By Vic Berardelli, Special to the Bangor (Maine) Daily News
The only effective ballot reform is one that puts politicians in their place. The current crop of proposed citizen initiatives tampers with the voting process but keeps political egos inflated. The time has come to enact the negative ballot.
Petitions are circulating in an attempt to get a referendum that would have the voters select office holders on a rank-and-reallocate basis.
Basically, one would vote for the candidate of choice but be asked to mark a second choice among the other candidates. In theory, if no candidate wins a clear majority (50 percent plus one) then the lowest candidate is eliminated and the second choice votes under that candidate are allocated to produce a majority vote winner.
Our American election system is broken in no small part thanks to the primary election system. The Republican and Democratic parties have worked hand-in-hand for over a century to make ‘their’ party primaries the centerpiece of the entire electoral process.
In an age where 43 percent of Americans consider themselves politically independent of the two major parties, the twisted state-sanctioned closed primary election process prevalent in the majority of U.S. elections frequently leads to election results that are patently warped.
The transformation of American democracy to an open oligarchy is really quite amazing; I wonder how the Founders would feel about this development. A handful of uber-rich White men, led by the Koch brothers basically have bought the Republican Party, anointing the candidates they want in office. I wonder if those who register as Republicans fully comprehend what has happened. Just to be clear. The Democratic Party is also complicit in the sale of democracy to the ultra-rich. My general take away from all of this is: This is what happens when most of the citizens in the country don’t vote. We have no one to blame but ourselves and I, for one, have had enough.