Grass Roots Democracy and Self Governance
The first of the Four Pillars that comprise the foundation of the Green Party is Grass Roots Democracy. It is also a fundamental precept of our system of self-governance, allowing for all citizens to participate in determining what our common goals are, what our mutual threats might be and how we should address them.
What we have had, for too many generations, is a system whereby two private organizations, the democrat and republican parties, are able to define the issues to be considered, using hot button rhetoric to divide the public into two factions. Whichever side gets more voters wins until the next election, and everyone goes home. Then the winners do what they can to help those who contributed the most to their campaigns.
That is not self-governance!
My candidacy alone helps to broaden the political dialogue, and I will continue to bring all voices to the table, raising those commonalities that bind us, even today. It will require compromise and forbearance, but I believe that is the only way for our government to function as it was intended, to affectively address the needs of all the people.
In order to strengthen our democracy, I will fight for legislation to make voter registration as accessible as possible for all citizens, reversing unwarranted restrictions on voters. I would like to see election day become a national holiday and I would support federal funding to provide election day transportation for those citizens who would otherwise be unable to reach their polling place.
I will support fair districting practices throughout the country, beginning with Pennsylvania, to reverse the current practice of loading districts with one party’s voters, according to the two major party’s designs, guaranteeing electoral wins for each. There is nothing more crucial to the fabric of our government than to ensure that everyone has absolute confidence that every candidate will have an equal chance to win in any given district.
I will also champion the cause of providing resources to bring the latest voting technology into our polling places, replacing the existing, digital screen machines, whose counts cannot be verified. There are less expensive machines which provide paper ballots, which are photographed and counted with an optical scanner. In case a recount is required, the ballots themselves or the digital images can be retrieved for actual verification.
I will push for an alternative vote counting process, Ranked Choice Voting, rather than continuing with the current “Plurality” system. One of the drawbacks to plurality voting is the so-called “spoiler” effect, where voters might fear that third-party candidates, running on the Green Party or Libertarian tickets, could siphon off enough votes to let their least favorite candidate win an election.
Ranked choice voting gives citizens a chance to be more completely heard. Voters assign a rank to each of their choices on Election Day. So, if your preference for a given office were candidate B, then C, A, and D, then you would rank those candidates first, second, third, and fourth. Ranked Choice Voting is a way to express your second (or third and fourth choices) rather than having to select only one.
Logistically, it works like this: The votes are counted, and if any candidate secures more than half of the first-choice votes, he or she wins. If no one has 51 percent of the vote, then the last-place candidate is eliminated. Say you voted candidate B first and candidate C second. If B came in last, she’d be eliminated and your vote would move over to candidate C. The votes are recounted, and this repeats until one candidate is the top remaining choice of a majority of the voters.