Return to Common Sense
February 3, 2020
Section: Domestic – Elections
“Government must return to its roots of term limited citizen legislature, with simpler and easier elections, governing from their home districts, and voter identification guaranteed with overseas servicemen’s votes counted.”
“We should educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of liberty.” Thomas Jefferson.
Philosophy (Background, Issues, Objectives):
Government was designed to serve the people.
- Politicians were assumed to be citizen representatives (no professional politicians).
- Civilian representatives brought diversity and business knowledge to government.
- Election campaigns have become longer and more expensive.
- Excessive focus on re-election detracts from serving the public.
Political party candidate selection has become excessively expensive and time consuming.
- Presidential primaries begin two years before the election.
- The succession of state primaries is very expensive.
o Candidates can choose to campaign or not on a state by state basis.
- 2002 McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) was designed to remove large donor influence.
o Large donors used 527 organizations to channel contributions to target politicians.
o Seven of the Top 10 political contributors are labor unions and predominantly Democrat.
o BCRA reforms aimed at political parties did not limit money but rather scatter it throughout the system.
o Due to the differences between the two political parties in America, the BCRA dispersion of finances tends to benefit Democrats because their political culture includes more allied groups who benefit from a distributional big bang.
Electoral College is designed to protect states rights and power.
- Electoral college was designed to maintain the balance between state power and direct democracy based on pure number of votes.
- Each state is separate election with winner getting all the votes.
- Candidates can win Electoral College vote while not winning total popular vote.
Constitution 17th Amendment (1912) changed from Senator selection by their state legislature to direct popular election.
- Federalist Papers explained that the people would be represented in the House of Representatives and the states would be represented in the Senate.
- Congress needed to be both national and federal in order to reflect not just the sovereignty of the people but also the sovereignty of the states against the federal government.
- Amendment changed the first paragraph of Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution to provide that each state's senators are to be "elected by the people thereof" rather than being "chosen by the Legislature thereof."
The Permanent Appointment Act in 1929 fixed the size of the House.
- In 1929, 435 members represented a representative for every 250,000 people
- The USA population has tripled since 1929, making districts too large and unresponsive.
- Census results highlight changes in populations requiring changes in districts.
Term limits have been instituted in several states.
- At present, 36 state have term limits of various types for their governors
- In South Dakota state legislative term limits passed in 1992, reaffirmed by wider margin in 2008.
- Term limits were at issue in various cities and counties in California, Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
- In localities ranging from State College, Pennsylvania to Tracy, California and Memphis, Tennessee, voters approved term limits by two-to-one margins.
- Eight of the ten largest U.S. cities now have term limits.
Redistricting of election boundaries has resulted in artificial districts.
· James Madison in Federalist No. 55 said that the number of representatives will be augmented from time to time in the manner provided by the Constitution.
o Originally the size of the House was adjusted every 10 years based on census results.
o Public Law 62-5, 1911, set the number of members of the House of Representatives at 435.
o Today each representative represents over 700,000 people.
· Gerrymandering based on the 1965 Voting Rights Act redraws voting maps to deliver safe political districts, election after election.
o Boundaries defined to artificially combine uniform voting constituents.
o Voting districts do not align with local and municipal government boundaries.
o Gerrymandering has defined voting districts that deliver “automatic” voting results.
o An unintended consequence of gerrymandering is a suppressed voter turnout since the result is “rigged.”
Government officials have lost their credibility with the American public.
- Congressman and lawyers are ranked very low in honesty and ethics.
- Congressional Record is a rewritten history of what Members wanted to say.
- Presidential signing statements have been used for 150 years to explain positions on the relevant issues.
Participation in national elections is around 50% of eligible voters.
- Many American voters are unfamiliar with the candidate positions and promises.
- The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) set a deadline for states to have a statewide voter registration list and list verification procedures.
o Voter fraud has been caught haphazardly as no identification requirement impedes enforcement.
- Australia passed mandatory voting by registered voters in federal elections.
Both major political parties sponsor voter registration efforts.
- Illegal election practice convictions have been overwhelmingly Democrats.
- Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) is a leftist political group which has been caught numerous times turning in fraudulent voter registrations.
o ACORN has never tried to hide that it was a Democrat voting and advocacy organization.
o ACORN has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in self dealing, and aided and abetted a cover-up.
o ACORN has committed investment fraud, deprived the public of its right to honest services, and engaged in a racketeering enterprise affecting interstate commerce.
o ACORN has committed a conspiracy to defraud the United States by using taxpayer funds for partisan political activities.
o ACORN has submitted false filings to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Labor, in addition to violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
o At least 55 ACORN employees and individuals associated with ACORN have been convicted of voter fraud.
