The time to repair America's broken electoral system is now, not in the heat of an election cycle. While states run the actual voting—a process embarrassingly marred by partisan gamesmanship—the federal government has great latitude to create minimum, non-controversial standards for presidential and congressional elections.
In 2013, Congress should legislate the following reforms:
• Nationalize the voter registry. Create a non-partisan agency to establish and manage America's voter rolls. No state official shall have the power to arbitrarily purge thousands of voters under suspicious circumstances mere weeks before the election. And voters could be automatically registered when they get a drivers license, their registry would remain active when they move to a different state, etc.
• Standardize voter ID requirements. Voters in one state should not have to produce different forms of ID than those in other states.
• Standardize voting machines. All machines must produce a paper trail and none can run secret, proprietary software.
• Standardize early voting. Every American should have the same timeframe to vote in advance—including consistent rules for absentee ballots.
• Establish maximum wait times for voting lines. No one should have to wait in line longer than one hour to exercise their right to vote. Determine a minimum number of voting machines per thousand registered voters within a precinct. And provisional ballots should be handled the same way in every state.
• Criminalize voter fraud—for people voting under a false identity, as well as for elections officials and political operatives who conspire to suppress voting, produce false election information or attempt to interfere with the voting process.
Registering to vote and casting a ballot should be simple and transparent. Voting is our most sacred right and must no longer be abused by partisan politicians using banana republic tactics.
Reform America's election system now!
Los Angeles, CA
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