TedderThere are numerous injustices in the United States election process that impede the execution of fair elections. There are violations of voting rights, unreasonable ballot access requirements for third parties and independent candidates, utilization of voting methods that promote the occurrence of two major competing parties, and the influence of political action committees. Injustices will be identified and prioritized. Specific ones to correct will be designated as Fair Election Advocates nonpartisan Crusades.
Retain the Georgia and Pennsylvania No-Excuse Absentee Ballot
Georgia and Pennsylvania are two of twenty five states that allow eligible voters to request an absentee ballot without providing an excuse for not voting in person. For the 2020 general election nine other states allow the fear of contracting COVID-19 as an excuse. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced during a Georgia House hearing on Dec. 23, 2020 his desire to eliminate no-excuse absentee ballot voting after fifteen years of implementation. Just months before the COVOD-19 pandemic, the Pennsylvania House and Senate voted overwhelmingly to expand absentee voting to all voters in the state. Millions opted to vote this way, but now Pa. Rep. Jim Gregory, a Blair County Republican who voted for this a year ago, wants to repeal it.
The 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder gutted key portions of the Voting Rights Act, which protected eligible voters from discriminatory voting laws. The court claimed those protections were no longer necessary. Since that ruling state legislatures without justification have enacted more restrictive voting requirements and access that infringe on the rights of the poor and minorities. Voting by mail reduces election costs, increases turnout (especially during a pandemic), and encourages people to vote down-ballot and make more informed decisions. One criticism of mail-in voting is the delay in determining the results which can be avoided by the legislatures authorizing pre-election day counting. Another criticism is the inefficient and subjective signature comparison for identification validation. The Help America Vote Act passed by Congress in 2002 allows a valid driver's number as adequate identification for an application for voter registration for an election for federal office. If the individual has no license the last 4 digits of the applicant's social security number is adequate. If the preceding criteria is adequate for voter registration it should be adequate for mail-in ballot voting identification.
If you live in Georgia please notify your legislators that you oppose eliminating no-excuse absentee ballot voting. You can easily access your Georgia state legislators via legis.ga.gov/members/senate for Senators and legis.ga.gov/members/house for House Representatives.
If you live in Pennsylvania please notify your legislators that you oppose eliminating no-excuse absentee ballot voting. You can easily access your Pennsylvania state legislators via legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator for either Senators or House Representatives.
The South Carolina Elections Commission conducts semi-open, partisan, plurality voting primary elections for the Democrat and Republican parties. The winner of each primary advances to the plurality voting general election. State recognized political third parties conduct self funded conventions to select their nominees to be placed on the general election ballot. Independent candidates qualify for ballot access by collecting and submitting petitions signed by registered voters. This process results in a diversity of candidates on the general election ballot. However, residents are hesitant to vote their conscience knowing that a vote for a third party or independent candidate reduces votes for their next favored major party candidate. This is why plurality voting perpetuates two major parties - regardless of political platform - and noncompetitive minor parties. Also, with plurality voting if there are two equally strong candidates and numerous less popular candidates the election winner will have received less votes than those cast for his/her competition. Ranked choice voting (RCV) eliminates both election deficiencies. A voter selects the idyllic candidate as first choice and the preferred major party candidate as second choice. If no candidate receives a majority vote on the initial count, instant runoffs are conducted using second and less preferred choices until a candidate receives support from the majority of voters.
A coalition of RCV advocates has planned a campaign to implement RCV in South Carolina. All who are interested in participating are invited to the Zoom kick off meeting on Jan 26. A registration link is available at Better Ballot SC Kick Off
The South Carolina Constitution grants all election authority to the General Assembly (legislature) and residents have no initiative authority. Therefore, the only way to implement RCV is by the residents convincing their elected representatives to pass appropriate legislation that must be signed by the Governor. The legislature is currently in session that continues through May 13.
Polling South Carolina Representatives
Now is the time for South Carolina residents to poll their representatives via telephone, email or postal mail asking them if they support RCV and if so would they sponsor a bill. Contact information for state representatives is easily found via S C Legislator Locator or if you know your legislative districts or the names of your legislators you can just click on the appropriate link in the "Polling Results" tables shown below. An example communication is:
Are you receptive to replacing the current plurality voting general election with a ranked choice voting general election? If receptive, are you willing to sponsor a bill to implement RCV?
Polling Results SC Senators
|16 M. Johnson|
|36 K. Johnson|
Polling Results SC Representatives