Why aren’t the Move To Amend and other proposed amendments to reverse the Citizens United and Buckley decisions sufficient?
It helps to remember the way it was before those decisions and what will not be changed by the proposed amendments. Legalized bribery in the form of campaign contributions will still influence the actions of elected officials; candidates will still avoid taking positions on critical issues and will ignore the concerns of voters; political parties will still enact policy “platforms” designed to attract voters and will ignore their promises once their candidates are elected, and voters will continue to be uninformed and turned off by elective politics. None of this will be changed by these limited proposals.
Aren’t there too may issues in the USVRA, and wouldn’t it be better to stick to a single issue?
Rather than reversing, reforming or restoring anything, the USVRA aims to transform the U.S. government into something that it never was, and each of the elements of USVRA is required to achieve that goal. The resulting government will be unlike any the world has ever seen. The voters will truly be in charge of their own government.
Since it is very difficult to get a constitutional amendment through Congress and to get the States to approve it, what makes the USVRA different? Why now?
A number of things are coming together in this election year which makes it the right time for a mass movement. There was the “Arab Spring” last year that awakened the ability of people to change their government and the rise of the Tea Party and Occupy movements have demonstrated that the American People are ready to work for change. It has become increasingly clear that there is an absence of leadership from both major political parties, or from either the executive or legislative branches of government. All of these things make it likely that a nonpartisan voters’ movement will find traction at this time.
Isn’t the right to vote already in the Constitution?
The 13th Amendment of 1870 prohibited the denial of the right to vote because of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude;” the 19th Amendment of 1920 prohibited discrimination against women in voting; the 26th Amendment of 1971 prohibits discrimination in voting because of age, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited voting discrimination or practices or procedures that have a discriminatory result.
However, the inherent right of every adult citizen, irrespective of race or gender, to cast an “effective” vote is not constitutionally required. While the legislative, executive and judicial roles are defined, the primacy of voters in our government is not explicit in the Constitution.
What’s the difference between a policy referendum and a statutory initiative?
A policy referendum differs substantially from the initiatives and propositions that voters often find on their state and local ballots. Most simply, a policy referendum does not make law; it creates policy.
Through their answers to a series of referendum questions, voters can effectively establish policy guidelines to be followed and implemented by those they elect. If an elected official fails to follow the people’s policy, then he or she has to be prepared to justify the deviation at the next election.
Aren’t the sanctions against the individual members of Congress for failing to formulate the referendum questions too harsh?
What other remedy for failure would be equally effective? The founding fathers never imagined that Senators and Representative would have lifetime sinecures; to the contrary, they imagined that there would be a constant turnover. Thus, perhaps it would be very good for the country to prohibit the reelection of any Senator or Representative who were a part of a Congress that failed to formulate referendum questions.
How would the National Policy Referendum work?
By joint resolution every four years, after seeking public involvement, Congress would identify the 12 most critical political questions that will confront the next Congress and newly-elected president.
The result will be that candidates for all elective offices, particularly presidential candidates, will be forced to take a public stand on a range of real problems, and referendum voters will be much more inclined to study the issues, to confront their own prejudices and to challenge the positions of others before arriving at well-thought-out conclusions.
The People will then make the policy for their government and can more easily hold their elected representatives accountable.
Why should there be a paid voter’s holiday?
The holiday would be to honor the voters, who are the foundation of a free and democratic government, and it would help ensure that there would be the maximum turnout of voters.
Why do we need a national paper ballot? In addition to the facts that voting machines are manufactured and marketed by political partisans who refuse to disclose their operating codes, that the computers can be and have been easily hacked, and that voting machines are mechanically and electronically unreliable and often break down during elections, they do not produce an auditable paper ballot completed and verified by the voter.
To effectively control their own elections, American voters must refuse to use computerized voting machines or any other electronic ballot. Instead, voters must insist on hand-countable paper ballots upon which to record their choices. Each ballot is, indisputably, evidence of an individual’s vote and, collectively, paper ballots serve as a tangible symbol of democracy in action.