Monday, 10 November 2014 00:00

Sanders Calls for Voting Holiday to 'Fix' Failed Democracy

Written by  Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams
With rampant voter suppression efforts and a slew of dark money spending to sway voters, Sanders argues that now, more than ever, is when people need to demand their right to vote. With rampant voter suppression efforts and a slew of dark money spending to sway voters, Sanders argues that now, more than ever, is when people need to demand their right to vote. (Photo: Denise Cross Photography/cc/flickr)

Independent senator introducing legislation to create 'Democracy Day' to increase turnout

Responding to the "disgraceful" voter turnout for last week's midterm election—just 36.6 percent—Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt.) argued on Monday that the way to "fix" American democracy is for Election Day to be established as a national holiday.

"Can we be satisfied with a 'democracy' when more than 60% of people don’t vote and some 80% of young people and low-income Americans don’t either?" Sanders wrote in a Guardian op-ed published Monday.

The column follows Sanders' announcement late last week that he will introduce legislation in upcoming days calling for the creation of "Democracy Day" to provide all Americans with the time and opportunity to vote.

Crediting voter disengagement, as well as efforts by "Republican governors and state legislators" to "keep people away from the polls" for the low turnout, Sanders argues that now, more than ever, is when the voices (and votes) of those disenfranchised populations are most needed. He writes:

We must convince young people that if they vote in large numbers, we can lower the 20% real unemployment they are experiencing with a major jobs program. We must convince students that if they participate in the political process, we can lower the outrageously high student debt they face. We must convince low-income workers that voting can raise the national minimum wage to a real living wage. We must convince seniors that not only can we prevent cuts to Social Security – we can expand the paltry benefits that so many are forced to live on. We must convince the millions of Americans who are deeply worried about climate change that political participation can transform our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy – and create millions of jobs.

The United States currently ranks 120th in the world for average national turnout, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

Sanders acknowledges Democracy Day won't be a "cure-all," adding that public funding of elections and an amendment to overturn Citizens United are also essential to achieving "the kind of political system that the world can look upon as an example, not a failure."

Election watchdog groups charged that the 2014 midterms were the most "unfair, confusing, and discriminatory election landscape" in fifty years, with voters nationwide facing a slew of new voting rules and restrictions meant to suppress turnout. Further, this election also marked the most expensive midterm election in history with dark money groups spending $1 billion to sway American voters.

"Throughout American history, people have fought and died to protect our democracy and set an example for other nations," Sanders continued. "When billionaires and corporations tilt elections, conservatives suppress voting and crucial voters feel unengaged, what kind of example for the world is that?"

Link to original article from Common Dreams

Read 986 times

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Featured News

  • How The Immigrant Rights Movement Got Obama To Save Millions From Deportations +

    A battle raged among allies, publicly and behind the scenes, to shift focus from a legislative overhaul strategy to making Read More
  • Dozens of Activists Arrested in Battle Against a Fracking “Gateway Drug” in New York +

    Residents of New York’s Finger Lakes argue that gas projects would spell ecological and economic disaster for the region. Read More
  • Journalists Aren’t Covering Local Elections. Our Democracy Is Suffering Because of It. +

    Elections should be about important issues like economic policy, climate change and national security (to name a few). And with Read More
  • Loan Servicer Busted for Backdating, But Foreclosure Victims Say Shenanigans Haven’t Stopped +

    Chris Wyatt, a mortgage servicing executive of 20 years turned homeowners’ advocate, says he’s seen many homeowners run ragged on Read More
  • Upping Ante on Fossil Fuel Divestment, Harvard Students File Suit Against University +

    'By financially supporting the most dangerous industrial activities in the history of the planet,' say students, prestigious university 'is violating Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21

ESJ Calls

Featured Economic and Social Justice News

  • How The Immigrant Rights Movement Got Obama To Save Millions From Deportations +

    A battle raged among allies, publicly and behind the scenes, to shift focus from a legislative overhaul strategy to making Read More
  • Loan Servicer Busted for Backdating, But Foreclosure Victims Say Shenanigans Haven’t Stopped +

    Chris Wyatt, a mortgage servicing executive of 20 years turned homeowners’ advocate, says he’s seen many homeowners run ragged on Read More
  • If Labor’s Strategy Is as Good as Its Leaders Say, Why Are Unions in Crisis? +

    Three labor leaders walked into a bar. Okay, it wasn’t a bar. It was a slightly stuffy faculty club at Read More
  • The Great Recession, Six Years Later: Uneven Recovery, Flawed Indicators, and a Struggling Working Class +

    In July of this year, Barack Obama boasted of an impressive recovery the US has undertaken since the Great Recession Read More
  • Minimum Wage Measures Pass Overwhelmingly, Even in Red States +

    Measures aimed at raising the minimum wage passed overwhelmingly in the five states where they appeared on Tuesday's ballot. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Does Your Legislator Support the ERA

 

ERAMap