Heartless Libertarian's Voting Reform Proposal
Something that's been rattling around in my head for a bit, and it's based on two major observations:
1. There are too many people (roughly 40% of the population under current tax law) that pay no Federal income tax.
2. There are too many complete ignoramuses out there, without a clue as to what's going on or how our system of government was designed to work, who are nevertheless allowed to vote.
So, here's my proposal:
First of all, we're going to almost completely do away with absentee voting and mail-in voting. Mostly because it makes fraud way too easy, but partly because I think voting should actually take some effort. The only voters who would be allowed to receive absentee ballots would be those who were forced to be away from their home (and thus polling place) by government order - active duty military, diplomats overseas, and the like - and they must present a copy of their orders to obtain the absentee ballot. "Away on business/vacation" won't cut it - tell your boss you need to vote (I would make firing someone for refusing a business trip to vote against the law, but only if the employee could present proof that a)they were registered to vote at the time of the refusal and b) that they actually voted.), and plan your vacation at another time. And living in France sure as hell don't earn you the priviledge of voting absentee. You want to live in France, vote in France.
Second, registration. All voters would be required to re-register after each election for the House of Representatives. As soon as the election, and any necessary run-offs and challenges are complete, all voter rolls would be completely purged. Again, this is mostly because I think that the act of voting should actually require some effort. It would also have the positive side effects of de-registering dead people and folks who have moved but not bothered to inform their Registrar.
Third: only those people who actually pay taxes qualify to vote. Anyone (properly registered) wishing to vote must present a current 1040 showing that they (or their household, for married couples filing jointly) paid at least some amount of income taxes the previous year. A single dollar would do, as long it's something. And yes, I realize that this would require an Amendment. To that end, I would be amenable to modifying this section to to substitute that the 1040 show that a prospective voter cannot receive the majority of his or her income from any or all forms of public assistance, or possibly any source of taxpayer funds. People living on welfare and government employees are dependent on the politicians for their incomes, and thus have an inherent conflict of interest when voting.
Finally, all prospective voters must pass a basic test of political literacy, administered at the polling place on election day. The test would have two parts: first, a political literacy section, with questions pulled from the most current edition of the test given to people wishing to become naturalized citizens; and second, naming the candidates for the offices up for election. A score of 75% or better would be required to receive a ballot.
Gregoire Scores a D in Fiscal Responsibility
According to a new report from the CATO institute, the Governor Select's score puts her in the bottom half of the nation's governors. From the report:
Governor Gregoire has supported numerous tax increases on politically unpopular behaviors such as smoking, drinking, and driving. In her first few months in office, Gregoire pushed through a tax hike of more than $500 million, which included increases for cigarettes, gasoline, liquor, fuel, and vehicles. She also reestablished an estate tax after a previous version had been struck down by the state supreme court. The state government has enjoyed large surpluses in recent years from rising revenues, but Gregoire has blocked efforts to give back part of the excess to taxpayers, arguing that "a tax break is spending money."
A couple of thoughts:
-driving is only "politically unpopular" with the Governor-Select's core constituency of Seattle Leftists. The rest of us like it very much, thank you.
-I believe the unstated part of the quote from the Governor of King County is "a tax break is spending money...on people who didn't give money to my campaign.
I do feel slightly better knowing that the governors of Oregon and Idaho are actually worse than ours. But not much.