I believe that election reform is one of the most important issues of our time as fair representation is the essence of our democracy, enables and controls all government activities, and directly impacts the life, liberty and prosperity of all of our citizens, organizations and institutions.
I pledge to work tirelessly to improve our current electoral process and I am beginning that right here in Upstate New York by running as an independent candidate for Congress.
Why do we need Election Reform?
The decline of the American middle class has been underway for several decades and the people’s frustrations are showing up in a distrust of our institutions and our leaders.
The current election cycle, especially the presidential election, shows the people are decidedly anti-establishment, are hungry for new alternatives, and are frustrated by both parties. Registered voters who are not enrolled in any party, and who identify as independent, are at an all-time high of 40%.
At the root of many of America’s most pressing issues is the corrupting influence of unlimited and under-regulated money in the election process. An interlocked phenomenon is the corrupting influence of a self-serving duopoly of the two major parties. The combination of these developments has created the governmental dysfunction that prevents America from making progress in improving the lives of all its citizens.
Reform Campaign Finance
I will strive to bring transparency and accountability through reform that makes both donors and recipients accountable to, and trackable by, the voting public.
Revisit Citizen’s United – One person, one vote. We must move away from the notion of unlimited money in politics being equal to that of the citizen’s right to a vote.
Immediate Transparency of Donors. A critical step toward meaningful reform requires full and immediate disclosure of the identity of the source of those donations.
Enact tighter restrictions and regulation of non-voter donation organizations, such as the variety of Political Action Committees (PACs) and Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) loopholes which are being exploited to evade the intent of existing campaign finance regulation.
Restore Equal Representation
I will work diligently to ensure that Equal Representation is restored to our democratic system through a restructuring of Election Administration
Establish an Independent Redistricting Process – Our current process of putting politicians in charge of drawing up district boundaries has left us with gerrymandered districts making no sense to voters, but serve the politician’s interest to preserve “safe seats” so they can limit competition for re-election. We must take the redistricting process out of the political arena and develop a non partisan process that is fully transparent and measured against objective criteria for the rules which should define district boundaries.
Establish Non-Partisan Professional Boards of Election. Our current electoral process is overseen by Boards of Election comprised of appointed representatives of the two major parties who are beholden to their party’s interests ahead of the voters. Even though this entire process is paid for with our tax dollars, the nearly 40% of the electorate who are not in either major party have no representation or oversight to protect their interests. I will fight for converting to a system of non partisan professional board of elections who can be held accountable for staying true to our election laws representing the interests of all voters and candidates.
Ease Ballot Access requirements for third party candidates. Current rules place an unreasonably high bar for anyone considering running for office outside the major parties. We should be encouraging competition and choice beyond the major parties by making sure our ballot access standards can be achievable for new party creation, as well as the path to contest rules and rulings must be made to be fast, fair and inexpensive.
The Ballot Voting experience for the voter must present candidates in equivalent presentation layouts with no room for misunderstanding or user-error. Decisions made at State Board of Elections should be applied consistently across local election boards.
With most Americans consistently unhappy with their government, yet a 94% incumbent re-election rate, there is clearly something very wrong with this system.
Enact term limits for members of Congress
Establish term limits for committee chairmanships
Institute a lifetime ban for members of Congress from leaving office and becoming lobbyists.
One Set of Laws – Ensure members of Congress are subject to all the laws they pass
Reform incumbency perks like use of franked mail (at taxpayer expense), lulus (extra pay for leadership or committee work), use of staff and other taxpayer resources for campaigning etc.