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David Horton Headshot

An American Orange Revolution

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I thought that after the madness of Florida in 2000 -- and the dark deeds of Ohio 2004 -- that the American people would have risen up, taken to the streets, manned the barricades, demanding that they be given an electoral system which matches their democratic ideals. Demanded an electoral system that might get somewhere close to the the way that all the other Western democracies conduct elections. Simple things really. Like not voting on a Tuesday, because of some 200 year old quirk, but a Saturday, to make it possible for many people to vote.

But most of all demanding that the people who (a) manage the voting rolls and (b) count the votes, be part of an independent electoral commission, not party political officials who have a strong interest in the outcome. How can it be that America, with its claim to be the first modern democracy, retains a system of managing elections that would be thought unduly cynical even in the worst of third world dictatorships? How can an American election result ever be trusted again, when votes disappear into locked rooms where the likes of Katherine Harris, and Kenneth Blackwell sit counting, having spent the previous months purging as many Democratic voters as possible before the "count" even began?

Each year, including this one, pundits write millions of words, wondering where the fix will go in this time, and speculating on what massive lead Obama has to have before he is safe from Diebold programming and hanging chads and purged rolls.

Before 2012, have an American orange revolution, fix the system. Demand an independent electoral commission to establish a nation wide electoral roll on which every citizen appears, and which counts the votes when they are cast. Ask for advice from other democracies on how to do it. How hard could it be?

David Horton also punditifies on The Watermelon Blog.