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|Sacramento County, CA||November 2, 2004 Election|
By John C. ReigerCandidate for United States Representative; District 5
This information is provided by the candidate
The right to vote is the most important tool we citizens possess. It is the one thing we can use against the rich and powerful interests that are taking away our jobs, destroying the environment, threatening our retirement, corrupting the political process, eroding our health care, upsetting world peace, and generally screwing up life for all of us.Expand Democracy; Make Every Vote Count!
We pride ourselves on being a democratic country, yet we have a very low percentage of eligible voters who actually vote. We are often faced with choosing options we really do not like. Huge amounts of special interest money corrupts the system. Many of us are represented by people we disagree with. Campaign seasons are too long. Voting is often inconvenient. Ballots and voting machines can be confusing. The list of voting problems goes on and on.
All of this can make a mockery of our democracy. It is long past time for some real changes.
Here are some of the changes I want to see:
Make every Election Day a holiday. Those workers who must work on holidays will receive double pay.
Eliminate the Electoral College. This will require a Constitutional Amendment, but I think most people would support doing away with that undemocratic anachronism.
Full public financing of all national and state election campaigns. No private funding allowed. This will level the playing field and stop the deep pocket interest groups from buying politicians or public opinion.
Free (and equal) TV, radio, and newspapers time or space for campaign messages. Make this requirement a part of their business license.
Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) for executive positions (President, Governor, etc.). Wouldn't it be nice to be able to vote for the candidate you really want, and still be able to affect the outcome of the election? And wouldn't it be more democratic if the winning candidate actually had the support of the majority of the population? IRV is like having a runoff election within the regular election. It allows voters to rank the candidates, one, two, three, etc. in the order of their preference, and it requires 50% support for a candidate to win. If no one gets 50% on the first count, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is dropped and that candidate's second choice votes are distributed to the remaining candidates. This process continues until one candidate has an absolute majority of the votes.
Proportional Representation (PR) for legislatures. PR systems allow a wider range of viewpoints in legislative bodies (Congress, Senate, Assembly,etc.). The Republicans and Democrats do not represent all points of view in our society, and do not have all the answers to our problems. PR gives smaller parties a chance to elect representatives, and avoids the instability of some Parliamentary systems. With PR you can vote for what you believe in and win.
The right to vote is the most important tool we citizens possess. It is the one thing we can use against the rich and powerful interests that are taking away our jobs, destroying the environment, threatening our retirement, corrupting the political process, eroding our health care, upsetting world peace, and generally screwing up life for all of us.
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