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 3595 times

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • Snowden Document Reveals Huge Scope of Canada's Domestic Surveillance

    Canada's spy agency collects and stores millions of citizens' emails each year Canada's electronic spy agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), collects millions of emails and other information from its citizens and stores them for "days to months," according to a document leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and revealed by CBC News in

    Read More
  • What Is Right-To-Work? Wisconsin SB 44 Part Of Much Larger Battle

    Wisconsin lawmakers this week are considering what’s known as a right-to-work bill. It’s a deeply divisive subject in the Badger State: Republicans love it; unions hate it. In some circles, there’s even talk of a general strike, a kind of mass walkout that the U.S. hasn’t seen in almost 70

    Read More
  • IL Governor Rauner Gets $750,000 Tax Break – Proposes Slashing Services to Middle Class and Poor

    Illinois' new GOP Governor, Bruce Rauner, will personally receive a $750,000 per year tax cut as a result of his decision not to continue the state's temporary 1.25% income tax surcharge that expired last year.

    Read More
  • Republicans Eye Changes to Food-Stamp Program

    House Republicans are laying the groundwork for a revision of the food-stamps program after its sharp expansion during the recession. The effort kicks off Feb. 25 when the House Agriculture Committee holds the first of several hearings scheduled this year on food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

    Read More
  • GOP Assault on Social Security Could be 'Death Sentence' for Nation's Disabled

    The claim that either the old-age or disability trust funds has run dry is 'one of the hoariest lies in the conservatives' playbook.' Republican opposition to a plan that would shore up a critical government safety-net program amounts to a new front in the GOP's class war and could equal

    Read More
  • Amid Lopsided Recovery, Republicans Plan Cuts to Food Stamp Program

    'We cannot balance the budget on the backs of poor people,' said Rep.Jim McGovern House Republicans are reportedly renewing efforts to cut the federal food stamp program, increasing restrictions on benefits and who may qualify for them.  

    Read More
  • Public employee unions under fire again

    Public-sector workers are under fire again — and not just from Republicans. Three years after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker curtailed collective bargaining and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie cut pension benefits for public employees in the name of budget austerity, state and local politicians once again are moving to curtail public-sector

    Read More
  • How Texas could give up on its DREAM

    Is this check-mate? With Gov.-elect Greg Abbott poised to take over the governor’s mansion in the Lone Star State later this month, the Texas legislature will be in prime position to attack and ultimately dismantle one of the state’s most successful pro-immigrant initiatives on the books: the Texas DREAM Act.

    Read More
  • Amid Time of Soaring Inequality, Rich Say: The Poor Have It Easy

    Oxfam International's Winnie Byanyima says political leaders will ignore inequality at their own peril. According to the nation's richest people, the poor have it easy. Fifty-four percent of survey respondents categorized as the most financially secure said "poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without

    Read More
  • Yep, That's Right... "Free": Obama Plan Would Cover Community College Tuition

    Proposal put forth by White House would see federal and state governments pay for two years of college for all those able to maintain 2.5 GPA A new proposal unveiled by President Obama would make two years of a community college education "free" for all those who maintain a certain

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Featured News

  • What Is Right-To-Work? Wisconsin SB 44 Part Of Much Larger Battle +

    Wisconsin lawmakers this week are considering what’s known as a right-to-work bill. It’s a deeply divisive subject in the Badger Read More
  • Historic Win for Internet as FCC announces strong new rules to save Net Neutrality after over 5 million Internet users spoke out +

    February 26, 2015 – The Federal Communications Commission has just announced strong new Net Neutrality rules. Experts say the new rules Read More
  • Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill +

    WASHINGTON — President Obama on Tuesday vetoed a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, rejecting an effort by Republicans Read More
  • TPP Media March +

    Join our TPP Twitter Storm. Everyone with a Twitter account can participate. The Twitter storm begins on Tuesday at 9pm Read More
  • How Government Healthcare Saved My Daughter’s Life +

    My daughter, Kate, was born at Johns Hopkins hospital in 1994.  I had a private room for three days.  Most Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33

ESJ Calls

Featured Economic and Social Justice News

  • What Is Right-To-Work? Wisconsin SB 44 Part Of Much Larger Battle +

    Wisconsin lawmakers this week are considering what’s known as a right-to-work bill. It’s a deeply divisive subject in the Badger Read More
  • GOP Assault on Social Security Could be 'Death Sentence' for Nation's Disabled +

    The claim that either the old-age or disability trust funds has run dry is 'one of the hoariest lies in Read More
  • Amid Lopsided Recovery, Republicans Plan Cuts to Food Stamp Program +

    'We cannot balance the budget on the backs of poor people,' said Rep.Jim McGovern House Republicans are reportedly renewing efforts Read More
  • How Texas could give up on its DREAM +

    Is this check-mate? With Gov.-elect Greg Abbott poised to take over the governor’s mansion in the Lone Star State later Read More
  • Amid Time of Soaring Inequality, Rich Say: The Poor Have It Easy +

    Oxfam International's Winnie Byanyima says political leaders will ignore inequality at their own peril. According to the nation's richest people, Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Does Your Legislator Support the ERA

 

ERAMap