Voters Bill of Rights
Global Exchange newsletter, Winter
Provide a Paper Trail for Touch-Screen
Every touch-screen voting machine in the
U.S. must produce and store a voter-verified paper record and
use open source coding tested by an independent agency before
and during the election to guarantee transparency.
Create Independent, Non-Partisan and Transparent
Officials in charge of administering elections
should not be party affiliated, running for another office, or
publicly supporting any candidates. Electoral commissions at all
levels of government should be independently financed and free
of control by any political party. Administrators can increase
voter confidence by inviting non-partisan domestic and international
observers to evaluate all aspects of voting procedures.
Celebrate Our Democracy: Election Day
as a National Holiday!
Working people should not be forced to
choose between standing in a long line to vote and getting to
work on time. Holding national elections on a national holiday
will increase the number of available poll workers and potentially
increase turnout by making it easier for working Americans to
go to the polls.
Maximize Voter Access
Many citizens are discouraged from voting
by bureaucratic hurdles. Registration forms should be simplified,
so no one is disenfranchised for failing to check a superfluous
box, as occurred in Florida, or for not using heavy enough paper,
as occurred in Ohio. All states should join Minnesota in allowing
citizens to register on Election Day itself. To avoid long waits,
all states must provide more early voting and Election Day polling
Count Every Vote!
To encourage participation, voters must
know that their vote will count. Voting precincts should be adequately
staffed with sufficiently trained personnel and professional supervision;
old and unreliable voting machines should be replaced; absentee
ballots must be sent with sufficient time; and provisional ballots
should count for state and federal contests regardless of where
the vote is cast.
The permanent disenfranchisement of former
felons, a practice that falls outside of international or even
U.S. norms, creates subcategories of citizenship. There are over
four million American citizens in this category, particularly
African American males. States that permanently disenfranchise
felons Florida, Virginia, Nebraska, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa,
Arizona, and Alabama - should amend their to restore full citizenship
Implement Instant Runoff Voting
Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) allows voters
to rank candidates in order of preference (first, second, third
choice) and if no candidate gets a majority of first choices,
a runoff can be conducted without the need for a second election.
IRV gives voters the opportunity to vote
for those candidates they like the most without worrying that
their vote will help candidates they like least. Instant runoff
voting has been used successfully by Ireland to elect its president
and by San Francisco to elect its board of supervisors.
Provide Public Financing for Elections
and Equal Air-Time
In a system where the amount a candidate
spends is directly related to the likelihood of success, it is
not surprising that voters think politicians care only about big
campaign contributors. We need to establish full public financing
of campaigns and free access to public airwaves. Broadcasters
must carry debates and provide free time for all candidates and
parties as a license requirement to use our public airwaves.
Ensure Third Party Candidates Easier Access
to the Ballot and Debates
Third parties face a host of barriers,
from getting on the ballot to being included in debates. Prohibitive
ballot access requirements should be dropped and debates should
be open to all ballot-qualified candidates.
Abolish the Electoral College
It's time to make all votes equal, no
matter where the voter lives. The president should be elected
by direct, popular vote. Since a constitutional amendment to abolish
the Electoral College is infeasible, we should set our sites on
amending their state laws to proportionally award their electors.
Reforming the Electoral Process