November 04, 2008


     Though I'm not a big endorser of Obama and I'm certainly not a person to vote for or against someone based on skin color, it sure is fun and exciting to watch history happen before my eyes. Major historical happenings usually aren't noticed until after they've happened. But today history happened nearly instantaneously. It is pretty cool.

Voting Reform

     Change. Change. Change. Change. That's all we heard from Presidential contenders John McCain and Barack Obama. While I don't necessarily support an all out overhaul on the United States of America, I certainly support a major overhaul on the way voting is done in this country. It is outdated and severely dysfunctional. With long, LONG lines reported today and already some problems with voting machines (for the THIRD election in a row), it's clear we need a new system for doing things. Here are a two simple ideas that could make the democratic process so much simpler and more accurate.

1) Why are polls open for only one day and for only a specific time bracket? With millions of voters in most states and tens of millions in some states, we need more time and resources to handle that kind of load. On tax day, some mail offices stay open until midnight so procrastinators can get their tax forms in on time. Why can't voting day be changed to voting week? Or at least maybe three days of voting. Also, they should be open for 24 hours (or at least until midnight). That way, all voters can get in on whichever day works best for them and/or show up at 3am when it is obviously going to be less busy. This should alleviate the long lines and problems effectively. At the very least, polls should be open later than 8pm today.

POSSIBLE ANSWER to why this won't work: If polls were open for three days or more, it's unclear to me what the media would do with early voting numbers and how that might affect voter turnout over the next couple of voting days. Also, I';m not sure the 24hour thing is a good idea. People voting at 3am are much more likely to be, shall we say, "not completely with it."

2) Electoral college is outdated and broken. I understand why the founding fathers "invented" the electoral college. This way, everyone's voice would be heard and votes from rural areas would be just as important as those from urban (more populated) areas and politicians would have to campaign to everyone and take matters of rural areas just as seriously as those of the big cities. Today, I think the electoral process does just the opposite.

Someone living in a small town in Minnesota does not have their vote counted or their voice heard. All that matters is how Minneapolis and a small handful of other large cities vote. If a candidate gets Mpls/St. Paul, he essentially gets all 10 electoral votes from MN. The population is so huge, it doesn't really matter how the rest of the state votes.
EXAMPLE: Let's say MN has roughly 4 million voters. If McCain were to get 2,000,001 votes in MN and Obama gets 1,999,999 votes, all 10 electoral votes from MN go to McCain. I call bullshit on this point. Essentially we've just disenfranchised half the voters in Minnesota.

SOLUTIONS: In today's age, with mass media (internet, 24 hour news stations, etc) at an unprecedented level in the history of man, the president should be elected by either straight-up popular vote, or at least have the electoral votes split up so that, as in the example above, McCain would get 5 electoral votes and Obama would get 5 . MUCH more fair if you ask me. Now the people on the iron range are being heard and counted.

I'd like to hear other ideas and opinions on this matter. I'm sure there are good reasons why my logic doesn't work, I just can't think of them. Please let me know why I'm wrong. Otherwise, someone start a national campaign to start voter reform.