An interesting post by Eming Piansay on the Youth Outlook website today described how confusing this whole primary election process is with the delegates and the super-delegates. “You need to have a BA in political science to be able to explain the process,” she says. Seems like the regular old popular vote really doesn’t make a difference when you’ve got a delegate system like ours. The electoral college does the same thing in the general election, so we have that to look forward to in November.
If we could do away with the damn delegates/super-delegates and electoral college, then the popular vote, the will of the people, would really count for something.
Even before that happens, there are changes that I think could be made immediately that would have an impact on increasing voter turnout and getting more people engaged in politics.
First: Allow for same day voter registration. Why have all these confusing dates and deadlines for registering? Yes, it would mean more work for people working at the polling sites as they would have to process paper work and all that. But that’s a small price to pay for strengthening democracy. All you ever hear about is how terrible our voter turnout rates are and how apathetic and lazy the young people are. People stay away from the polls because the process is so damn confusing. Same day registration would go along way towards increasing voter turnout and making it easier for people to exercise their political will.
Second: Abolish all of the restrictions against ex-prisoners having the right to vote. Some states actually have lifetime bans against anyone who has done some time in prison. These folks are not allowed to vote for the rest of their lives! This is straight up disenfranchisement. Seeing as how most people in prison are Black and Latino, and those two groups have been shown to vote overwhelmingly Democratic in the past, its no wonder that felony disenfranchisement is always supported by Republicans.
Third: Make voting mandatory. Yeah, I said it. A lot of other democratic countries do this. What would be the argument against it? Taking away people’s choice to vote? Seeing as how our whole political system is dependent on people voting, I don’t see how making voting a mandatory part of living in America would be such a bad thing. It wouldn’t be about punishing people for not voting, it would be about making voting a norm in society. Countries that have mandatory voting have around a 90% voter turnout rate, compared to our rates that are usually between 20%-40%.