Let the People Vote

America finally has a pro-democracy movement — and it did very well at the polls last week.


Comments: 235

  1. This the perfect thing for Democrats to own and run on in every single election at state, local, and federal levels. They need a catchy name for a 10 point pro voting/pro democracy plan that all Democrats can sign on to and they need unified messaging so this is mentioned at every single interview. When people ask “what do Democrats stand for,” this catch phrase should be automatic to everyone in the US.

  2. Vote for democracy, vote democratic

  3. @Edward Bosch Good idea but if you haunt the conservative interwebs, their response will be "But we are a Republic, not a Democracy". Inside ball that conservatives understand that doesn't change anything, but it's an easy way for conservative voters to dismiss the effort.

  4. Linked with health care, this will be the issue that makes 2020 the decisive election 2018 should have been. We must all pray (or whatever we do if we do not pray) that the opposition to the GOP can form a single entity that gives the nation the new start it has need since the disastrous election of 1980.

  5. @Ruskin This election was decisive in many states.Two examples: In Wisconsin, top state officials are now all Democratic, including the new governor who will help reshape gerrymandered districts in 2020. Here in Colorado, a blue wave created a complete Democratic takeover of state government, and we established a neutral commission to create legislative districts in the future. Rather than pray, what has made the difference is organizing, connecting with voters, and helping them get to the polls. These activities will continue, thanks to the momentum and energy generated by this election. We are on our way to a more representative democracy! Democrats for democracy should be the new slogan.

  6. There is power here and it is coming from one place, the ballot initiative. We have this right in Missouri and probably (hopefully?) most other states. This is where the citizenry circulates a petition and gets enough signatures to place legislation on the ballot. In super red state Missouri, we just legalized medical marijuana, raised the minimum wage and enacted measures to redistrict the state in a non-partisan fashion. There is no way any of these measures would have gotten through ultra conservative state legislature. I'll tell you what else this does. It bypasses the paid off politicians. The vote goes directly to the people. So! Here is what we should do. People need to be educated about this process. I would like to see this paper lead the way and produce articles about how to get a ballot initiative accomplished. Show the public the power they have and how to use it. Investigate the various state requirements. If the NYT can show us how to bake a souffle, it can show us how to enact legislation on our own. Instead of feeding the bottomless pit of political contributions, we should set up go fund me type websites to fund these initiatives. Put our money where it will generate real results, not buy these horrible campaign ads. We can use this process to shift voting away from polling places and into our hands. This will cut off voter suppression at the knees. We can take our country back if we do it ourselves.

  7. @Bruce Rozenblit, I'm afraid most states, such as my supposedly liberal one, don't have the voter initiative.

  8. We need a voter initiative for early voting. Missouri voters want it but I’ve heard that Missouri doesn’t have early voting because of what it would cost. Early voting states aren’t going broke because of it. The (now defeated) county clerk in Boone County was actually threatening to prosecute anyone who falsely claimed one of the few acceptable reasons for obtaining an absentee ballot. He was Republican. It’s not about money. It’s about control over who gets to vote, and fear by ruling politicians in the state of majority rule.

  9. @Bruce Rozenblit. What I love is that this comment encourages focusing on policy over politics. Policy is intended to unite and empower us; politics is intended to divide us and empower the establishment.

  10. Amen! And there is a long list of necessary reforms, even going beyond those mentioned by Mr. Leonhardt. For example, in my state there is still no early voting. Why not? We had to rely on the state Supreme Court to fix our gerrymandered congressional districts. Why don’t we have a nonpartisan commission to do this? And so on. Progressive Democrats could certainly make this a key part of their program in 2020.

  11. @J Johnson I vote PA doesn't waste money on new machines for 2020; we should just go to a mail-in ballot. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. There are a couple of different systems currently being used.. Oregon has a great one.

  12. A POTUS like Trump stimulates The impulses that he so hates, So vulgar, so vile So gauche all the while Without relief he irritates. A pleasure to wait in the rain Not to hear lies again and again, From not even third rate A near decerebrate The Midterm vote wasn't in vain!

