Electoral Reform (Part 1) – Corruption, Suppression and Why I’ve Never Voted

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Of all issues in America for which there is always bipartisan support, election security and eliminating corruption are always at the top of the list. It’s the one thing on which we all agree. At least, voters do. Politicians and donors, not so much. Because from their perspective, the fact that America’s electoral system is broken, outdated, inconvenient, easy to hack and infinitely for sale isn’t a bug…it’s the feature. They love legalized bribery and unsecured elections. Corporate donors adore corruption, and those in power thrive on rigging elections. Rick Scott.

Democrat or Republican, Progressive or Conservative; the issue of election fraud, legalized bribery and loss of faith in our democratic process screws everyone equally. We may not agree with each other on everything, but none of our disagreements matter if we don’t take control of this great Republic back from the people who stole it. If you want to believe that’s from crooked politicians or corporations; if you want to believe it’s Jewish billionaires or 3 million invisible illegals; if you want to believe it’s Amazon or Exxon, Soros or Koch. Doesn’t matter. The fact is, America has lost control of its own destiny through the power of money in politics, and corruption in our election process.

We can fight among ourselves about abortion, immigration, guns, corporate taxation, healthcare, whatever. That’s our right, and in fact our duty as Americans. This nation has always been divided, and it was meant to be. Our internal division is written into the soul of the Constitution, and arguing is what we’re supposed to do. “Unity” is for dictatorships and Communists. The day we stop arguing with each other is the day democracy dies. Besides, I like trolling on Facebook.

But none of our arguments matter, none of it makes a difference if our collective will never translates to action because the government is corrupt. Because our electoral process is a joke, our politicians bought and hostage to corporate interests.

Without electoral reform, nothing…NOTHING…else matters.

Fortunately, we have an app for that.

But first, a couple little Come-to-Jesus chats about “Voter Fraud,” voter suppression, open cheating and a few basic election reforms.


“Voter Fraud”

In short: There’s no such thing. It’s called “Election Fraud.” And for good reason.

The lesson of history is that elections are almost always rigged by those in power, trying to stay in power. Especially in America. Yes, there have been many, many instances of election fraud over our couple centuries of history; and without exception, they’re committed either by the people in charge of counting or collecting votes, or by local party members in service to other party members up or down the food chain.

In every case of documented election fraud, on any meaningful scale, it’s the elected officials doing it.

Is it possible the DNC imported 3 million illegals to vote against Trump? Sure. It is. Unless you happen to be in Democratic Party leadership, which is like herding meth-cats on fire through chainsaw hoops on the moon. The idea of Democrats managing that particular conspiracy in total secrecy while not being able to turn out 60 percent of its own base to vote in 2016 is ten steps beyond hilarious. The sheer incompetence and weakness of Democratic “leadership” makes this particular conspiracy about as likely as Slingblade building the Pyramids.

So, why all this talk about “voter fraud?”

To paraphrase Josef Goebbels: “Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty.”

To quote Larry the Cable Guy “Him what smelt it dealt it.”

Make no mistake about it, any time you hear some politician talking about “voter fraud,” it’s because they’re rigging elections. It’s a dodge, a ruse, a distraction to get us to blame each other while they’re feeding ballots to gators in the Everglades. The subtle change of “Election Fraud” to “Voter Fraud” is an Orwellian exercise in thought control, designed to keep you from looking at the very people using it.

If I had it my way, any elected official caught engaging in election fraud would be impaled on flagpoles in the public square. Election fraud is the ultimate betrayal, the ultimate treason against America and its Constitution. And I’d imagine I’m not the only person here who feels that way; which is exactly why the guilty parties are so desperate to keep the blame pointed at us, instead of themselves.


Voter Suppression in Florida

Apart from from the standard array of gerrymandering, poll closing, voter purges and ID laws, voter suppression comes in two fairly malevolent forms. Both, especially relevant to Florida.

