which are intended not to give us the best candidates, but just to continue a major-party stranglehold upon the political process. The people don't WANT their options limited to the 'approved' party candidates. They want maximal choice. But they need information on which to judge the qualifications of the various candidates.

This inscription in a book states plainly that a primary election in which the author lost involved only a tiny proportion of eligible voters. The primary system has DESTROYED our "democracy", and given us perpetual minority rule.

All jurisdictions, all election districts, need textual information about all candidates. Such texts could be hardcopy, in a brochure mailed to all registered voters, or electronic, on the Internet (or, of course, both). Electronic is cheap, and should duplicate the hardcopy version. A disinterested organization, such as the governmental Board of Elections or the League of Women voters, could generate a set of questions that every candidate would be asked. Their answers would be published in a printed brochure and/or on a well-publicized website. (Internet-only might be the only practical way to get such materials to the public in a second-round — or even third-round — general election necessitated by public rejection of named candidates in time for a given governmental post to be filled in time for the beginning of the term.)
What, you may wonder, would happen if the people continue to reject the named candidates every election. That's a very good question, that deserves a very good answer: no one takes office until SOME named candidate polls more votes than "None of the Above". I don't care if it takes 45 general elections before the most arrogant party gives in and finally accepts that the people WILL NOT ACCEPT unacceptable candidates. Wise party leaders will put forward reasonable candidates. Unwise leaders should find themselves out of power.
The sample ballot sent out in advance of every election would bear the URL of the questionnaire-answers website. Pretty much everyone has Internet access, if not at home, then at their local public library.
Whatever it takes, we need to end the Tyranny of Turnout. Democracy requires that the majority rules, every time. Turnout must NEVER reverse the results of any election.

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