The Importance of Voting and the Election Process

The election has begun with two debates already in the books and quite a few more scheduled; its time to vote. One of my reasons for starting this blog is to help educate and encourage people to take action on issues that matter. The election process is a controversial and important role in democracy. The democracy has changed over the years. It is true now is different from when the founding fathers started this great country. Despite the changes, voting does still matter. To some degree the voting process has been corrupted by the influence of money. However, that can be easily changed if we elect the right politician. The right politician is a topic of debate.

The problem that I can see especially among people ages 18-29 is that they do not vote. In college, many of the excuses I commonly hear would be “Politics don’t matter to me”, “I’m not interested in politics”, “I don’t have time”, “I would pay attention but just don’t”. Young people of voting age make a large part of the population. Just look at the 2010 census data for New York. You can browse every state too. Overwhelmingly the age group of 18 and over is the highest. Given that this data is 5 years old, most of those 18 year olds are like me now, are 24 or 25 year olds. From a personal standpoint, when I turned 18, I registered to vote. I then voted in two presidential elections, first for John McCain in 2008 and then for Gary Johnson in 2012. It’s unfortunate to say that I am probably a minority of 18 and 22 years olds respectively to vote.

I hope that my generation will wake up and start voting. The only people voting are older people who want medicare and social security benefits. These are baby-boomers who really have 20 to 30 years left and beyond that is not their concern. I will say that despite voting patterns, Barack Obama was able to attract more young votes than any recent election. My point is that young people 18-29 need to start vote and voicing their concerns to our government. Its our future at stake.  We need to press the issues that will be affecting us. For example, our social security and our retirement is being threatened by insolvency. The college debt that many of us hold will burden us for years to come. These are just a few of the issues that young people should be concerned about.

If you live in New York you can learn how to register to vote here, it can be done online through the DMV. If you live anywhere else in the US you can go to your state DMV or State website to find more information. Please register and vote in this election.

Now that I have lectured young people to vote and given some links of knowledge its time to explore some history. The history of the electoral process is very basic. The system was set up during the constitutional convention in 1787. You have to remember that only legal voters were land owning, white, men. Since the founding fathers were some of the most educated men in the new nation, they had to consider those who were not as educated. They came up with the electoral college. The electoral college is a system surrogate voters in each state. Each state is assigned a number of voters on population. The more population the more votes.  The largest number of electoral votes belongs to California.  You read more specifically from this government website.

I believe that the electoral college is outdated. With so many people graduating college now-a-days the system has no real use. I think that citizens are educated enough to be able to vote. I believe that the electoral college should be repealed and we should just on pure vote counts. This is not the only reform that I would make. I mentioned above that a reason why elections seem to be rigged was money. Money in politics is one of hot topics. Taking money out of politics is complicated though.

I think that the first step would be to eliminate salaries for all elected positions. Civic duty should be volunteer and not for profit. I do realize that Rome had paid senators and politicians. However, in the end Rome could not keep the empire together. Corruption can be credited with tearing down many democracies and tyrannies alike. A volunteer system would help bring out the good-natured candidates. The candidates who truly have a passion for serving the public good. The second step would be to eliminate the use of personal money in any election race. An election campaign should be done purely on fundraising. I see nothing wrong with people donating to a person who wants to run. There should also be strict regulation on fundraising money and what it can be used for. The third step would be to disallow corporations to contribute to any campaign. Corporations could still have their powerful lobbies. I think its wrong that business is in bed with government. It only leads to corruption.

In addition, speaking of corruption there should stricter regulations on the revolving door effect. I have given an example of this in a post involving Dick Cheney. In order to stop greedy politicians from stealing taxpayer into their pockets, every candidate should be forced to stop their connections with whatever business or former employers. The NSA has shown a knack for spying so it should not be hard to spy on candidates interactions with their former employers. Its reasonable spying because the candidates need to held accountable.

With my reforms I feel that government could run smoother and with less corruption. I would even take a step further by eliminating personal income for congress. This could potentially cut costs and save taxpayer money. Considering that al 538 delegates of congress make upwards of 174,000 and it will increase each year. If you do the math, that is a nice chunk of change. Cut their benefits and retirement, we are talking millions of dollars. I don’t think we should feel bad for them either, they are wealthy on their own plus they work less than teachers do. You can almost count on every single delegate stepping up their game or quitting all together. If we want congress to get stuff done, we have to make them work for it. Just like the millions that volunteer for campaigns across the country. Congress has a bad approval rating and they need motivation.

This may all sound great. However, we need to vote and young people need to vote in the masses! Thank you for reading!

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