On Fair Voting
We claim to have a representative democracy in the US. Sadly, it isn't now and has never been. The idea of one person - one vote has never been implemented neither de jure or de facto. When the law leans toward equal representation the courts leans away. States are given constitutional power to configure their voting systems for both national, state, and local elections according to their state legislatures, and to suppress or deny the ability to vote. Political parties are given the ability to design election districts according to their own advantage. Our bicameral legislature gives just as much weight, or even more weight given the filibuster, to a weighting by state and not by citizen, voter or even count.
Most importantly, the weight of the states vote in the House of Representatives is determined by the Census which includes all people and not just citizens. This made sense when the Constitution and there was not a concept of citizenship, just residents.
With a fairly weighted and algorithmically generated voting system our elections would be determined by the content of the candidates ideas, their ability to clearly present them to the voter, and their ability to convince the voter of their efficacy.
I propose we fix the voting system so there it is fairly weighted at least with respect to the US House of Representatives and to the legislatures of the States and Territories.
An Amendment to eliminate voter suppression and encourage voter participation. No citizen having reached the age of 18 may be denied the right to vote in the district they reside for any reason. The right to vote shall be maintained by an independent agency, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) which has the charter to 1) certify the right of any individual to vote in any state or federal election, 2) determine the methods and rules of elections in order to encourage access to voting for every certified individual voter, 3) certify voters for these elections, 4) directly oversee these elections and the tallying process. The FEC will be overseen by a Board of Governors appointed by the President and confirmed by the US House of Representatives. The Governors will serve staggered 14 year terms. The US Congress will provide guaranteed, uninterrupted funding to run the FEC and the voting process.
This amendment immediately addresses the unequal weighting of various states voting methods and their ability to suppress voting. Felons, even those currently incarcerated, cannot be denied the right to vote. The FEC will be allowed to determine in which districts incarcerated felons may vote. I see the FEC as an independent actor much in the mold of the Federal Reserve. There will, of course, be political pressure as to who is chose for the FEC Board just as it is with the Federal Reserve. But these, by and large, are technocrats with a devotion to their two-fold charter - determine who can vote in an election by reasons of residency and citizenship, and to encourage the ability to vote, be it at poling places, drop boxes, by mail, by internet - whatever modern technology gives us. The FEC may mandate a direct chain of possession or dated ballots as long as it is the same everywhere. It could also authorize the USPS to perform certified ballot access. Or it may make voting available via the internet as long as everyone has access by some method. No voter should ever be turned away from voting.
I propose we eliminate the Census as a basis for assigning the number of seats in the House of Representatives.
An Amendment to assign the number of seats per state in the US House of Representatives, and the number of seats per voting district for State Legislatures. The number of seats in the US House of Representatives shall be assigned in proportion to the number of certified voters in the state on a date preceding the date of the election by 3 months.
This amendment addresses the unfairness caused by uneven immigration. By weighting the seats this way we give all certified voters an equal voice in our democracy. Some will say "but what about the unrepresented immigrant". The answer is simple - they are not yet citizens, they do not have the right to vote. If we want to fix the immigration and naturalization process, which is a laudable goal on its own, this is not the place to do it.
A more serious challenge is, how are we going to make new voting district maps in 3 months? How is the FEC going to do the job of certifying voters for a newly defined district in that short period? This can be answered two ways, first by relying on predefined algorithmic district selection. This is an age of powerful computers. It is not inconceivable to create an algorithm that identifies the primary residence of each certified voter and creates a district map that attempts to follow existing political boundaries, e.g. counties and townships, school districts, or local voting districts to define US congressional boundaries. If that cannot be done the algorithm can extend or retract boundaries according to a mathematical rule, e.g. minimize the boundary length. Similar methods can be used to define state legislative districts.
Another novel but more promising approach to speeding up redistricting is described in the next proposed amendment - the elimination of voting districts.
An Amendment to eliminate voting districts in the US House of Representatives. Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a single district comprised of the state or territory as a whole. The number of Representatives allocated to each state shall be determined in proportion to the number of certified voters residing in that state 3 months prior to the election.