Here in America, we pride ourselves on democracy. At least, we think we do. We use it to profess our “exceptionalism,” we use it to invade other countries and we use it to maintain our arrogant attitude. However, is American democracy really something to pride ourselves on? David Frum, contributor to CNN, Newsweek and The Daily Beast says no, and his argument is quite compelling.
No other democracy struggles this much just to vote. In other countries, there aren’t these issues with fraud, suppression and the constant threat of lawsuit.
Almost everywhere else, elections are run by impartial voting agencies. In France, elections are the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior, which establishes places and hours of voting, prints ballots (France still uses paper) and counts the votes. In Germany, an independent federal returning officer oversees a complex state and federal voting system. In Canada, federal elections are managed by a specialized agency, Elections Canada. Mexico, emerging from a sad history of electoral manipulation, created in the 1990s a respected independent agency, the Federal Electoral Institute. Brazil has nationwide electronic voting, producing instantaneous, uncontested results.
Why, here, is it any different? Likely because politicians — and thus political parties — control laws regarding voting. I do not believe political parties should have any kind of influence on how, when or where we vote. We need another way. The voter suppression, voter fraud and issues with voting machines, usually propagated by the right, are all evidence of this. Although as a progressive my causes are usually in line with the Democratic Party, I don’t believe they should control voting, either — we need a citizens’ movement to reform this vital area of our democracy.
The system we have now simply invites corruption. With the money in politics and the constant worry of something going wrong with your vote, it is obvious that it is time for change.
And that change needs to come before the next national electoral season.