Isaiah Castilla

Elections: ‘We Have to Fix That’

Last night, the many months of political and ballot measure campaigning came to a close.  Millions of Americans, from all walks of life, came together to participate in the democratic process and exercise their right to vote.  Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, I think we can all agree on last night’s winner:  the voters.  Despite reports of long lines and even longer wait times, voters across the country confronted these obstacles and made a point to make their voices heard.

While volunteering with the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights election protection hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE, I witnessed the unnecessary stress placed on voters’ first-hand.  The issues ranged from defective voting machines to untrained poll workers who were unfamiliar with their states voter ID requirements.  As President Obama said last night in reference to long lines at the polls, “we have to fix that.”

In the coming months, we look forward to working with organizations and policymakers to protect the right to vote and encourage sensible reforms to the election process that empower, not discourage, American voters.  In the meantime, let’s give a round of applause to the voters, especially the displaced voters of New Jersey, who voted in large numbers despite the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy.


Beyond correcting obstacles to voting such as voter suppression through intimidation and/or voter ID requirements and defective voting machines, it is time to amend the Constitution to do away with the Electoral College and allow direct election of the President. Ideally, such an amendment would also limit the whole election process to no more than three months from announcement of candidacy through election day; change the specified election day from the first Tuesday in November to the first Saturday in November; specify a 24-hour voting period set up so that it covered every time zone for the exact same period of time, regardless of whether in New York or Hawaii; and include prohibition of specified voter suppression activities, with fines commensurate with the amount of dollars expended by those pushing voter suppression. Beyond that, Vote-By-Mail, which works very well in Oregon, should be an option extended to every State.

Meryle A. Korn Reply

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