  13. Voting is not that hard. It can be inconvenient, but so are lots of things. A good percentage of people would seem to have little interest in voting regardless of the effort involved. Maybe some more attractive choices on the ballot would spur more interest. Most of the incumbents on my ballot were unopposed and have been since I can remember. Proposed additional "restrictions", such as showing an ID, are hardly extreme. More early voting, greater capacity, and expanded hours would be nice. Around here, how quickly you are in and out is very neighborhood dependent. I was in and out in less than 15 minutes and I live in a, comparatively, low rent part of my city (so you can shelve the privileged rejoinders). This is largely a quirk of the block I live on. Same voting location, other people had a good 30 to 45 min wait. It's always this way. Morning, mid-day, or evening.

  14. @Daphne, you write from a position of privilege. If your job keeps you busy until you have to rush home to take care of the children, and your employer fires you if you miss part of a day's work, voting is not "not that hard".

  15. Why not mail in your ballot, or go for the early vote?

  16. @Thomas Zaslavsky Hardly. But you'll believe what you want so go right ahead.

  17. Thanks for the encouraging spin, but I feel discouraged that you didn't mention the biggest and most urgent obstacle facing democracy: corruption. Until the political and legislative processes are taken off the auction block, we may be able to vote, but it will still be the 0.01% offering us our choices, and telling our elected officials what they're allowed to do.

  18. Civics - that really boring course where we learned the outline of the federal government, the difference between federal and state govements, that we could be called for jury duty, the boys needed and still to register for the draft - needs to be a required course. Back in the day, in New York, everyone who went to academic and trade high schools had to take it and, pass in order to graduate. We might have been bored in hgih school but when we needed that knowledge a few years later we had it

  19. @JFF In my state of Illinois, the course wasn't called civics, it was called "government." I remember a question that asked the length of term for a U.S. Senator. I properly answered "6" but the instructor thought my "6" looked like a "10." I approached him and objected and he corrected my score. I started voting when I attained the required age (21 then) and have voted in every election since, sometimes by absentee ballot when I was in the Navy.

  20. @JFF plus, a requirement that all presidential candidates pass the citizenship test that all new citizens must pass AND pass a law that ALL party nominees for president must disclose at least 20 years of annual federal income tax returns.

  21. Yes, but to reinstate Civics courses, we first need to undo GOP voter suppression so we can vote in the party that is actually willing to prioritize education spending in our budgets.

  22. How about advocating for making every Election Day a national holiday. It is often difficult for those who work to get to the polls. Many are just too tired to fight the long lines after work. Where I voted there were booths for picking up voter materials that were especially crowded and others totally empty. Some of the machines in Manhattan broke which made for especially long waiting times to file your ballots. This could easily discourage some people from voting and every vote counts. Maybe the liberals and progressives could work on some of these issues to relieve the stress some of us have experienced.

  23. @WPLMMT One party wants every American to vote and the Republic Party wants to suppress every Minority Americans vote.

  24. @WPLMMT. Not needed for mail-in ballots!

  25. Democracy is indeed the winning issue. So what we need is legislation to fund the polls, the machinery, train the volunteers, make the process of volunteering at polls simple and well-known. I'm stating a list of measures I want to see. Asking others to add to it. We need all the following: Automatic registration at eighteen Election Day as a Holiday Secretaries of State who run for office must resign their position as soon as they announce for office. Establish a maximum number of voters per voting apparatus- machine or carrel. Voters receive a physical receipt or ballot stub after voting—as we do when we visit an ATM machine or buy gas. Eliminate electronic voting machines—those without receipts to be phased out. Candidates for office cannot own shares in voting machine industries, as Senator Chuck Hagel did. Reinstatement of those who served time for felonies after they serve their time and successfully complete parole. Currently Rick Scott of Florida denies virtually all petitions from ex felons. Combat Gerrymandering Accept student IDs I’m also curious about whether, under Republican governors and secs of state, whether election budgets are cut, and hardware is allowed to become outdated, hidden, allowed to get old and break down.

