For Immediate Release
A Better Election Next Time?
Richie is executive director of FairVote and co-author of Every Vote Equal and Whose Votes Count.
He said today: "2008 was an historic election in terms of the election
of the first African-American to be president and the largest number of
voters at the polls in our history. But we have a long way to go to
realize the promise of American democracy. In this modern age, there is
no excuse for privately-owned voting machines that breed mistrust,
confusing ballot designs, polling places with long lines, voter
registration laws that leave nearly a third of Americans off the rolls,
an Electoral College system that undercuts equality and voting methods
that suppress voter choice and stifle fair representation. Amidst
yesterday's candidate races, key ballot measures showed that Americans
are ready for change. Landslide majorities voted for instant runoff
voting in Memphis, Tennessee, and Telluride, Colorado, early voting in
Maryland and 17-year-old primary voting in Connecticut, while
independent redistricting won a narrow win in California, and
proportional representation barely lost to well-financed opposition in
Cincinnati. I believe we will soon have an electoral reform wave
reminiscent of the changes a century ago when we won direct election of
U.S. senators, women's suffrage and state changes empowering voters
across the nation."
Hasen is the William H. Hannon Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola
Law School. He said today: "The solution is to take the job of voter
registration for federal elections out of the hands of third parties
(and out of the hands of the counties and states) and give it to the
federal government. The Constitution grants Congress wide authority
over congressional elections. The next president should propose
legislation to have the Census Bureau, when it conducts the 2010
census, also register all eligible voters who wish to be registered for
future federal elections. High-school seniors could be signed up as
well so that they would be registered to vote on their 18th birthday.
When people submit change-of-address cards to the post office, election
officials would also change their registration information. This change
would eliminate most voter registration fraud. Government employees
would not have an incentive to pad registration lists with additional
people in order to keep their jobs. The system would also eliminate the
need for matches between state databases, a problem that has proved so
troublesome because of the bad quality of the data."