What every American should ask of the next president on voting

| 25 Nov 2019 | 06:17

    We have not been vigilant on who can view and change our system. I do not take any serious view on the Ukraine, as all indications it was Russia who has impacted our voting and others.

    In 2018, we had the greatest turnout, since 1914, but we cannot be lax anymore, and more Americans need to get out and vote. Our turnout is less than 70 percent, which is what the French exceed. The House has enacted some great legislation, with its For the People Act (H.R.1), but still waiting for a vote in the Senate, which is unlikely to come.

    Here are some reforms covered in that bill, which include the following

    1. Pass automatic voter registration. One in four eligible American citizens are not registered to vote! Simple reforms could increase close to 50 million voters.

    2. Time to enact small donor public financing. We need to limit the influence of a small number of mega donors. As it looks now, there are at least 3 or 4 candidates for mega donations!

    3. End gerrymandering. There should be uniform rules on map drawing, and fairness.

    4. Fight voter suppression everywhere. The Supreme Court in its wisdom -- or lack of -- gutted key provisions in the workable Voting Act in the Shelby County case, where the Court eliminated Section 5 of the act, which focused on states and localities with a history of discrimination.

    5. Ensure election security. At least $1 billion is needed to upgrade our systems of voting.

    6. End of abuse of emergency powers by president. There is misuse of these powers by presidents.

    7. Secure passage of the Reverse Mass Incarceration Act. The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners. More than 39 percent prisoners can be released and obtain license to vote.

    8. Restore voting rights. Thirty four states disenfranchise people from voting even after they are released from prison.

    9. Roll back unnecessary imprisonment and long sentences. It costs up to $60,000 per year to house prisoners for low level crimes.

    Bill Weightman