  26. @Naples Also, phase out the Electoral College, or bypass it by having a majority of individual state legislatures pass laws requiring proportional electoral votes instead of “winner takes all” assignment of electoral votes.

  27. @Sharon And what would you do once the popular vote calcified against Democrats, as it would eventually do? I suspect the majority would be unlikely to agree to re-institute the electoral college. The electoral college system is a vital tool for change in our federated system. Without it we could easily see the end of split government and the checks and balances and relative dynamism that it gives to our system. One potentially viable alternative to the electoral college system might be to move to a parliamentary system like Britain’s. That approach does allow for rapid changes when the situation calls for it. But that is an enormous re-do, and there’s good reason to think it would not work in the US anyway. So given our Presidential + Congressional system, we gain a lot from the way the electoral college shifts power around among different interests. Sometimes the majorities in the most influential states line up with the views of the national majority at that moment, and sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, we get a chance to pay attention to and debate issues that the national majority would otherwise ignore or suppress. That shifting of attention is really, really good for democracy!

  28. @Wayne The biggest problem with the electoral college is that a state's votes do not reflect the number of people who actually vote. That state gets the same votes whether they have 5% turnout or 95% turnout, hence the big political incentive to minimize turnout and push voter suppression. So keep the electoral college and give each state a proportion of it's electoral college votes that reflects how many of its population actually voted

  29. Here in Oregon we vote by mail. My ballot arrives two weeks before the election. I fill it out that day and put it in the ballot box next to the county library. Done. I often wonder why the rest of America has such a hard time participating in elections. Maybe it's become too complicated. Do you ever wonder why? It's for the same reason that pickpockets like crowds. And for the same reason that Big Pharma likes the confusion of modern health care.

  30. @caveman007 Do you not wonder what happens to the ballots placed in the box at the library? How can you be absolutely sure they cannot be tampered with? The only foolproof system is paper ballots cast on election day and then counted in the polling place immediately the polls close under strict supervision and with party scrutineers looking on.

  31. @caveman007 Thanks Caveman! I put Senator Wyden's message inviting all to consider this common sense voting system into place. I imagine he's tired of telling his colleagues the same. Plus he's on the Senate Intelligence Committee and cares about privacy as well as getting out the vote to all. And it's important to note, this system does not take a longer time to tally votes--because it's designed properly, and with safeguards!

  32. @James Rennie. The ballots can be picked up and monitored the same way. There is no bar to that. And they can be counted as they come in, reducing the madness of single-day counts. Mail-in ballots are the best.

  33. All the states need to adopt Colorado's voting system. All registered voters receive a ballot in the mail. You can fill it out at your leisure, researching what you need to. You can drop the ballot off at your convenience, no lines. There is a physical paper ballot for audits and recounts. If we all voted this way, it would make voting much easier.

  34. @catlover If banks can successfully tally all the transactions that they do, then one transaction AKA a vote shouldn't be as troublesome as it is being made.

  35. @Butterfly If electoral commissions maintained a full-time staff and spent millions of dollars a year on their computer systems, and if they tested them every single day, and if the commissioners and the voters stood to lose money if any errors appeared, and if the entire system were regularly audited, and if failed commissions were taken over by the Federal Government and then sold to other commissions, then yes, online voting would probably be about as safe as online banking. In other words, if elections had all the infrastructure that banks use, computerized voting might work. Until then let’s stick with paper ballots.

  36. In Australia we vote on a Saturday, which is much easier than a Tuesday. Registering to vote is also relatively straightforward. And we have an independent electoral commission which is in charge of organising and conducting elections (setting seat boundaries, maintaining the electoral roll etc.), thus taking political partisanship out of the equation. It is also compulsory to lodge a paper vote (no machines as yet) in person on the day (or earlier at designated polling places), or by mail, although whether you actually mark the ballot paper is up to you. There are certainly criticisms of our preferential voting system, but we don’t face anything like the same problems as America with regard to such issues as gerrymandering, voter suppression, or access to polling places.

