Let's Talk About Electoral Reform (Update)
Update: List below edited to include new items. Most items now include key coded methods required.
As some of you know I took a high dive into the shallow pool known as Occupy North West Arkansas. Yes, you read that correctly, just down the road from Dog Patch and Bentonville, home office of Wal-Mart, we set up an occu- camp in Fayetteville. A few weeks later we tore it down before the authorities took the pleasure. Needless to say it's been quiet these last few weeks, but the unsettled spirit lives among at least a core group and I feel certain there are many out there lurking and hoping occupy or something much like it rises with the new year.
One area I enjoyed was the formulation of a Political and Electoral reform group. Since we are a small group involved in many areas, many of us live an hour or more drive from meeting sites, we have not had a lot of meetings. But I can report that the group is quite diverse with a wide range of education (or lack thereof) and backgrounds. I've been amazed at the desire for more democracy when discussing these issues face to face.
However, folks are easily distracted to say the least. I, the usual glass half full class clown, chess champion, have turned into a hall monitor! It began early with warning everyone about veal pen and astro turf phenomenon. People had no idea what MoveOn was trying to do early on. And still, today, it is difficult to get people to understand the inherent dangers of weasels like Move To Amend.
I quickly discovered a lot a fairly smart fairly well informed people out there have no idea about the beast and any number of methods it will quickly utilize in order to co-opt the movement. I was accused of wearing tin foil hats or being a Ron Paul fan for warning folks about the failings of the D party veal pen. Anything as long as they didn't have to look into basic details in recent or current events.
Since Move To Amend is new and little is known about it I have been unable to pierce their veil convincingly so far. But the problem lies in the fact many are ready to promote amendment language. Thus impatient folk will take what I believe to be poor, incomplete Move To Amend language and run with it. If that horse leaves the gate among enough occu-cities we may lose an opportunity to promote substantive reform... beyond the "end corporate personhood" and "money is not speech" bumper stickers.
So I want to present a small list of proposed electoral reforms I have in mind and ask you all for feedback in the form of line item approval, rejection, additions, or a block. The list is rough and in plain english. It's my goal to put together a proposed amendment which includes more points than what Move To Amend, Bernie Sanders, Donna Edwards et. al. have presented so far. I really appreciate any and all feedback.
1) End corporate personhood (or anything fictitious or which does not have a pulse) (Con A) (CT)
2) Outlaw the legal concept of money as a form of speech (Con. A) (CT)
3) Establish public campaign finance only (Con A?)
4) Establish multiple party access (SL)
5) Establish proportional representation (SL?)
6) Establish the ability to hold national referendums… two kinds… 6A) 50 percent plus one for specific issues, 6B) Matters of popular vote being able to directly amend the constitution by two thirds or more vote. (Con A)
Other possibilities: Some of which may or may not be considered worthy of amendment process.
7) Recall by vote. Establish ability for the people to remove/recall a president, senator or congressperson from federal office. (Con A)
8 ) Consider abolishing the US Senate (Con A)… or shortening the term to four years. (Con A)
9) 9A)Regulating media ownership by large corporations or very wealthy people. 9B) Also establishing our right to utilize the peoples airwaves in order to conduct public financed campaigns with equal access for all candidates or parties. (Stat)
10) Expand the number of members in the US House…. this is long overdue. (Stat)
11) Expand the numbers of Justices on the Supreme Court. (Also long overdue). (Stat)
12) Limit on corporate lobby money
13) Require signed paper ballots. A signed paper ballot should be given on request. (SL) (Stat)
14) Establish independent commission for reapportionment. End Gerrymandering. (SL)
15) Ban federal officeholder from entering any corporate sponsored institution or lobbying organization for a period of ten years after leaving office. (Stat) (Con A)
16) Abolish voter I.D. requirements (SL) (Stat) Con A)
17) Establish election day asa holiday. Or perhaps extend through weekends. (SL) (Stat) (Con A)
Key: Constitutional Amendment required (Con A)
Statutory - legislature may do this (Stat)
Could be changed in courts (CT)
State Legislature can do this (SL)