Archive

Young voters


Richard’s World
Fixing This Mess We’re In

They’ll never put me in charge. I know this. But humor me.

We have a mess in America right now. A REAL mess. We have a POTUS that has never held a job. Surprised at his leadership skills? I’m not. We have congressional leaders who don’t understand the meaning of Statesmanship. And they seem to have lost the concept of civil service and don’t understand the meaning of a citizen government. Our founding fathers wanted a citizen government – that would mean all citizens could run for office. Problem today is the average citizen can’t afford to run for office – especially against an entrenched incumbent who is beholden to special intereest groups and can raise big bucks to beat the little citizen with little financing.

We had a POTUS once name Roosevelt – FDR. A lot like the present one … he loved to redistribute the wealth, too. He was so popular with his giveaway programs, he got elected to four (4) terms as POTUS – poor guy died in his 4th term … guess it was too much for him. Some time after he died, some smart folks said, “Whoa, nobody should be POTUS for 4 terms. Let’s change that.”  Good idea, IMHO. They term limited the POTUS.

I think it is time to limit congressional terms, too. Too many of these folks are just too damn comfortable in their cushy positions. I say if term limits are good enough for the POTUS and America (It works), then so be it for Congress members.

That’s step #1. Now here’s Step #2.

I don’t advocate in Richard’s World more laws. I think we have enough laws. Plus, Congress should only be in session about 4 months of the year. Hell, Texas only meets every other year. The Texas Legislature meets in regular session on the second Tuesday in January of each odd-numbered year. The Texas Constitution limits the regular session to 140 calendar days. Do you see Texas falling apart? I didn’t think so.

But I will propose one more law. Ban political parties.

Just run if you want to run. If you lean right, left or center, if people want to get to know you, they’ll figure it out. So when election time comes, you see all of these names on the ballot. No party affiliation. You had better do your homework. Oh damn, problem here, I’m asking the dumb masses to think. But yep, that’s what I’m saying. If you’re going to vote, find out what the person stands for and not what their party stands for.

There is one slight problem with this “no party” idea and putting everyone on the ballot. Maybe you can help me figure out a solutions.

I’m afraid if the names are listed in alphabetical order, we’ll have a lot of members of Congress with last names that start with an “A” or “B”. I apologize to all of the people with names starting with letters low in the alphabet … you’ll probably never get elected. But hey, maybe one of you will come up with a solution.

Until next time,

Richard

Advertisements

The mid-term elections were held over two weeks ago and still, in some parts of the country, a winner has not been declared. Once again, expensive electronic voting machines (with no paper trail) are being called into question as to their accuracy. All the while, the fine people of Oregon are probably sitting around laughing at the rest fo the country and saying to themselves, “This voting process thing isn’t that complicated – in ain’t brain surgery.”

Why would they being saying this? Because since 1998, the entire state has been conducting their elections via a Vote by Mail system. The citizens of this great state (obviously very smart people) voted to do away with polling places and conduct all elections by mail. Brillant … and cost effective.  This system ends up costing taxpayers about 30 percent less than polling-place elections.

Every registered voter receives a paper ballot in the mail weeks before Election Day. The ballot can be either mailed back or dropped off at one of a number of secure sites statewide.

The system has proved to be fraud-free. Oregon is one of only two states in the nation to verify every single voter signature against the signature on that voter’s registration card. Their process is transparent and open to observation. Finally, the returned paper ballots, which are the official record of the election, can be recounted by hand.

A University of Oregon study conducted five years after the adoption of voting by mail statewide showed that 80 percent of voters across the political spectrum prefer it to voting at polling places. It’s a system that answers the needs of Americans who lead increasingly busy, complex lives, balancing many work and family responsibilities.

When will the rest of the states catch the clue bus and ask their citizens whether they would like to have a Vote by Mail system? I believe that most Americans would go for it. Why don’t more state legislators put this initiative up for a vote by their citizens? It ain’t brain surgery. Just do it.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and be safe out there. And don’t forget to remember all of the men and women in our Armed Services who will not be home for Thanksgiving … especially the ones who have paid the ultimate price with the giving of their life … Remember the Fallen Heros. Thank all of them for serving our country and for protecting our freedoms and way of life.

Richard


The mid-term elections are coming up next week and as recent trends suggest, voter turnout will be pathetic. Here in Georgia, the SOS office today predicted about a 40% turnout (why do they predict turnout? Does everyone think they are Jean Dixon?). I suspect the turnout in my state will be below that prediction. Seems people just don’t seem to care anymore. Too much trouble to vote, I reckon. Never has been to me, though. I like to complain about politicians and the state of government affairs so I figure if I vote, I get to complain whenever I wish – like this blog and this post.

One group of Americans that are voting less these days is young people. Voter turnout and interest in politics has declined among America’s youth since the early 1970s.  In presidential election years, for example, 18- to 20-year-old voter turnout has decreased from a high of 48 percent in 1972 to just 28 percent in 2000. In midterm congressional elections, turnout among the young is even worse, with only 20 percent of those younger than 25 bothering to show up at the polls. Compare these results with those for seniors, 65 percent of whom voted in 2000.

In 1960 almost 80 percent of Americans younger than 30 watched the Kennedy-Nixon debates, by 2000 less than 40 percent of this demographic tuned in to the first Bush-Gore debate. It seems the “political knowledge gap” between the young and old has been widening for almost two generations; indeed more and more of our youngest citizens are unaware of important political events and lack general political knowledge. And such knowledge is important for nurturing civic values and encouraging an active participation in politics. We need to teach our youth the important value of being politically engaged. Otherwise, we’re in trouble … and you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure this out.

We also need to make it more convenient to vote. Weekend voting would help. There are places that already do this and the turnout is better. Oregon only does voting by mail – seems like a great idea to me. Here in Gerogia (and I believe other states are doing this, too), any person can request an absentee ballot – no reason has to be given (I voted last week – cost me 2 stamps and saved me a lot of time). Plus, you can do early voting a week ahead of time – but you still have to go to the election office to do it – not such a great idea (IMHO). Why don’t politicians and legislators make it easier to vote? This ain’t brain surgery. Getting creative and coming up with new ways and means to improve systems is something the business community has been doing for centuries. Why don’t the decision makers at a national level get it? I think I know the answer. The less people who vote, the easier it is to manipulate the masses.

As Thomas Jefferson once stated:

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

 Go vote … it ain’t brain surgery.

Richard