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"The Civic Responsibility Act" and Election Reform

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posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 09:31 AM
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We all know that the current system is not working.

Under the current system, Parties and candidates must resort to hot button issues hoping to motivate the voters to show up at the poles.

Voter turnout is pathetic at best.

This also fuels political extremism allowing the few to dictate their views on the majority.

This is why I think it's time for our country to support meaningful change in our electoral system.

I have written a few congressmen proposing consideration of " The Civic Responsibility Act "

a proposal to make voting compulsory within a reasonable timeframe.

If everyone has a civic duty to vote by law, our representatives will be forced to act for the majority, thus putting political extremism in it's rightful place.

I think this is the best way for American's to come together by acting on their civic duty.

I welcome your opinion and hope that some of you will also consider contacting your local representatives about this proposal.




posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 09:50 AM
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I appreciate that you are looking for solutions to the American people's apathy regarding voting. And I also think that it's a symptom. There simply are no viable candidates out there that run and it's been that way for a very long time. Take the last election - We had a choice between a pro-war Prez and a pro-war Prez. Not much of a choice, huh? There were plenty of people who were against going to war with Iraq, but they had no representative in government.

Voting is a duty of being an American, but sometimes not voting at all can be a viable political opinion, i.e., the people don't feel there are any decent candidates. Legislating and forcing people to do things isn't necessarily the best way to solve a problem.
Besides, the last 2 elections were stolen, why bother to vote when it doesn't count?



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 09:51 AM
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It is not a bad start FallenFrom


But, heres my problem: sure this would raise the amount of voters, by up to ten fold, but it would not fix the problem. We would still have the same choices as to who to vote for. It does not address the real end of the problem(the people in power)

Heres some things I have thought about that would make our leaders a bit more accountable and would help curtail corruption(which, to me is more of the problem than lack of voter turnout)
1.)Mandatory polygraph testing upon entering office and once a month while in office.
2.)more oversight-did I say more... im sorry I meant MORE!!!!!!!!!!
3.)massive campaign reform(especially where corporate interests are involved)
A.)Equal funding from the Federal gov to all candidates running for Federal office, State money for State campaigners.. and end all outside contributions.
B.) Equal inclusion of ALL candidates in TV/Radio/Internet debates.(not just the two party dictatorship-which is really one party for the corporate- that now engulfs this nation)
4.)Term limits on ALL levels of office ie... local, state, federal.
5.)Fix the darn voting machines(complete with paper trail)


your Idea is not a bad one Fallen.. but it only addresses the lack of voter turnout- which is fine in and of itself. But it will in no way fix the political hijacking by the extreme sides of the political spectrum.

just my opinion.
thanks for your time



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 09:53 AM
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Exactly, why vote when the electorial college decides who wins, majority votes or not, its not up to the people because we all know most people are too ignorant to make a good decision.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 10:43 AM
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I have a very special place in my heart for members who discuss IDEAS in addition to people and events. Great topic.

This is a tough issue for me to make up my mind on because low voter turnout is in some cases symptomatic of a variety of underlying problems which would manifest themselves in other ways if we simply made voting mandatory.

For instance, some people just say no to politics. People like my grandma. If you're a non-confrontational person with fairly simple concerns in life (ie: you worry about the immediately important things, such as finances, and try not to stress over "what-ifs" or bad policies which don't seem very closeto home, you won't be inclined to take an interest and inform yourself on politics, much less vote.

Now my grandma always has voted; but she's always asked my grandpa, my dad, and myself how we were voting because are values were similar to hers and we, as union men and active members of the community, were usually informed about the issues.

Lets suppose though that she didn't have us to draw on. Let's suppose my grandma had to make up her own mind, and was going to get a ticket in the mail if she didn't vote. Well she'd go vote, and she'd vote a straight party line based on campaign ads and word of mouth. You don't want a few million of my grandma showing up on election day- god only knows what might happen.

They'd probably just write in their favorite celebrity and you'd wake up on November 8th and be informed that in a stunning upset, neither party had gotten enough votes to maintain its place on the ballot and that Michael Douglass had been drafted in a write-in campaign based on his performance in "The American President", followed closely by the impressive write-in showings of Stephen Colbert, Pamela Anderson, and Jerry Falwell. (Oh my God, that would be great- President Pamela and Vice President Falwell. Reality TV's got nothing on me!)

I'd like to see some kind of voter information be required, except that I'd be very worried about disenfranchisement then.

It hard to really figure out how to draw the line between liberty and responsibility here.
I don't want the country neglected, but I don't want it run by uninformed or stupid people either, but nor do I want to start setting standards on who is "good enough" to have a vote, because the fact of that matter is that if you asked 10 people to compose a list of standards for voters to meet, I bet at least 4 of them would have at least one standard I don't meet (and even then most people would probably consider me above average!)


I think education may be the best way to encourage people to take responsibility. I have A LOT of bones to pick with the education system in this country.

If it were up to me (and I realize it's not) for the last 2 years of highschool, every single student in America would spend at least 2 hours a day reading the news and at least once a month would have to debate an issue with another student in front of the class. After that, if you really didn't care, fine, be an idiot and don't vote. I bet someone who got an education like that would begin to realize that policy has consequences and would take the time to vote.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 10:48 AM
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Originally posted by Techsnow
Exactly, why vote when the electorial college decides who wins, majority votes or not, its not up to the people because we all know most people are too ignorant to make a good decision.


