Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Independent Election Reform Platform

As Independents we are not convinced that we can rely on the Big Two parties for correcting the mess they have gotten us in to. Fixing democracy is vital and must be implemented to increase citizen involvement in solving the issues of war, immigration, health care, environment, education, trade, etc.

Here are ten key points of our national Election Reform platform. We are asking all presidential and congressional candidates to pledge their support...

1. Uniform Ballot Access for federal candidates. Rather than candidates for president having 51 different rules for making the ballot, we make the criteria the same throughout the land. That means those running for Senate and House also have the same criteria in each state.

2. Loosen Third Party Ballot Restrictions. Force states to untie ballot access to past election results. Without fair ballot access in place now, the thresholds to become a recognized third party are too difficult to achieve (by design of the Big Two). Currently only 37 states have at least one recognized third party and that changes based on election results.

3. Universal Voter Registration. Legislation has already been passed that will require government standardized identification cards which should be acceptable to election officials to allow anyone who shows up at the right precinct on Election Day to vote on-the-spot whether registered or not.

4. Extended Election Day. Either hold elections on weekends or move it to a holiday like Columbus Day in October.

5. Equal Media Access for third party contenders to include broadcast time and inclusion in the debates.

6. Institute Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) which allows voters to rank their choices. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote – over 50% - then the lowest number of first place votes is eliminated and the votes are recounted for how many second place votes came in. This continues until a candidate is declared a winner of a majority.

7. Secure the Vote - Ensure the security of our voting instruments whether it is via a papertrail or some better method. Six years after the Florida debacle and we still do not have secure voting machines – considering the fact that electronic machines are subject to manipulation.

8. Public Campaign Financing - Instituting a fair and equitable method of public campaign financing reduces the taxpayer burden. Here's how: It costs the country more now under the current system that forces candidates to raise exorbitant sums of money from corporate and private donors (read: elitists). The winner is then beholden to the group of financiers that paid for that victory which creates a corrupt system of paybacks and legislation that raids our Treasury – at an enormous cost to the real owners of our country – the people.

9. Direct Election of the president. Get rid of the Electoral College.

10. Voting Rights in congress for the citizens of the federal District of Columbia.
written by Joseph Oddo, National Director.