Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Fix An Election

How To Fix Our Elections

TEN IDEAS for next time we try the democratic thing, so that the choice of the majority actually gets elected and we have a level field for all:

  1. Ban newspapers from deciding on who they call the front-runners: require that they report on all the candidates at the start of the campaign when registrations close. Short profiles.
  2. Use a Ranked Ballot system where voters prioritize who they'd like to see elected... 1,2,3, etc. This might avoid 20% deciding who gets elected - the way it is now.
  3. Ban public polling being released from January 1 to Election Day: candidates may have their own polls, but would be severely financially penalized if they released information.
  4. Make voting day a statuatory holiday, but make voting mandatory with financial penalties, only exceptions require valid medical waivers. Advance polls would still be available. Would require a 'None of the Above' option for voters to express dissatisfaction.
  5. Ban political parties from endorsing candidates and close the loophole whereby paid party staffers can work on campaigns as 'free volunteers' and inflate election war chests.
  6. City should erect 'Election Kiosks' at intersections and in public spaces like parks, libraries and community centres. Require candidates to post 8x10 sign outlining their platform, same size for all. No more waste production than necessary.
  7. Ban anyone from doing outside work (erecting signs, dispensing litereature, etc.) unless they are over 18 years of age. No more oops! mistakes about flouting election laws.
  8. City of Toronto Election Website should devote a web page to each of the candidates to upload their platforms and information. Allow 311 or a voicemail service to connect callers to 60 second audio pitch of candidates running in their wards.
  9. Limit mayoral debates to one a week in each of the city's 44 wards.
  10. Prohibit a sitting Mayor from publicly endorsing any candidates.
Yes, I know there are a lot of reasons to say no to these ideas, but I ask how well served we have been with the way things go now? Who really sets the stage for an election? Sound-byte scandal mongering media or the candidates and voters? Which do you prefer?

*Update: More voices being heard in the major disappointment the media has been in this election: