In my last blog, Where Do We Go from Here?, I submitted that in order “to fix our democracy we must protect and expand the freedom to vote…” I suggested that would require at least these eight elements:
- The right of all citizens to vote and have their votes counted,
- Open primaries where everyone can vote regardless of party affiliation,
- The elimination of gerrymandering,
- The elimination of voter suppression efforts,
- Ranked choice voting (For an explanation of this process, see https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/LSB/LSB10837.)
- A Required minimum of 14 days of early voting all across the country,
- Easy access to drop boxes for voting in all districts, and
- Elimination of the Electoral College and the adoption of the national popular vote for president and vice president.
Since establishing all these reforms would take a great deal of time and resources, I asked my blog followers to prioritize the two or three they thought would be most likely to gain the greatest popular support and be achieved in the near term.
Though I did not receive enough responses to make any statistically relevant conclusions, the right of all citizens to vote and the elimination of voter suppression efforts were the two goals that people rated the highest. While the elimination of the Electoral College along with the institution of the national popular vote for president was also a priority, they are much more difficult to accomplish. Thus, less likely to be implemented any time soon.
Achieving the goals of establishing the right of all citizens to vote and eliminating voter suppression efforts would go a long way toward creating a level playing field in our elections. Making them top priorities in their 2024 platform would give Democratic candidates a clear advantage.
Ninety-five percent of both Democrats and Republicans believe “it is important that people who are legally qualified to vote are able to cast a ballot” according to a July 2021 Pew Research Center survey.
At the same time, Democrats support making it easier for people to vote by a very wide margin over Republicans. Eighty-five percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say everything possible should be done to make voting easy. By contrast, just 28% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents say everything possible should be done to make voting easy.
American democracy continues to be under attack by Trump and his followers. The future of our democracy will again be a critical issue in the 2024 election. Protecting the right to vote is central to its survival. The Democrats making the right to vote a top campaign issue will not only benefit their party, it could even determine whether our democracy survives.
A retired, public sector ethics attorney, Berlin is the author of Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America (See breakingbigmoneysgrip.com.), the founder of New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics, a former U.S. Institute of Peace fellow, and the founder and former executive director of The Trinity Forum for International Security and Conflict Resolution. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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