News Release

A Better Election Next Time?


Richie is executive director of FairVote and co-author of Every Vote Equal and Whose Votes Count. He said today: “2008 was an historic election in terms of the election of the first African-American to be president and the largest number of voters at the polls in our history. But we have a long way to go to realize the promise of American democracy. In this modern age, there is no excuse for privately-owned voting machines that breed mistrust, confusing ballot designs, polling places with long lines, voter registration laws that leave nearly a third of Americans off the rolls, an Electoral College system that undercuts equality and voting methods that suppress voter choice and stifle fair representation. Amidst yesterday’s candidate races, key ballot measures showed that Americans are ready for change. Landslide majorities voted for instant runoff voting in Memphis, Tennessee, and Telluride, Colorado, early voting in Maryland and 17-year-old primary voting in Connecticut, while independent redistricting won a narrow win in California, and proportional representation barely lost to well-financed opposition in Cincinnati. I believe we will soon have an electoral reform wave reminiscent of the changes a century ago when we won direct election of U.S. senators, women’s suffrage and state changes empowering voters across the nation.”

Hasen is the William H. Hannon Distinguished Professor of Law at Loyola Law School. He said today: “The solution is to take the job of voter registration for federal elections out of the hands of third parties (and out of the hands of the counties and states) and give it to the federal government. The Constitution grants Congress wide authority over congressional elections. The next president should propose legislation to have the Census Bureau, when it conducts the 2010 census, also register all eligible voters who wish to be registered for future federal elections. High-school seniors could be signed up as well so that they would be registered to vote on their 18th birthday. When people submit change-of-address cards to the post office, election officials would also change their registration information. This change would eliminate most voter registration fraud. Government employees would not have an incentive to pad registration lists with additional people in order to keep their jobs. The system would also eliminate the need for matches between state databases, a problem that has proved so troublesome because of the bad quality of the data.”
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167