One issue which would have a wide base of support is fair elections. To be fair, elections must be auditable, voting must be equally avialable to all citizens, and the choice of citizens must be respected.
The election integrity movement seeks to ensure voting rights for all citizens and fair, accurate elections that truly reflect the will of the people. A primary concern of election integrity is the use of electronic voting systems, and the need for all voters to be able to verify that their ballot is being recorded and counted as cast. Election integrity is sometmes known as the "e-voting" movement.
With roots in other civil rights and voting rights ideals, the election integrity movement had its earliest beginnings in the 1970s and 1980s when concerns about the security and accuracy of electronic voting became apparent. The movement gained many supporters as a response to the troubled US presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 which were marred by statistical anomalies, inconclusive results, and reports of disenfrachised voters in several states. Mandates of the federal Help America Vote Act, passed in 2002, resulted in new voting systems being purchased throughout the United States. Many of these systems were "direct recording electronic" devices which provided no means for voters to be certain that their intended votes were being counted accurately.
Working against incredible pressure from voting machine vendors and the deadlines imposed by the Help America Vote Act, grassroots election integrity groups began to spring up in numerous states to fight for the right of voters to verify their ballot. To date these groups have succeeded in getting passage of legislation providing for voter-verified paper records or ballots in over 25 states.
Ongoing concerns of the election integrity movement include the need for auditing all elections, and the need for pollworkers and pollwatchers to monitor and document election data and ongoing reports of problems with voting systems every time voters go to the polls.
Some of the leading national election integrity organizations include VoteTrustUSA.org, VerifiedVoting.org, and VotersUnite.org . There are dozens of state and local election integrity organizations, many of which are affiliated with one or more of the above groups.
The United States uses a system known as the Electoral College to elect the President and Vice-President. In this system, the general election does not elect these offices directly, but rather votes are used by the state to apportion electors to the electoral college. The number of electors provided by each state is equal to the number of Senators (two per state) plus the number of Congress members for the state in the House of Representatives (proportional to the population of the state). It is up to the state to decide whether to assign electors proportionately to the popular vote or in a winner-take-all manner, as well as whether electors are required to vote as assigned.
- Many residents of rural areas believe that the Electoral College is a must. If it weren't for this, rural states might feel that they were being ignored in favor of more densely-populated states.
- The Electoral College was put in place to ensure that state governments have power over the federal government.
- The electoral college system was designed in a time when communications technology made direct elections unwieldy, which is no longer the case. For this reason, some believe that the Electoral College no longer serves a useful purpose.
- Many people question the legitimacy of a President who loses the popular vote, but wins the presidency in the Electoral College, or in the case of no Electoral College majority, in the House of Representatives.
- Although less populous States are represented by a smaller portion of the Electoral College, they actually have more votes per capita, resulting in their individual votes being weighted more heavily than those from more populous states.
Alternatives to the Electoral CollegeEdit
Advances in technology and communication have made new alternatives available to large nations like the United States.
Automatic runoff elections are used in so many more developed democracies. This system improves the clarity of voter intention, and weakens the two-party system, which forces voters to choose the lesser of two evils, by allowing voters to choose a third party without feeling that they are "throwing their vote away".
Another position is that our election process should be "scrapped" in favor of internet-based voting. All money should be banned from the election process. Government-sponsored websites should support the candidates. Their views on the issues would be posted on these websites for all to see. Anyone could run for office and no money would be required. Since there would (most likely) be MANY candidates, primaries would have to be multi-level, with each level eliminating half of the competition. This would weaken the current two-party system in the United States and allow for a greater degree of direct democracy.
While making voting easier for those who use the internet frequently, particularly younger generations, it would surely result in the disenfranchisement of voters who do not have computers and/or internet access at home, and those who do not have the computer skills to easily access such systems. Government programs and subsidies to ensure that all voters have the access and the skills to use such a system would be prerequisites for this proposal.