Inmate Voter Suppression

America has the largest prison population on Earth; “the land of the free” holds more of its own people behind bars than any other country on Earth. And, because of our two-tiered “justice” system, those people are overwhelmingly poor, young and brown. Especially in Marion County, Florida; which makes up the majority of District 3. My home county is near-as-makes-no-difference a police state; evidence the fact that law enforcement and the prisons are the single biggest industry in town. Marion County makes more money locking up poor people than it does anything else. Almost 20 percent of the people in District 3 are behind bars.

While I will give Florida some credit for finally restoring voting rights to felons (owing to the fact so many of them are white, no doubt)…we still have a massive Constitutional issue here. To wit:

Where does it say in the Constitution that incarcerated Americans are no longer American citizens?

We’re not talking about people on Death Row, here. We’re talking about people serving short sentences for non-violent offenses. We’re talking about the millions sitting in County Jails right now, who haven’t even been convicted of anything. They’re just there because our horrendous cash bail system is designed to keep poor people locked up so they can be more easily coerced into taking a plea. The majority of people sitting in county jails haven’t even been convicted of a crime; so how is the mere act of accusation enough to remove their voting rights?

More to the point, why does that same rain not fall on all alike? People who can afford to pay cash bail are free to vote all day long. It’s only the poorest who are denied their voting rights by being in jail. How is this not a de facto poll tax?

But, even for those who have been convicted, unless they’re on Death Row, they’re still going to get out some time. They’re going to re-enter the same society that locked them up. So, why don’t they get a voice in determining what becomes of that society?

Of course, we know exactly why. Because the last thing corporations, cops and the Right Wing wants is a massive population of young, poor, pissed-off, and politically active voters who are guaranteed to show up to the polls.

Inmates would immediately become the most reliable voting bloc in America; there isn’t much to do in jail, and not much in the way of scheduling conflicts. So, of course the powers that be don’t want inmates voting. Guilty or not, convicted or held on bail. Doesn’t matter. It’s critical not just for the prison-industrial complex, but our entire corporate Establishment that these people are denied their Constitutional rights as American citizens.

For political purposes, it’s probably best to have some limitations on inmate voting rights. Death Row inmates, violent felons, rapists, crooked politicians, and white collar criminals running Ponzi schemes on gullible seniors should probably be excluded. We could do without their input. But getting caught with a joint, or driving on a suspended — especially if you haven’t even been convicted — shouldn’t remove an American’s Constitutional voting rights.

This is a major problem in America, more specifically in Florida. And even more specifically in my district. But there’s an even larger, and more insidious method of voter suppression at work in our home state.

Voter Suppression by Open Cheating

Confession time: I’ve never voted. Not once. Why?

Few reasons. Once, I was in jail for a minor driving offense. As you might have guessed that from the previous section. Another I was purged from the voter rolls. And the third was in November of 2016. I had just come off of being homeless, and took a job in a tire shop working for $25 and 11 hours a day. But, they let me sleep in the moldy old storage room in the back. In exchange for being on call 24/7. The owners were hardcore Trump supporters, who knew I was for Bernie. And they made it clear to me that if I took the day off to vote against Trump, I’d come back to find all my stuff and my dog in the street. True story.

MAGA.

As for the elections in between…really.

It’s Florida.

Why bother?

It’s not like our votes matter here anyway.

Every year since we elected Al Gore president, Florida’s had open cheating shoved in our faces. Every election, every case; every time there’s a remotely close election, it’s always the party counting votes that manages to just squeak out a victory. Rick Scott. And a few months later, a story inevitably leaks about a few “uncounted” ballots, and…damn…too late for a recount. Shame. Rick Scott.

Like many of my generation who grew up watching this farce of a democratic process, I gave up on voting a long time ago. What’s the point? Either my vote isn’t going to matter because of gerrymandering, or it’ll end up feeding gators in Dade County. Of all the sentiments expressed among those in Florida, this apathy and despair about the pointlessness of voting is the most prevalent. It’s barely an open secret that anyone challenging the incumbent party in Florida has to get 70 percent of any vote to win by one.

