By Richelle Wagner
I won’t bore you by going through a long explanation of how our current voting system is terrible. The two-party system, voting for the lesser of two evils, you get it already, we all do. We all feel fed up with the results of our representative democracy. We are both frustrated and confused about who our elected officials are. Do you know who represents you in your state’s House of Representatives? And if you do know their name, do you know their voting record? I don’t, and I was the communications director for a senate candidate. So, I’ve designed a voting system that makes things simpler and fairer.
1. Break down voting borders.
You should be able to vote for representation that fits your beliefs the best, no matter where they live. It shouldn’t be a problem if I live in Kansas and my favorite politician lives in Kentucky. Federal legislators are voting in the same place for laws that affect us all. In the age of the internet, the idea of representing a little district is antiquated. It’s unfair to those that hold minority political opinions. More options are better. Plus, districts are confusing. I assume you know what city, county, and state you live in. Get rid of districts and let people vote for their federal representative from anywhere in the country, a state representative who lives anywhere in the state, etc.
2. Give politicians power proportional to their popularity.
The number of votes a politician gets should directly correlate to how much voting power they have in congress. It shouldn’t be winner take all, that’s unfair to the losers. It would also fix the spoiler effect. If a candidate gets 1% of the vote in an election, they should get 1% of the voting power in the legislature.
Why should each politician be equal while having different levels of popularity and representing different numbers of citizens? Right now, representatives speak for citizens numbering anywhere from 1 million to 549 thousand. Senators represent anywhere from 39 million to 576 thousand. Regardless of how many votes they got, they all get one vote.
It’s a novel idea, but let’s move past the old way of one congressman, one vote. Let each politician’s vote be weighted by the number of citizens who voted for them. This would allow there to be a one-to-one relationship between how people vote in the election and how congress votes. Each voice would be heard and represented, no matter how their neighbors voted. Libertarians could get 5% of the voting power in congress if 5% of the voting population vote for libertarians. It’s clean and simple with no funny business. More people would vote because they would feel their votes matter.
3. Free for all primaries.
We can limit the number of congressmen by holding open, non-partisan elections. If we wanted to limit the size of congress to 100 we could simply limit the election day ballot to the top 100 vote-getters in the primary. We could use ranked-choice voting to ensure that every vote counted. A candidate that gets a fewer number of votes might still get a spot, though their voting power would be low.
4. Combine the bicameral legislature.
The number of politicians representing you should be reduced. You only need one for federal, one for the state, one for the county, and one for the city. This would mean getting rid of the bicameral legislatures. It was a way to balance power between the states that is now unnecessary. Americans no longer identify with their state (except for Texans and New Hampshirites) and don’t vote in line with state interests. The house and senate should be combined into one with each citizen’s vote counting equally. This, again, simplifies things while making them fairer.
5. Get rid of the president.
The legislature is supposed to be the only branch making laws, while the executive branch enforces them. We don’t need one man in charge of everything in case of emergencies. Cell phones exist, so congress could act quickly. Get rid of the president and let the legislature hire department heads directly.
6. Automatically remove politicians that break the constitution.
Politicians routinely vote for unconstitutional laws because there are no consequences. If it were a career-ending offense they would think twice before passing bills. Could you imagine if the supreme court ruled a law unconstitutional and all the politicians who voted for it were automatically removed from office? That sounds pretty great to me.
7. Combine taxes and elections.
Tax returns and your ballot should be combined into one form. Election day should be moved to tax day. The government could easily require that a citizen be a net taxpayer to vote. This would fix the problem of politicians competing for votes based on who promises to send bigger checks. Taxpayers realize that government money isn’t magical, it comes from somewhere. There would also be less worry about voter fraud.
Any organization can use these ideas.
These changes would require a constitutional amendment, and those are difficult to pass. Local governments might be able to change their voting system. Non-government organizations could institute these ideas as well. Are you a member of an organization that votes for leaders? Are your choices limited to who lives in your region? Are your dues separate from your ability to vote? Are there so many layers and such complicated rules that you aren’t even sure how it all works? Send them this article and suggest they streamline their voting system. If smaller institutions adopt these changes, the idea could catch on.
This doesn’t make voting moral.
Voting isn’t an appropriate way to justify violating the rights of anyone. Just because people lost an election doesn’t mean they should have to live under the dictates of others. But as long as we have a coercive government, improvements could be made.
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