§ In Ohio there were four counties where voter registration exceeded the number of voting-age people in the counties.
§ In Michigan, ACORN enrolled 200,000 voters and a sizable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications.
§ In Colorado, ACORN registered some individuals 40 separate times.
§ In Nevada, nearly 1,000 felons were illegally registered to vote in 2004.
§ The Clark County, Nevada, registrar claims that there has been rampant fraud, and counts roughly 40% of registration applications submitted by ACORN from January through July had been rejected or questioned.
o FBI has initiated a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) investigation into the series of ACORN voting abuses as a criminal enterprise.
§ Employees who did not meet quota of 20 new voters daily were fired.
§ ACORN briefed workers how to deny that voter registration fraud existed.
§ Of 1.3 million new registrations ACORN turned in in 2008, election officials rejected 400,000.
o The Secretary of State Project is a left-wing funded “527” political committee to elect Democrat state candidates.
§ The purpose of the SoS Project is to place partisan results in front of political integrity and clean, honest elections.
§ A "527" political committee can accept unlimited financial contributions and doesn't have to disclose publicly until after the election.
§ The SoS Project is an officially approved Democracy Alliance grantee.
- Military voters have long been disenfranchised, both at the state and federal level, by a voting process that fails to recognize the unique challenges created by a military voter's transitory existence or the delays associated with delivering an absentee ballot to a war zone halfway around the world.
o All military personnel and their dependents, as well as overseas citizens, are guaranteed the right to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
o In 2010, only 4.6% of eligible military voters were able to cast an absentee ballot that was counted in the 2010 election.
In 1965, the Voter Rights Act was enacted to combat racial discrimination that denied equal access to voting.
- The VRA now requires racial discrimination in the name of guaranteeing effective voting by certain preferred minorities (blacks and Hispanics), because of judicial interpretations and legislative amendments.
- Effectiveness is understood as successful racial or ethnic bloc voting, with success understood as electing members of those blocs.
- This 50-year-old “emergency” provision has been renewed four separate times, giving the section 25 years of new life, despite a complete lack of evidence that the type of systematic discrimination that led to its initial passage still exists.
- Voter ID initiatives helped to prevent fraudulent voting, but also did NOT reduce turnout.
o In Georgia, black voter turnout for the midterm election in 2006 was 42.9% but after Georgia passed photo ID, black turnout in the 2010 midterm rose to 50.4%.
o In Georgia, Hispanic/Latino voter turnout increased by 66.5%.
o Black turnout also rose in Indiana and Mississippi after photo IDs were required.
- Mexico requires both a photo ID and a thumbprint to vote, and turnout has increased in their elections since the requirement went into effect in the 1990s.
Vote fraud has been found at many steps of the election process.
- Voter rolls are inaccurate polluted by dead voters, voters registered at multiple addresses, voters ineligible to vote, and fictitious voters.
- Voters are not verified in person with valid identification or absentee ballots without adequate validation.
- Vote counts are not accurate either due to overt vote exclusion or falsification or mechanical or electronic manipulation.
Congress works an abbreviated work week:
· Congress meets on Tuesday evening and full days on Wednesday and Thursday.
o Congress meeting on Monday or Friday is an exception.
o Monday and Friday are reserved to allow travel back and forth to home districts.
· Congress takes district work periods in March, May, June/July, August, and December.
· Congress reconvenes after elections to deal with issues they avoided prior to election (lame duck) allowing outgoing politicians to vote with no accountability.
· Resolutions have been submitted to create a “virtual Congress” where lawmakers would leverage videoconferencing and other remote work technology to conduct daily duties in Washington from their home districts.
In the 112th Congress the occupation that dominates is lawyers, attracting those who practice law into a profession in charge of making laws.
- In the House, most members come from business, followed by public service, then law.
- In the Senate, the dominant profession is law, followed by politics, also called “public service.”
- In the Senate, half have previous service in the House.
Voting is a national service obligation by each citizen.
- Voters must remain knowledgeable about the country and its issues.
- Voters need to feel their vote counts above party politics.
Discourage professional politicians.
- Maximize time in home districts with constituents.
- Ensure politicians are subject to all laws they create.
Short Term, Reengineer election process to be more representative and more participative.
- Redefine voting as civic obligation.
o Require unique voter identification for initial voter registration.
o Require citizenship indication on voter registration.
o Enact tax incentive (credit) to encourage voting participation.
