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 3148 times

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 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
  • Icy Cold and Cut Services Create Dangerous Perfect Storm for Homeless

    With number of people without permament housing rising nationwide and services for them falling, near-zero temperatures put thousands at severe risk As record-breaking cold weather sweeps across the nation this week, reports from around the nation show how the U.S. homeless population—which has risen dramatically in recent years—are being hit the hardest in the

    Read More
  • In Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack, Let’s Not Sacrifice Even More Rights

    EFF is stunned and deeply saddened by the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper. As free speech advocates, we mourn the use of violence against individuals who used creativity and free expression to engage in cultural and political criticism. Murder is the ultimate form of censorship.

    Read More
  • The Right Tries (and Fails) to Justify Its Assault on Social Security

    How does the right justify the kind of action Congress took this week, when it moved to cut disability benefits for millions of people by 20 percent? Answer #1: With buzzwords and rhetorical dodges. Answer #2: Not very well. For details on the House’s action, we pointed yesterday to a number of

    Read More
  • As Top Democrats Embrace a Robin Hood Tax, It’s Time for Activists to Go Big

    Americans who are serious about addressing income inequality have long recognized that the United States needs a Robin Hood Tax—a charge on financial transactions proposed by campaigners who have argued since the Wall Street meltdown of 2008 that “banks, hedge funds and the rest of the financial sector should pay their

    Read More
  • As France Mourns for Charlie Hebdo, Calls For Unity and Understanding

    'If this attack is allowed to feed discrimination and prejudice, it will be playing straight into the hands of extremists whose clear aim is to divide religions and societies.' As people across France and around the world mourn the death of the twelve people killed at the offices of the

    Read More
  • 'Hostage-Takers': Republicans Go After Social Security on Very First Day

    Advocacy groups vow to fight back against what they believe is a preliminary "stealth attack" that portends a wider assault on a program that makes survival possible for millions of vulnerable Americans As Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik immediately remarked: "Well, that didn't take long."  

    Read More
  • GOP Rule Change in Congress Signals New Dawn for 'Voodoo Economics'

    'Few economic theories have been as thoroughly tested in the real world as supply-side economics, and so notoriously failed.' A seemingly arcane rule change passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday night signals that a new wave of tax cuts for the wealthy and what has long been criticized

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

Featured News

  • #SOTU2015 #DemandERA White House Phone Blast +

    Please join us in supporting our President's bold agenda and in reminding him to "REMEMBER THE WOMEN" in his #SOTU address by vigorously supporting the movement 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
  • Russia Blamed, US Taxpayers on the Hook, as Fracking Boom Collapses +

    As Congress removes restrictions on taxpayers bailing out the too-big-to-fail banks, the right is blaming environmentalists and Russia for the 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
  • Rate of environmental degradation puts life on Earth at risk, say scientists +

    Humans are “eating away at our own life support systems” at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by 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

ESJ Calls

Featured Economic and Social Justice News

  • 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
  • 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 Read More
  • As Top Democrats Embrace a Robin Hood Tax, It’s Time for Activists to Go Big +

    Americans who are serious about addressing income inequality have long recognized that the United States needs a Robin Hood Tax—a charge Read More
  • 'Hostage-Takers': Republicans Go After Social Security on Very First Day +

    Advocacy groups vow to fight back against what they believe is a preliminary "stealth attack" that portends a wider assault Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Does Your Legislator Support the ERA

 

ERAMap