Can We Please Stop the Bullshit, Election 2018 Edition

Can We Please Stop the Bullshit?

I am beyond fucking tired of every bit of partisan bullshit regarding out electoral process. To be sure, the vast majority of the bullshit, as usual, exists on the GOP side of things, but that’s only because they’re the ones that are on the losing end of so many types of vote these days. Let’s go over this bullshit, from top to bottom,, starting two years ago:

The 2016 Presidential

  • No, ‘all the polls’ weren’t wrong. No polls that I saw said Trump couldn’t win- just that it was unlikely. And it was. Less than 100,000 well-placed votes across the Midwest flipped the election. But for a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of folks who, for once, decided to do something other than climb the Mountains of Busch[TM], we would be hip-deep in Pantsuit Nation.
  • Yea, the Electoral College is un-democratic, and in our modern age in which state sovereignty neither exists nor matters near as much, it is wholly anachronistic. That said, it is one of the reasons why we have a country right now. Think about the original colonies, pre-Constitution. If you’re a tiny state like Rhode Island, why would you give up a significant portion of your soverienghty knowing that you have essentially zero electoral power? The Electoral College is the negotiation between the bigs and the smalls that meant they wouldn’t get steamrolled. It sucks, sure. We could be living in significantly different times if the 2000 and 2016 elections go differently. You know what we could have done, though? We could have ignored Trump’s bullshit and appealed to the hundred-million or so apathetic non-voters by having some sort of vision beyond “non-Trump”.
  • Trump lost the popular vote by a bigger margin than any candidate who has ever won the EC. Republicans lost seats in both the House and the Senate. The tide has already turned.
  • The 2018 Midterms

  • Peak voter suppression: Voter ID, purging of voter rolls, disenfranchisement of the homeless and Native Americans, inequal voting conditions (longer lines and bigger issues in more Democratic-leaning areas), mail-in ballots being denied due to ‘signature mismatch’ (which skews toward throwing out younger (Democratic) voters’ ballots)…
  • Peak Hypocrisy: Florida Republicans call out Democratic competitors for not conceding while the legally specified recounts are performed. GOP lawyers talking shit about how “There’s no Constitutional right to having your voted counted, then recounted twice”… Nope, just Florida law. And, guys, the whole idea is to make sure that all of the votes have been counted at least once. ButI get ityou guys don’t really care about votes being counted as long as you’re in the lead.
  • Peak Fucking Florida: In Broward County, the recount numbers were turned in 2 minutes late, rendering them void. While bitching about it, the official in charge of getting the vote in says he didn’t know how to use the website to submit them. Is this real life?
  • Nancy Pelosi acting like anyone beyond her family wants her as Speaker.
  • Mitch ‘Don’t Call Me Turtle’ McConnell tweeted about whether the Democrats were going to work with them, or just play ‘partisan politics’, as if Republicans have done any-fucking-thing else since like, well, 2006 or so? Hey Mitch? What do you call not bringing Merrick Garland up for a vote? Was that working with Democrats? Or was that ‘partisan politics’?
  • Show Me the Future

    So, here’s the deal: Our voting is a damn mess. Between voter suppression nightmares, gerrymandering, our garbage non-ranked voting system, and repeated counting issues, I feel like our faith in elections has declined rapidly in the past decade.

    We need to revitalize our electoral process from top to bottom.

    First, we need to make it mandatory that everyone gets registered to vote as a high-school graduation requirement. There is zero reason to not do this.

    Second, we need to change the way we vote. The ‘vote for one candidate’ option does nothing but prop up our failed two-party system by turning every non-D or R vote into a ‘wasted’ vote. Either ‘Approval Voting’ for simplicity or ‘Ranked Voting’ for complete voter control should be the default.

    Third, we need to forever banish the idea of gerrymandering. We either need to go with computer-generated districts that are then approved by a majority of each of the two major parties at the state level, or we need to run with full I-cut-you-pick to create districts. We have two years before redistricting begins. This needs to be a priority.

    Fourth, if your state requires voter ID, it needs to be free and it needs to be accessible to every legal voter. This means that states need to take drastic steps to make sure that no one gets left behind.

    Fifth, we need to make sure that everyone has a quality voting-day experience. We can’t have surburban voters walking in and out in ten minutes, voting on brand-new equipment, when you have hours-long lines at urban polling locations, voting on machines that were outdated when I was still young. It is embarrassing that we have such obvious segregation in our polling locations in 2018.

    Lastly, we need a far better way to vote- a way to create transparency and security- to create confidence. I’m not going to get into the programming side, because I lack that skill, but imagine this system:

    You fill out your paper ballot. It goes into the scanner after you vote, and the scanner prints out a ‘receipt’ of your voting session, complete with your ‘confirmation number’. As the votes are tallied, the results are loaded to the state website, and they are tied to your confirmation number. You can go to the site at your leisure, type in your ‘confirmation number’ and verify that your votes are in the system and correct. If they are not, there is a procedure to appeal your vote. Mail-in voting would be done by sending out a ballot with the code pre-printed on it. You can log in with the code, vote, and then send in your paper copy as a back-up.

    Such a system certainly would require some doing, but it would provide a huge increase to voter confidence, and that on its’ own would likely increase turn-out.

    TLDR:

    We need to invest in our electoral process to help insure the health of our Republic.

    We need to be as inclusive as possible to create a truly representative government.

    We need to stop cheating for political gain.

    We need to let people vote for who they think is really the best option, while still making sure their vote makes a difference.

    We need to make sure everyone’s vote is counted, and we need to make sure everyone can verify their vote has been counted.

    We simply cannot allow win-at-all-costs to be the rule of the day when it comes to the direction of our nation.

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