- Individual states must enforce their own election requirements.
o Require each state to certify annually that voting rolls have been updated, moves reflected, and deceased and moved voters purged.
o Require the state to enter into agreements with other states to compare voter registration lists to find voters who are registered in more than one state.
o Require state and local election officials to verify the accuracy of new voter registration information against other available state and federal databases.
o Require all individuals who register to vote to provide documentation establishing that they are United States citizens.
o Require an individual who registers by mail to vote in person the first time they vote.
o Require all individuals who register to vote through the use of mail-in forms, whether they are mailed back to election officials or hand-delivered by the individual or third-party organizations, to comply with the applicable HAVA provision.
o Require all voters to present photographic identification, issued by the federal, state, or local government, when they vote at their polling place, or to send copies of such identification when submitting an absentee ballot.
o Ensure U.S. citizenship is required for federal elections.
- Designate Military Offices as Voter Registration Agencies.
o Facilitate voting by overseas members of the military by requiring that all absentee ballots being sent to UOCAVA voters be mailed at least 45 days prior to election deadline or alternatively by express mail or electronic means so the ballots will be received by voters in time to be returned.
o Develop systems allowing servicemen overseas the ability to vote electronically and their votes counted back in their home districts.
- Utilize electronic voting machines for rapid, accurate results, with electronic voting accepted.
o Enable electronic e-voting to enable citizens to vote remotely (via internet).
o Ensure all valid absentee ballots are counted.
Repeal the Voting Rights Act since this emergency (5 year) provision has achieved its desired effect and has morphed into a partisan gerrymandering provision.
Enable Senators and Representatives to govern from their home districts.
- Enable electronic voting to allow remote participation from their home state and district.
- Schedule five day workweek enabled with remote teleconferencing and voting access.
- Each Member must certify that they actually read and understand the proposed legislation.
- Bar Congress from convening after elections (no lame duck sessions).
Repeal Permanent Apportionment Act, limiting size of House
- Increase House to about 600 representatives, with size reflecting 500,000 citizens per representative.
- Base representation on number of legal citizens based on U.S. Census.
- Redistrict conforming as nearly as possible to state or local government boundaries.
o Redistrict design based on Minimal distance to district center or zip codes.
- Return voting rights to criminals after they complete their sentences, parole and probation.
Repeal Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) passed in 2002 as structurally unfair.
- Require all campaign contributions made to general campaign fund, distributed by the government based on predetermined spending limit.
- Lobbyists are forbidden from direct candidate contributions.
- Each candidate would be restricted to a fixed amount of government money for campaigns.
Long Term, Return to government composed of citizen legislators.
Conduct nationwide Presidential primary(s) available to all states (rotating series of regional primaries.
Compensate members of the House and Senate similar to their constituents.
- Pay is contingent on federal budget being passed.
o When inflation or unemployment rate is above a threshold, pay cuts become automatic and cumulative.
- Congress members will receive an annual allowance intended to defray expenses carrying out their duties, including office expenses, including staff, mail, and travel between member’s home district office and required visits to Washington, DC.
- Congress members must participate in Social Security, like other federal employees.
- Congress members must obtain health coverage from the Health Insurance Exchange, like other federal employees.
- Congress members are not eligible for a government pension, but must fund their own retirement provisions, like their self-employed constituents.
- Hold politicians accountable for campaign promises.
Enact Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits for all federal political offices (12 years max).
- No more than two full four year terms (10 years max) for President.
- No more than five full two year terms (10 years max) for Congress.
- No more than two six year terms (12 years max) for Senators.
- Restrict lawyers from serving in office in the legislative branch of government.
- Enact a lifetime ban on any elected official at the state or federal level from ever being a professional lobbyist.
Repeal the 17th Amendment, returning Senator selection to the state legislatures.
- Restore the concept of bicameralism, two branches of the legislature, ensuring Senators serve the interests of their state, while House represents its voters.
Enact Constitutional Amendment to extend concept of Recall to members of Congress, both representatives and senators.
Enact Constitutional Amendment to authorize a Presidential federal line item veto to limit “earmarks” and “pork projects.”
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“Congress: Fix it or start over” by David Coughlin dated March 8, 2012 published by Canada Free Press at http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/45097
“Lessons from the Voter ID Experience in Georgia” by Hans von Spakovsky dated March 19, 2012 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/03/lessons-from-the-voter-id-experience-in-georgia .
“The Left’s National Vote Fraud Strategy Exposed” by James Simpson dated May 8, 2012 published by Accuracy in Media at http://www.aim.org/special-report/the-lefts-national-vote-fraud-strategy-exposed/ .
