@Leon Said If you were President and had a House majority and Senate supermajority on your side, how would you reform our country’s election process?
I’ll answer my own question by addressing each area in my summary:
A President is elected every 4 years through a constitutionally mandated electoral vote process, in which each state is given a certain allotment of 538 electoral delegates, based on representation in Congress, who pledge their votes in electing a candidate. Currently (with the exception of Maine and Nebraska, who proportionally pledge their electoral candidates) each state pledges all of their electoral delegates to the candidate receiving the largest popular vote in that state, a development that grew approximately fifty years after the Constitution was written. Since then, there have been four instances when the electoral delegate vote produced a different result than that of the total national popular vote, including our most recent Presidential election in 2016 and in two out of the last five Presidential elections. In 4 out of the last 7 Presidential elections, the winner did not receive a majority of the popular vote.
I’d push for an Consitutional amendment that, while keeps the Electoral College, requires the practice of Maine and Nebraska, what the writers of the Constitution intended, per later writings.
Presidents cannot be elected more than twice, due to a constitutional amendment enacted in 1951. Members of the Senate and House do not have a limit in the number of times they can be re-elected.
I’d push for a Constitutional amendment that limits members of Congress from serving more than 2 terms and extends the Presidential and House terms to 6 years to better battle election year politics, and lines up all Senate elections to the same year and rotates elections between the Presidential, House, and Senate every 2 years to address checks and balances. Note, this would also coincide with an elimination of the Senate filibuster.
The 100 members of the Senate are elected every 6 years on an evenly divided rotation that occurs every 2 years. Each of our fifty states elects 2 of these members for the Senate via statewide popular vote, regardless of state size or population. The 435 members of the House are elected every 2 years. Each state is allotted a percentage of these 435 open positions based on state population according to the most recent census data. A census is taken every 10 years. Each state, in turn, divides itself into districts, each of which votes for single member of the House. This districting usually is done by state legislatures and has very little guideline in terms of how they are drawn, often resulting in the ruling party in a state legislature drawing them into a manner that disproportionally groups voters that favor the minority party into fewer districts than what the proportion of the state population favors as a whole for that party, a process called gerrymandering. Data from the 2016 election estimated that the Republican Party gained an extra 17 House seats from the Democratic Party due to gerrymandering. A few states have outlawed this practice, but approximately 90% have not yet done so.
I’d outlaw gerrymandering in all districting and require that every state have an independent bipartisan commission whose job it is to draw up district maps.
Citizens 18 or over are eligible to vote, regardless of gender or race. Registration is required to vote. A form of ID is required when voting in 11 states, although studies have shown very minimal voter fraud among ineligible voters. Approximately 75% of eligible voters are registered. Out of those 75% who are registered, approximately 75% vote, resulting in an overall voter turnout that has fluctuated around 50% for the past 100 years among citizens. This increases by approximately 10% in elections which include a Presidential election and decreases by approximately 10% in elections that don’t include a Presidential election. The voter turnout among younger citizens is approximately 10% lower and the voter turnout among older citizens is approximately 10% higher. The voter turnout among blacks was approximately the same as it was for non-Hispanic whites during the years Barrack Obama was president, but has declined 5% since then, as it was before Obama. The voter turnout among other ethnic minorities has been approximately 15% lower than that of non-Hispanic whites.
Distribute national identification cards in the similar vein of Social Security Cards that includes automatic voter registration. Declare a voting holiday for every election (or hold elections on President’s Day or 4th of July). Cover the postage of mail-in ballots. Install a tax penalty for anyone who does not turn in a ballot the previous year to cover the costs of IDs and mail-in postage. Ballots may be turned in blank to avoid this tax.
Individuals are limited to contributing $5,000 per year directly to an election candidate and $33,400 per year directly to a political party. Corporations and labor unions are prohibited from contributing directly to a candidate or political party. However, individuals can also contribute an unlimited amount to election advertising that is in favor of or against any candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, candidate's authorized committee, or political party. And a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2010 allowed corporations and labor unions to contribute an unlimited amount in this manner as well, forcing 24 states who had such restrictions at the time to end them. This ruling resulted in an immediate 50% increase in Presidential election expenditure in the subsequent 2012 election and contributed to an overall 100% increase in Congressional election expenditure over the past 30 years, both in inflation-adjusted dollars. An estimated total of $7 billion was spent on the 2012 election cycle alone. Corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals have profited greatly from such expenditure, with studies showing a $100 billion in direct subsidies in the 2012 budget, with an estimate ranging from $6 to $200 in return for every dollar spent in campaign money by corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals. This is not counting indirect subsidies such as tax breaks.
Pool all campaign spending, both direct and independent, and allow all candidates who meet certain thresholds to dip into the pool equally. Outlaw corporate lobbying from Washington and limit positions and salaries of those who leave office to what they had/earned prior to entering office, for 6 years.
Intelligence agencies reported increased foreign influence in the 2016 election via the creation of thousands of internet social media accounts intent on dispensing misinformation to millions of readers, promoting and organizing rallies, and hacking into Democratic Party servers and then leaking tens and thousands stolen private emails from the hack. These actions appeared to primarily have an intention of assisting the 2016 Republican Party Presidential candidate, as well as creating overall discord. As a result, President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and increased sanctions In December of 2016. But efforts to step up action against Russia and/or prevent future influence has waned from the President and Congress since then, although many of the 34 individuals indicted in a 2017-2019 Special Council investigation led by ex-FBI chief Robert Mueller included those involved in the 2016 Russian election influence.
Step up anti-cybercrime, cyber-defense, and voting system security, and step up sanctions on foreign governments who blatantly fail to make reasonable efforts in curbing such activity.