February 22, 2005


Tackling Election Reform: After a two presidential elections marred by flaws in the mechanics of voting, it's time for Congress to fix the system. (NY Times, 2/22/05)

The Democratic Senate bill, introduced last week by Senators Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, John Kerry and Frank Lautenberg, is now the gold standard for election reform. It would require not only paper records, but recounts in 2 percent of all polling places or precincts, and restrictions on political activity by voting machine manufacturers.

The bill would also take on lines at the polls - which stretched up to 10 hours this year - by requiring standards for the minimum number of voting machines per precinct. It would limit the states' ability to throw out voter registration forms and provisional ballots on technicalities, and prevent them from using onerous identification requirements to turn away eligible voters. And it would strike a blow against vote suppression by outlawing the use of deception - like fliers giving the wrong date for a election - to keep people from voting.

Some important big-picture reforms would also be made by that Democratic Senate bill. It would make Election Day a holiday, freeing up people to vote and serve as poll workers, and it would require states to allow early voting. It would bar chief election officials, including secretaries of state, from engaging in partisan politics. And it would require states to restore the vote to felons who have paid their debts to society; many of them are now barred from voting.

Fumdamental reform is certainly overdue, among its features should be the following franchise restrictions:

(1) Repeal Amendment XVII, Amendment XIX, Amendment XXIII, Amendment XXIV & Amendment XXVI

(2) Only married people who own homes and pay more in taxes than they receive from the government (with the exception of the military).

(3) Prospective voters should have to pass the same civics exam that is administered for citizenship.

(4) Courts should be prohibited from redrawing congressional and state legislative districts

(5) Move Election Day out of hunting season.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 22, 2005 1:36 PM

Cough, Cough. Didn't Bismarck say that politics was the art of the possible?

Posted by: Bruce Cleaver at February 22, 2005 1:43 PM

As an unmarried, home-owning, Navy veteran that could pass a civics exam and pays way more into taxes than I can ever hope to receive from the government, I find this to be a bit over the top.

Posted by: Pat H at February 22, 2005 1:49 PM

OJ: Unlike Boxer, Kerry, et.al., your reforms would limit fraud and pandering and thus have as much chance of passage as, well, Boxer, Kerry, et.al.'s bill. Does it mention Diebold by name, or would that make the cut and paste job from MoveOn too obvious?

Posted by: AC at February 22, 2005 1:59 PM

The only areas which have had "voting problems" are those run by Democrats at the local level. If you want real reform, all that's necessary to to pass laws prohibiting Democrats from serving as election officials.

Another reform would be to say that any election whose result changed in the recount is null and void, and must be rerun within six weeks. That would at lest make it harder for the Dems to steal elections by the "count until we win" method that's given us a Governor Pro Tem here.

And I too object to the marriage part. I offer instead and alternative— that anyone who has children but is not married should be prohibitied, as those are the people who have shown true irresponsibility, not single people like PatH (assuming he/she doesn't have any little ones we don't know about.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 22, 2005 2:05 PM

seems to me anyone who receives money from the government has a huge conflict of interest when it comes to voting. especially employees.

Posted by: cjm at February 22, 2005 2:40 PM

"require states to restore the vote to felons who have paid their debts to society"

I hate that phrase "paid their debts to society". Some people leave a trail of broken bones, ruined lives in their wake and then spend a year in prison and the "debt" is supposedly paid. Bullsh*t.

Excuse my french.

Posted by: h-man at February 22, 2005 2:48 PM

OJ's list is more likely to pass than the Dem's bill.

Posted by: Bob at February 22, 2005 3:10 PM

Regarding oj's proposal:

(1) I think that it's well beyond coincidence that the United States is both one of the most inclusive franchises in the world (where people's votes actually count) and the richest, most powerful, most religious, and most conservative country in the world. We have become ever more powerful even as we extended the franchise over time. I think it would be foolish to tamper with success - unless of course we would prefer to be a second rate country.

(2) oj is quick to point out the problems in China of having lots of disenfranchised single men, but for some reason he thinks that's a good idea here.

(3) Huge waste of money and ripe for fraud. Keep in mind that teachers, educators, and testers are overwhelmingly Democrat. They will somehow misgrade the tests, happening to disqualify lots of conservatives and then Democrats will take over the government.

(4) This one is no big deal one way or the other.

Posted by: Bret at February 22, 2005 3:37 PM


Not disenfranchised, wifeless.

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 3:59 PM


So we'll just work on a spouse...

Posted by: oj at February 22, 2005 4:10 PM

"prevent them from using onerous identification requirements to turn away eligible voters."

i.e. prevent them for asking for the same photo id required by federal law to get on an airplane, cash a check at a federally insured bank or buy a bottle of beer.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 22, 2005 4:46 PM

P.S. OJ: My 82 year old mother who was married for 47 years?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 22, 2005 5:24 PM

All the 35 to 45 year old women I find in my area just south of Seattle are ones who remind me Patty Bouvier. I'm all for marriage, but goodness, not at that price!

Posted by: Pat H at February 22, 2005 6:20 PM

Head count: How many people who frequent this site could vote under stipulations 1. and 2.?

I'm out.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 22, 2005 7:34 PM

I'm in and I usually vote Democrat.

Posted by: Bret at February 22, 2005 9:38 PM

Sadly, I'd be in as well.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 22, 2005 11:11 PM

Your limitations don't go far enought - we should repeal virtually all voting, and return to a monarchial form of government.

Posted by: carter at February 23, 2005 1:34 AM


No, you need a mixed republic. Voting is fine in limited measure, but there should certainly be a monarch.

Posted by: oj at February 23, 2005 8:29 AM