“Is It Time for a Virtual Congress?” by Robert Berry dated November 10, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/is_it_time_for_a_virtual_congress.html .
“Democrats stole the election” by David Coughlin dated November 29, 2012 published by Canada Free Press at http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/51364
“Choosing Senators: How to Rein in Federal Spending” by Jim Yardley dated February 23, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/02/choosing_senators_how_to_rein_in_federal_spending.html .
“GOP lawmaker seeks ‘virtual Congress’ with telecommuting plan” by Jennifer Martinez dated March 22, 2013 published by The Hill at http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/289947-republican-proposes-letting-lawmakers-work-from-home .
“Penalties for politicians” by Glenn Harlan Reynolds dated May 27, 2013 published by USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/05/27/irs-benghazi-scandal-politicians-column/2363901/ .
“Voters need some skin in the game” by David Coughlin dated Jun 12, 2013 published by American Clarion at http://www.americanclarion.com/21296/2013/06/12/voters-need-some-skin-in-the-game/ .
“How to Repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments” by Theodore Koehl dated July 7, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/07/how_to_repeal_the_16th_and_17th_amendments.html .
“Requiring Photographic Identification by Voters in North Carolina” by Hans A. von Spakovsky dated July 18, 2013 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/research/lecture/2013/07/requiring-photographic-identification-by-voters-in-north-carolina .
“Avoiding Another 2012” by Mona Charon dated July 30, 2013 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/354695/avoiding-another-2012-mona-charen .
“Election Fraud: Detecting the Undetectable” by Jon N. Hall dated September 9, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/09/election_fraud_detecting_the_undetectable_1.html .
“The Democrats vs. Electoral Reform” by Jon H. Hall dated October 3, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/10/the_democrats_vs_electoral_reform.html .
“Politicians’ Extortion Racket” by Peter Schweizer dated October 21, 2013 published by The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/opinion/politicians-extortion-racket.html?_r=0 .
“Shaming Non-Voters Has No Place in a Free Society” by A. Barton Hinkle dated November 27, 2013 published by Reason at http://reason.com/archives/2013/11/27/informing-on-non-voters-has-no-place-in .
“Why We Can’t Have All Elections Online” by Hans von Spakovsky dated May 25, 2014 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://blog.heritage.org/2014/05/25/why-we-cant-have-elections-online/ .
“The 17th Amendment: The Irrelevant States” by Tom Toth dated September 12, 2014 published by American Clarion at http://www.americanclarion.com/17th-amendment-irrelevant-states-33617 .
“Don’t Let Lame Ducks Spend Your Money” by Betsy McCaughey dated November 19, 2014 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/articles/61027/dont-let-lame-ducks-spend-your-money .
“It’s Delusional to Think That Voter Fraud Doesn’t Exist” by John Lott dated November 29, 2016 published by The Daily Caller at http://dailycaller.com/2016/11/29/its-delusional-to-think-that-voter-fraud-doesnt-exist/ .
“Making the case for political fraud” by Richard W. Rahn dated August 14, 2017 published by The Washington Times at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/aug/14/campaign-pledges-broken-could-lead-to-donor-lawsui/ .
“Cowardly Careerists in Congress” by Paul Jacob dated October 29, 2017 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/pauljacob/2017/10/29/draft-n2401821 .
“To Avoid Debacles Like Roy Moore, Repeal the 17th Amendment” by John Daniel Davidson dated November 16, 2017 published by The Federalist at http://thefederalist.com/2017/11/16/avoid-debacles-like-roy-moore-repeal-17th-amendment/ .
“On Repealing the 17th Amendment” by T.J. Donegan dated March 15, 2018 published by https://ipatriot.com/repealing-17th-amendment/ .
“The First (and Most Important) First Amendment” by Paul Jacob dated June 4, 2018 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/pauljacob/2018/06/04/the-first-and-most-important-first-amendment-n2486974 .
“Is it time to repeal the 17th Amendment?” by John M. DeMaggio dated August 30, 2018 published by The Hill at http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/404337-is-it-time-to-repeal-the-17th-amendment .
“It’s Time to Grow the House of Representatives, By a Lot” by Peter Preston dated September 28, 2018 published by The Resurgent at https://www.themaven.net/theresurgent/contributors/it-s-time-to-grow-the-house-of-representatives-by-a-lot-2XDXQYVwP0SUpRL-W_BAFg/?mc_cid=da85e437bc&mc_eid=3062050a98 .
“Do Democrats really care about election integrity?” by Dave Rybarczyk dated January 31, 2020 published by American Thinker at https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/01/do_democrats_really_care_about_election_integrity.html .