Voting and Democratic Reform
It is we [the major political parties] who have squandered the public trust, we who have time and again placed our personal and partisan interests before the national interest, earning the public’s contempt for our poll-driven policies, our phony posturing, the lies we call ‘spin’ and the damage control we substitute for progress. —Senator John McCain
Many citizens don’t vote because they object to both the Democratic and Republican candidates and feel it’s just a waste of time. For citizens that do vote, many of them feel they have no choice but to vote for the “the least of two evils". Unfortunately, using this logic, one always ends up with evil. Corrupt political parties and corporations thrive on this despair and inaction. However, democracy shouldn’t be about picking the least of two evils or not voting. The voting process should be about picking the leadership we truly want and the important message that choice sends to our fellow citizens, political parties, and all other would-be candidates.
If none of the candidates running for an office truly reflect your values, write-in your own candidate’s name and let the world know how you feel. If citizens would vote their consciences, political parties and independent candidates would scramble to learn more about this untapped power and how to satisfy it. However, with only 40% of citizens voting and mainly for Democratic and Republican candidates, the majority of America’s voice is silent and misunderstood. Furthermore, the more votes a political party obtains the more federal campaign matching funds it receives the following election cycle. These funds would allow third parties to grow, to challenge corrupt power, and to initiate true reform—so voting for a third party or independent candidate is never a "wasted vote".
Citizens can further enhance their contribution to the voting process and democracy by supporting Instant Runoff initiatives. Such democratic reforms will eliminate the "wasted-vote" and "spoiler" arguments as an issue, generate more choices for voters, increase voter participation, and ensure that a majority of the voters are heard. The Center for Voting and Democracy provides detailed information on Instant Runoff and other reform initiatives. The Vote Smart organization provides instructions on voter registration for each state.
If the people will lead, the leaders will follow.—David Suzuki
© 2002 by William C. Gladish. All Rights Reserved.