ELECTION  REFORM  and  a  BETTER  VOTING  SYSTEM:
 
  n Remove the barriers to access to ballots:
Remove the barriers that are preventing and making it very difficult for other candidates (e.g. independent or 3rd party candidates) to get names onto voting ballots.  Our current 2 party system (i.e. Democrats and Republicans) is failing us with its extremely lengthy, shallow campaigns which require an ever-escalating amount of money to win public office.  And, often  at best, the votes of only 25% of the eligible voters is required to win (i.e. since there is usually less than 50% voter participation) This is a serious problem, and such barriers are a violation of the constitution, and it is severely limiting our choices of candidates by only a few with access to wealth and power.  NOTE:  About 122 million people (of the 200 million eligible voters) voted in the 2004 presidential election.
 
  n Reform the Election Process:
The ideological basis of our democratic republic is to provide for an orderly change of government allowing the people to choose those that will best represent them.  That's the theory, but it is far different in reality.  Some simple changes are needed to level the playing field for all candidates, and end unfair and dangerous influences by only a few people that abuse their vast wealth and power.
Limit political contributions from any entity (e.g. person, corporation, organization, etc.), per year, to 1% of the average American annual income.  Regulation of political contributions is allowed by the Constitution. Unfortunately, the courts have decided that political contributions can not be banned entirely, but can be regulatedTherefore, contribution limits should not be so large that the wealthy and corporations carry more influence than the individual voter (as it is now, and is obviously unfair to the average voter).
Only allow contributions by American citizens. Prohibit contributions from corporations, PACs, Unions, and other organizations.
No candidate may spend their own money in excess of the average American annual income;  otherwise, a very wealthy person could conceivably buy an election, and control the media, news, propaganda, etc.
All donations must be deposited into a single fund managed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that:
(
a)  disperses donations to the intended recipients.
(
b)  enforces donation laws and restrictions (e.g. enforce annual donation limits, enforce restrictions of donations only originating from American citizens or 100% owned corporations, and enforce other laws governing elections, etc.)
(
c)  disperses donations above the permitted limits (if any), equally, between all registered candidates;  there is no need to disclose the identity or source of donations, since only American citizens and 100% American owned corporations or organizations can make political donations, and everyone is limited to the same annual maximum of 1% of the average American annual income; 
NOTE:
  The FEC must disclose to all contributors that all amounts above the established 1% limit of the average American annual income is dispersed equally to all registered candidates.
Make it illegal for candidates to public office or government employees to solicit or accept money, gifts, favors, or future promises of any kind (above and beyond the allowed limit)
Also, make it illegal for any family member, group or organization to solicit or accept money or gifts, or spend funds on the behalf of a candidate for office or government employee.
Government should not be for sale. When money enters the election process, it is rotten. Peddling influence represents a flagrant conflict of interest, and must be eliminated. Conviction for violating this law would also forfeit the employee's government pension (if any). 
Make it illegal for government office holders or employees to accept outside employment during their employment by the government.
Prohibit all government employees or office holders, for two years after leaving government employment, from accepting employment with any government contractor or sub-contractor,  government consultant, lobbyist position, etc.
All candidates for office will be provided some free and equal media time during the election campaign (including print, radio, television, etc.).  Remove the big money that allows only some to control the newspapers, radio stations and TV stations.  Election statistics show that in over 90% of elections, the candidate that spends the most money wins
Hold elections on a week-end  and/or  declare important election days a national holiday.
End voter-registration.  Instead, all eligible voters should use a secure form of identification, such as biometrics
When each voter submits their vote(s), they will receive a computer printed slip of paper with a randomly generated number that can be used to find a record of their vote in a publicly listed record of all votes (e.g. on the internet, telephone, news paper, etc.).  This will preserve anonymity, reduce election fraud, and provide a public record of each election.
Make it illegal to start campaigning before a certain date prior to an election, so that all candidates have equal campaign time, so that campaigns will be less time consuming, and less costly to the tax payers.
Remove the straight-ticket voting lever (or button) in all voting machinesVoting machines should not be promoting party-only voting.
Remove and prohibit the party affiliation via names and symbols (e.g. Democrat, Independent, Republican, etc.) next to the names of all candidates
 
  n Prohibit Gerrymandering:
    Prohibit Gerrymandering, in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are manipulated for an electoral advantage and to  disadvantage electoral opponents.
       
