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Election reform


Election reform includes not only protecting voters' rights, but ensuring the integrity of the voting machines, chain of custody of ballots, and voting procedures. Those are controlled by the Supervisors of Elections in each county who conduct the elections, the County Commissioners who buy the equipment, the Secretary of State in each state who establishes the rules, and the legislatures that pass laws regarding election procedures and what type of voting equipment can be used. 


And of course, it involves addressing the corruption of our democracy by large donations from individuals, corporations and Super PACS that can sway the decisions of our legislators.




In Florida, despite home rule in charter counties like Sarasota which lets certain counties create their own local laws to protect their citizens, in 2010 the legislature passed a sweeping elections bill giving itself all power over elections and quashing the Sarasota County charter amendment passed by the people in 2006 for paper ballots and reasonable audits of voting machine counts to verify electronic machine integrity. In 2011 and 2012 the Florida legislature went even further to limit days for Early Voting, toughen ID requirements, prevent those who changed their address recently from voting on a regular ballot, tighten restrictions on petition-gathering, and impose severe limits and penalties on voter registration. All this was done by an 80% Republican-controlled legislature in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans in voter registration and Independents comprise another 20%. Something is wrong with this picture. The wishes of the people are not being fairly represented. Voting is being suppressed. 



Key to having fair representation in each state is the decennial electoral redistricting process. The need for redistricting reform is so critical nationwide and especially in Florida, that we are including it as a separate category among our core issues, even though it is part of overall election reform. If politicians can carve out electoral districts to make sure they get reelected, we have no democracy, but perpetuation of leaders who are less responsive to the people, and more to their large campaign donors. 



By connecting the dots among the issues of election reform, campaign finance reform, and media reform, and the overarching issue of corporate control of this country, we can see how these all bear on how the people of this country think and vote for candidates, and whether their votes are counted at all or counted the way they cast them. 

It is time for all citizens of this country to connect the dots, see through the hype, realize what each party stands for and how those philosophical differences guide what laws are passed. Electing leaders is not just about choosing the person with the smiling face and the friendly handshake and the good looking TV ads. There are long-term consequences of our votes. We must understand the differences between the candidates and the political parties, not be swayed by campaign promises, and make an educated choice of our elected leaders. And vote we must, to keep our democracy safe. See ACT NOW--Election Reform.

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