Yes, the validity of the Electoral College is qustionable, at best. But, If you remember the 2000 election was not decided by the EC it was decided by the SC(Supreme Court)
My opinion is that the EC should be dismantled at this point and have direct elections. But thats just my silly, naive little notion of true democracy.

Secondly, I disagree that most people are "too ignorant" as you so bluntly stated. I feel it is more to the point that the average American is not as much ignroant, as they are stuck in a feeling of helplessness. Feeling like; no matter who they choose they are going to get screwed.

Thank you for your time



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 10:48 AM
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First of all, thank you for your responses.


I do agree with you on one point.

Our popular vote for President has become virtually meaningless.

We must keep in mind that our civic duty begins at the local level.

If voting were to become mandatory, the voters would have to be educated on the issues under consideration. Local issues and national issues.
With mandatory voting, polls would have to provide the means for everyone to vote.

This would also lead to a better selection of state and local representative that speak for the majority in Congress.

These candidates would then speak for the majority in the electoral college.

We have to start by re-building from the ground up.

We must insure voting accuracy in numbers and in the opinion of the mainstream.

If voting is mandatory, special interest groups and political extremism will still have
a rightful voice, but they will not be permitted to overrule and undermine that which benefits the greater good of all.

We have to start somewhere.

If we are to regain a system of government by the people, for the people, we need people
to take civic responsibility.

I think the rest will fall in place as time goes on.


BTW

I would like to hear from our members in Australia to help gain a bit of perspective on how this
system works for them.





[edit on 15-7-2006 by FallenFromTheTree]



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:14 AM
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original quote by: FallenFromTheTree
If voting is mandatory, special interest groups and political extremism will still have
a rightful voice, but they will not be permitted to overrule and undermine that which benefits the greater good of all


I have to disagree. Special interests help fund campaigns before the election- Mandatory voting will not curtail this.
Special interests continue to fund and finance politicians during they're time in office-mandatory voting will not curtail this.
Special interests often times hire politicians after they are finished holding office.

Sure on the surface nothing is wrong with the above list... but the abuse of them is rampant.. these "special interests have the time, money, and recources that no average ameican has at their disposal.
I agree that these groups have a right to a voice but that voice should be heard ON polling day.. not BEFORE.. during and AFTER. Especially at the expense of the average American citizen.


original quote by: FallenFromTheTree
These candidates would then speak for the majority in the electoral college.


Like I said this should be disbanded entirely.


original quote by: FallenFromTheTree
We have to start by re-building from the ground up.


I agree.. but are you looking at what needs fixing from the right angle?
Part of being free is having the right NOT to vote. If you make it mandatory to vote then you are helping bring about the demise of freedom. The very idea in itself is contradictory to a persons right to make his/her own decision. Because NO DECISION is still a choice after all.. and must remain so. I can totally understand why you would want to do this-as I would also love to see better turnouts at the polls, But you cannot FORCE by penalty of law; someones right to choose or NOT to choose a particular candidate. remember the old saying.. you can lead a horse to water...


original quote by: FallenFromTheTree
If we are to regain a system of government by the people, for the people, we need people
to take civic responsibility.


After making my point above I would like to comment on this statement further by reminding you that the biggest problems in our govt are NOT the lack of voters but the people that are put into office and hold those offices for years and sometimes decades. The Idea that if people are more educated(forced education mind you) then in the FORCED elections they would have higher calliber candidates is flawed. It does nothing to ensure the candidates honesty and intent. Like I said in my earlier post
mandatory polygraph testing for ALL govt. employees. Once upon entering office or position(if appointed) and then ONCE PER WEEK during their time in office or Govt position You cant kill the weed by cutting the leaves Fallen.. you must attack the root.

I know you have the best of intentions Fallen, I really do, but I just wanted to add a couple of other angles for you to consider. Remember what freedom truly means.. even to those that do not value that which they have.. they still have the right to keep it. It is up to people like us who DO care enough about our govt to fight to make sure that the afformentioned citizens retain those precious freedoms(even if they dont know we are doing it) Everytime we give more power to the Govt we are simultaneously removing it from us as people. And I dont know about you but I feel this Govt could do with alot LESS power; not MORE.

Again, Thank you for your time






[edit on 15-7-2006 by TONE23]



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:32 AM
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Another thought- What kind of penalties would be enforced on those that for _____ (insert reason here) are unable to get to the polls.. Fines? Jail?

The more I think about this Idea the worse it is beggining to sound. Do we not already have enough beurocracy and enough people in jail?

Im sorry Fallen if I am raining on the parade but I just cannot help these thoughts and questions

[edit on 15-7-2006 by TONE23]



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 12:41 PM
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I really do appreciate the feedback.

Hopefully mandatory voting would provide a box for

" None of The Above"

So no one is FORCED to make a pre-determined decision, but everyone still needs to show up
or cast an absentee ballot.

This sytem is working fairly well in Australia and if I'm not mistaken the penalty for non compliance is nominal.

I don't have all the answers, but the current system must change to reflect the mainstream
while still providing a voice for the minorities.

At least we agree that the current system needs change.

The problem is how to effectively change it so it's fair and reasonable for the greater good.

I'm quite certain that our founding fathers never intended for things to turn out this way.

I'm also pretty sure it took them quite a bit of brain storming to arrive at solutions to
problems.

To quote my dear departed father

" Can't never did anything "



[edit on 15-7-2006 by FallenFromTheTree]




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