  n Term-Limits:
    Voters, if they wish, can impose immediate term-limits by merely not re-electing incumbent politicians.  Voters could immediately eliminate the few truly bad career politicians that remain in office as long as they keep bringing home the pork.  Unfortunately, too many voters are too easily bribed (ironically, with the voters' own money).   So, a large part of the problem is the slumbering electorate.  Currently, irresponsible incumbent politicians will never voluntarily pass such a law imposing term-limits,  or any badly-needed, common-sense reforms that may reduce their power, opportunities for self-gain, or reduce the security of their cu$hy, coveted seats of power.    Since irresponsible incumbent politicians will never voluntarily pass a law for term-limits (among many other badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms), they deserve to have term-limits imposed:
         
      for the very same reasons that there are term-limits on the office of president;
      because most (if not all) incumbents are currently irresponsible and unaccountable;
      because too many irresponsible incumbent politicians have acquired concentrated power and wealth and are extremely difficult to oust, due to numerous unfair incumbent advantages that they have given to themselves;
      because too many irresponsible incumbent politicians always outnumber incoming newcomers to congress, and will not allow newcomers to pass any badly-needed, common-sense reforms either;
because voters apathy, complacency, and despair is a fact of life;  therefore voters need something to help eliminate irresponsible, incumbent career politicians (i.e. term-limits);
Some people will say it causes the loss of good politicians (if there is such a thing), but the high re-election rate of incumbents also keeps good politicians from ever getting into Congress.
because tenure corrupts (more about Term-Limits)
However, we have a Catch-22.  Since irresponsible incumbent politicians will never voluntarily pass many badly-needed, common-sense reforms, it is now up to the voters.  Stop repeat offenders.  Don't re-elect irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians !
       
  n A Better Voting System: 
We need more choices.  Perhaps a new voting system would help produce more choices, and yield a more Democratic voting system.  Perhaps something similar to the  Approval Voting System.  The "Approval Voting" is a system in which voters can place vote(s) for multiple candidates. The single candidate receiving the most approval votes wins the election. This simple change could have a profound and positive impact on elections. This system provides several benefits:
provides more choices, which
increases voter turnout, and
can provide better representation for minorities, and
increases chances of the strongest candidate, and
eliminates the "Spoiler Effect"  and  "Wasted Vote Syndrome" , and
reduces negative campaigning, and
focuses more on issues than geographical areas
More about Approval Voting:
   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approval_voting
   http://www.approvalvoting.org/ 
   http://www.approvalvoting.org/books.html
   http://bcn.boulder.co.us/government/approvalvote/center.html
 
  n Abuse of Wealth to Control Government:

Some of the changes (above) may require changes to the Constitution, but the Constitution is not written in stone, and government should not be for sale.  Graft, bribery, influence peddling, and unfair influence by some that abuse vast wealth and power should not be legalThe purpose of the Constitution is to ensure that the government is Of the People, By the People, For the People.  Power should not be vested in the scepter of a few with vast wealth;  it should remain in the hands of the people.  How is that possible, if a few with vast wealth and power have a louder voice than the people?   Thus, campaign finance must be addressed.  Offices of government should not be sold to the highest bidder.  Only 5% of the wealthiest have 59.01% of all wealth.  10% of the wealthiest have 70.45% of all wealth.  But 90% of average citizens (with only 29.55% of all wealth) can not compete with the other wealthier 10%.  This gives rise to an elitist government, and this may be why many in government do not really want to address the following:
 
campaign finance reform
government for sale, influence peddling, lobbying by wealthy special interest groups & corporations, and the unfair influence of vast wealth
reform of the tax system, and the numerous tax loopholes and tax shelters that primarily benefit the wealthy
the National Debt;  after all, who is collecting the interest ?
Being wealthy is not a crime, but using it to control government should be.  Already,  83% of all federal election campaign donations (of $200 or more) come from a mere 0.15% (only 300,000 people) of all 200 million eligible U.S. voters.  That's right.  That is not a misprint.  A mere 0.15%  of all 200 million eligible U.S. voters made 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more).  What chance does the remaining 99.85% of the remaining eligible U.S. voters have against some that abuse  concentrated wealth and power to control government One way is to STOP re-electing, rewarding, and empowering irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way incumbent politicians.   It's that simple.  Just do the one simple, common-sense, non-partisan, responsible thing that voters were supposed to be doing all along, always: 
 
x
  Stop  repeat  offenders.
x  Don't  re-elect  irresponsible,  bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way  incumbent  politicians !
     
  Wealth Distribution of Total Net Wealth in the U.S. (Year: 1998):



NOTE:  Median wages have been falling since 2000, and the gap between the 1% of the U.S. population (with 40% of all wealth, and growing) and the remaining 99% of the U.S. population has never been worse since the Great Depression of 1929.



There are two classes in the United States. One class derives concentrated power from its concentrated wealth. The other class has power only in numbers, and that power is largely ineffective due to their inability to mobilize through organization (such as merely organizing to not  keep re-electing irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians).

 

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