I just returned from dropping off my early mail-in ballot at the local City Council Ward 6 Office. Today is the last day in Arizona for early voting. I was shocked how many people were waiting in line to vote or dropping off completed early ballots. About 25 or so people were waiting in the noon-day sun to vote--before election day. Nina Trasoff, our local city council representative, and her staff were busily putting out chairs to keep the voters comfortable. Nice touch.
When my brother and I were kids, I can remember waiting in line in bad weather (in Ohio) with my mom when she went to the polls after work. It's great that we now have early voting in person and by mail-in ballot.
Now, let's get the rest of the voting hassles and barriers out of the way! I heard on NPR that the US has the most constrictive, convoluted voting system of any democracy in the world (ie, voting on a weekday, requiring registration in advance, requiring identification, challenges to voter registration, etc.) For example, Here are some items that I believe should be changed.
1) Do away with the electoral college.
2) Standardize voting procedures. It's absurd that in some states counties make the voting rules. Come on, people, can't we agree on nationwide procedures? Other countries can!
3) Make paperless voting systems illegal.
4) Make your birth certificate your voter registration. I heard Michael Moore on Democracy Now today. He said that everyone born in Canada is automatically registered from day 1. Seems like a simple idea that would actually save a lot of money. Only naturalized citizens would have to be registered.
5) Mandate shorter campaigns! In most countries, they campaign for 6-8 weeks. Why do we need 2 years?
6) Make campaigns publically financed... period.
Regarding next Tuesday, all I've got to say is, "Si, se puede!"
Image credit: I love this illustration of Obama. I saw it on the Free Will Astrology website. Here is the blurb about the illustration: "Artist Scott Siedman created this painting of Barack Obama, titled 'The Man from Illinois,' as a tribute to this extraordinary candidate. By placing him within the traditional American "heartland" mythologies, he celebrates Obama as a son of the Midwest, linked in metaphor to the land, to books, and to the possibility of connecting to Lincoln's 'angels of our better nature.' Prints are available at firstname.lastname@example.org."