We all know it. And they know we do. That’s the point.

Of all the forms of vote rigging, open cheating may be both the most insidious and effective. The cheating itself isn’t even the point of this form of voter suppression. They have to know we know about it, too late to change the outcome. Same way they’ve done every year since Gore. This is an assault on Democracy, undermining faith in the system itself, is why they cheat so openly and brazenly. This is why we consistently see stories about ballot “miscounts,” two weeks past the recount deadline.

People don’t participate in a process they don’t believe in. This is psychological warfare on democracy, and we see it at work in every fake democracy from Russia to the Congo. Undermining the democratic process, open cheating, open corruption, spreading apathy and despair is one of the most effective forms of voter suppression on Earth.

Is it a little strange for someone who’s never voted to run for Congress? Yes. It is. But if you’ve lived in Florida for any length of time, you probably feel about the same way. They’ve been waging psychological war on democracy for my entire lifetime; and shame to say, it worked. On me. Same, likely, as you. Cheating isn’t even an open secret here. It’s just open.

Rick. Scott.

So, before we get onto my solutions for this problem, understand one thing: My commitment to voter security, to making every vote actually count is absolute. Like every other native Floridian, I am sick of this detestably corrupt and broken system. I’m tired of their cheating, tired of their shoving it in our faces, and exhausted with trying to find faith in a process I know for a fact is rigged. And I’m pissed off that I know this because they wanted us to know they did it.

Rick. fn. SCOTT.


Basic Election Reforms

You came for the App, and we’ll get to that shortly. But first (or second), a few basic electoral reforms I’d endorse. Not going to reinvent the wheel here, since most of these proposals have already been well fleshed-out by my predecessors in the political arena. Many have also been implemented successfully in other countries and states. I support any measure designed to eliminate corruption and the influence of money in politics, no matter how extreme or from which side of the political spectrum it comes. But here are a few at the top of my personal list.

  1. Call a Convention for an Amendment to overturn Citizens United, and further limit individual campaign contributions. While the unholy abomination of Citizens United basically handed the keys of our Republic fully over to Corporate America, the fact is we’re never going to get it overturned through the Courts. That’s why we need to call a Constitutional Convention, and pass an Amendment to return the influence of capital to America’s citizens. This is going to happen sooner or later, and the sooner the better. Until we stop corporations and money laundering PACs from buying off politicians, no amount of public will is going to move any legislation through the government. This is the keystone in the arch of rebuilding America’s democracy.
  2. Publicly funded elections. Put the power of the dollar back into the hands of the people. It may be a while until we get our Reform Amendment. So, until we can oust corporate and billionaire influence from government, we can try to outspend them with public funding. The system is fairly straightforward, and has been implemented successfully in many states and countries already. There are two basic systems on the table: Donation matching, and vouchers. The first doubles your cash influences by matching donations. The second is essentially just a cash voucher you can sign over to whatever candidate you choose. I prefer the latter, since it puts more power in the hands of more people. But both tend to favor incumbents with more name recognition. Maybe there should be some kind of biasing system toward challengers, a multiplier which would give those with less name recognition a chance to get their message out.
  3. Closing the revolving door, with much tighter restrictions on conflicts of interest within Congress and the White House. This would certainly include limiting stock trade and company ownership, but would also forbid anyone who has served in private industry in the last ten years from sitting on committees or occupying Cabinet positions relevant to those industries. Committee or Cabinet members would also be forbidden from working or trading in those private industries for a minimum of ten years after leaving office. Think of this as a kind of “non-compete clause” for America.

SecureElect — Vote-by-App

PSYCH!

Sorry, but this article has gone on too long as it is. See Part 2 for SecureElect, and our solution to restore democracy to America. Safely, conveniently, and securely. America can have by far the best and most secure electoral system on Earth.

We’ve got an App for that.


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