Sunday, November 8, 2020

Soooo– What’s the Fix? Toward a More Accurate Union

by Pete Fasciano, Executive Director 11/08/2020

“So, what have we learned?” This is not a question. It’s that parental admonition you hear when you did something you were warned not to do – and you suffered for it. You touched that hot stove. You got a boo-boo. You cried. So, what have we learned? Admit it.  Our national election system is flawed.  It’s not perfect.

I write this on Saturday AM. It’s been 4 days and counting. We wait. Votes are being tallied with the greatest deliberation and care, as they should be. Why couldn’t we know the outcome on election night? Why would there be any discrepancy between the national popular vote (will-o-the people) and the electoral outcome (again)?

In the corridors of Congress there is a pertinent quip. Any law that creates a new wing in the offices of attorneys and accountants – is a bad law. In our quest for a more perfect union, we need to consider a more perfect Constitution. We have done this before – 33 times – with 27 realized in the form of Constitutional Amendments. Our first 10 Amendments as The Bill of Rights are revered every bit as deeply as the original Constitution itself.

We’ve even amended our Amendments when necessary. The 21st repealed the 18th after 14 years of prohibition. In that short span, the 19th gave women the vote. The 20th set the dates when the President and Congress begin and end their terms. The 22nd set Presidential term limits. Through its amendments, the Constitution is a living document that moves slowly yet ever persistently toward greater perfection.

Just as lawyers perfect business contracts with taut, unambiguous legal language, the Constitution itself needs additional perfection now and ten. Hence, amendments. Where contracts are limited by time or fulfillment, The Constitution has no sunset clause. Therefore, to continually perfect its relevance, it too needs maintenance.

The Constitution reserves to states those rights not expressly prescribed by the Federal government. That includes how states conduct their elections for state and federal office – governors, senators, representatives. These offices are voted by each state to serve that state. The President of The United States is different than any other political office. POTUS represents all of us equally, and should be elected by all of us through our individual votes applied in equal effect and measure.

So, given the anguish of these last two presidential elections – what have we learned?

What’s the fix? What are the things we should amend?
Our singularly national election of a President takes place among fifty separate statewide elections. The careful goal should be to harmonize the Presidential election across all states while not unduly abridging each state’s right to conduct its elections for other offices as it deems appropriate. There are things we can do.

Thing One:
We do not have to abolish the Electoral College outright. We just have to eliminate “Winner-Take-All” and apportion each state’s electors according to the popular vote in that state. This balances the power of the vote for all populations in all states. It benefits the people in those states that are deemed noncompetitive as solidly red or blue in presidential elections and which therefore receive less attention by major party candidates.  With “every vote equal”, the presidential and vice-presidential nominees and their organizations would campaign for every vote nationwide, rather than working key battleground states. The concentration of campaign resources, advertising, and candidate appearances in battleground states depresses voter turnout in fly-over states where candidates make few campaign appearances.

Thing Two:
Prepare, cure and count all legal mail-in and absentee ballots timely. Mailed ballots must be cast prior to a federally prescribed uniform deadline – postmarked 7 days prior to Election Day. Ballots may also be submitted by hand to ballot boxes or to election officials up to the closing hour of the election. This is a balanced approach that ensures the inclusion of legal mail-in votes in the Election Day tally. It does not abridge the option to cast a ballot by drop-box-or in person on Election Day. It enables every state a consistent set of national ground rules to provide a timely, accurate national count. It has no material effect on votes for statewide offices.

Thing Three:
To qualify for the Office of the President or Vice-President, a prospective candidate must first serve for a minimum of a full term in statewide elected office, specifically as a governor, a senator or a representative. This requirement ensures that beyond money and celebrity, all presidential candidates bring a modicum of political and legislative wisdom to this most important role as the leader of the free world.

Craft, perfect and pass the above things as an Amendment. The Constitutionality could not ever be called into question because an Amendment becomes integral to the Constitution, the one thing that strives to move us all toward perfection.

Having offered one view, this floor is open to other suggestion. What would you do? 

And – as always –
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Soooo– What’s the Fix? Toward a More Accurate Union
Soooo– What’s the Fix? Toward a More Accurate Union

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