In the wake of a hard fought, divisive campaign season and election, voters are left either licking their wounds or jumping for joy.
Hard fought and expensive, with estimates of nearly $6 billion spent on the presidential race alone.
That's obscene folks, and best left for a future post.
I would however offer three simple, necessary reforms for future elections:
1) Move future elections to the weekend. Why, oh why, do we insist on voting on Tuesday? The answer goes back to 1845, when our agrarian society and slower means of travel made Tuesday the most practical day. Dozens of countries vote on the weekends; it's time for Americans to do the same. Congress could act any time to make the change. In a nation where barely 50% of eligible voters vote, it can't hurt to hit the polls on Saturday and Sunday.
2) Allow online voting. I pay taxes, access medical records and review bank and investment accounts online. So why on earth can't I vote online? And why are voters stuck waiting in line at the polls?
Some folks feel patriotic voting in person. Me? I often feel like I'm wasting time and, in some ways, harassed. In Chicago, where I vote, we are subjected to a gauntlet of lawn signs and candidate solicitations on the way to the polling place. This year I voted early and waited nearly an hour. And what if we did have, say, over 70% turnout? How would we handle it? You would think a decade after the 2000 election fiasco and "hanging chads" we would be closer to a high tech solution.
3) Get rid of the electoral college. It's silly to have an election system where roughly half of presidential votes don't count. The electoral college is a zero sum game; there are no silver medals or points for wide victory margins; voting "blue" in a "red" state, or vice versa, is as meaningless as drinking Tab with a cheeseburger.
Why can't every presidential vote count equally? Though President Obama won the electoral vote by a landslide, the popular vote was close. If the popular vote decided future elections, whose to say either candidate wouldn't gain in the polls, as well as their "down ticket" candidates. The PBS documentary "Electoral Dysfunction makes a strong case that a popular vote would energize voters who see voting "blue" in a "red" state a pointless exercise. I realize eliminating the electoral college would require amending the constitution, but a guy can dream right?
What changes would you like to see in future elections? Thanks so much for reading and I would enjoy hearing from you.