Today is the primary in many communities in the U.S. when eligible voters go to the polls to narrow the field of candidates for federal, state and local political offices. The general election will be held in November, and that’s when we’ll make our final selection.
Americans like to pat themselves on the back and tell the world about our great democracy and system of elections. The fact of the matter is that we’re in deep doo-doo.
Less than 50% of eligible voters in the U.S. take the time to vote — and in many communities the turnout is far less.
Why do Americans stay home on election day? One commentator suggests: (1) absence of trust in government, (2) the degree of partisanship among the population, (3) lack of general interest in politics, (4) institutional barriers to voting, (5) convenience, and (6) a failure of faith in the true effect of voting.
Another serious problem in our elections is the obscene amounts of money it takes to get elected.
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing to consider a constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Tom Udall to explicitly authorize Congress and the states to regulate the raising and spending of money for political campaigns, including independent expenditures. Last month, Vermont became the first state to call for a constitutional convention to reverse the infamous Citizens United decision which allowed a flood of $$ into our elections.
If all goes well, Palestinians will be holding Presidential and Parliamentary elections later this year. Clearly, Netanyahu isn’t a happy camper with this latest development of a unity government that includes Hamas. He vows to impede Hamas’ participation in the elections and won’t let the Palestinians hold elections in East Jerusalem. Shame on him!
I hope I’m back in Gaza by the time these elections occur. I’d really like to observe the voting process.
- Are women allowed to vote?
- If they are, do they vote independently or follow the lead of the man in the family?
- Is there voter coercion?
- Do voters use machines or paper ballots?
- Who is responsible for counting the votes?
- How are candidates selected to run for office?
- How do they campaign for office? Are there political ads in the papers and television? Campaign rallies?
- Is it expensive to run for office?
If anyone can share information about how the last election in 2006 went, I’d really appreciate it.