  37. @David Thank you for your comment. We in Oregon vote by mail in a system that is safe, quick and designed intelligently. One can also drop off ballots at a designated (safe) voting place if that is their choice or need. We don't need to use a computerized or vote online system in our elections! As a person who knows how easy to hack any computer (Masters of Library and Information Science) why mess around with computers when a simple, well-designed system that guarantees safety and quick tallying has already been proven? It's working well in other states as well! (and has a tracking system) Also, believe it or not, scads of people are still not comfortable navigating computer technology and many people cannot get to polls because of many types of disabilities.

  38. @GreenSpirit That sounds like a good system. It's odd that there is so much variation between states, with some clearly more reliable and efficient than others. And you're right about the potential vulnerability of online voting, especially with concerns about Russian interference.

  39. The Democrats controlled the House of Representatives for 40 consecutive years, and I never heard one of them complain about gerrymandering, or how the Senate is chosen, or the Electoral College the whole time they were in power.

  40. Did you ever hear of Democrats working as hard as they could to make it as difficult as possible for American citizens to exercise their right to vote? Did you ever hear of Democrats purging voter registrations before an election? Did you hear of Democrats doing everything they could to stop the counting of votes after the polls had closed? No. That’s because it Democrats support the right to vote as an essential cornerstone of Democracy. It happens with Republicans. Do you ever wonder why?

  41. @Charlie Reidy Good point. Back then the representatives seemed to represent people, not acreage. No need to complain. Not so any more. Time to fix it.

  42. @David grad Well, expanding suffrage is a relatively new ideal for Democrats; they have slowly given it attention in the past four decades after a century of opposition. The truth is that both parties have resisted voting rights when they felt threatened. Their perception of the threat has changed over time, and it will change again.

  43. To give the demos, the people, the best chance to preserve the right to vote we must have a constitutional amendment establishing the right to vote. The Republicans, beholden to wealthy corporate elites who want to retain their monopoly on power, will continue to find covert ways to deprive Democrat-leaning people of color of the right to vote. As long as this right remains missing from the explicit black letter of our U.S. Constitution, voting rights will remain a chaotic patchwork of laws that vary from one state to the next, ensuring frustrating and embarrassing delays in obtaining national election results and inviting vote fraud. Voting rights activists must continue the fight to enshrine the right to vote on two fronts. Since a constitutional amendment would take some time, they must push the incoming Congress for a comprehensive Voting Rights Act early next year. The Democratic majority in the new House of Representatives should make the drafting and introducing of a Voting Rights Act a priority early next year. Even if the activism fails, it will let the Republican Party and its wealthy boosters know that we common Americans take the voting franchise seriously, will not tolerate the suppression of our right to vote, and will continue to fight to preserve it.

  44. We also need to address the imbalance of the ratio of voter to U.S. Representative so that people in the morenpopulous states are fairly represented, rather than under represented as they are now. This would also help to balance the Electoral College. There is a serious concern about our monitory-majority government and a general lack of fairness that when more people vote for something they lose. More people voted for the other guy for president and lost. More people voted for the other Senators and lost, meaning that recent Supreme Court justices were confirmed by people representing fewer votes than the Senators who voted not to confirm. The same for every issue that passed through Congress the past few years. Republicans simply represent fewer voters, yet have an outsized amount of power to enact laws that go against the will of the majority, and our system of government gives little recourse to the majority, It can be very disheartening at times.

  45. @Karen Instead of the sysiphean task of restructuring our entire political system (probably requiring a change to the Constitution along the way), it would be much easier for Democrats to win back the relatively small number of rural voters they need to control the Senate and the Electoral College. Remember that it used to be farmers who supported Democratic policies, while cities tilted rightward. The rural democratic vote was key to many progressive successes. Republicans complained about the disproportion back then. Without that disproportion, lots of good changes would have been stopped by the majority. There is a lot of wisdom in an approach that hands the megaphone around, temporarily amplifying the voice of minority groups in unpredictabile ways.

  46. @Wayne That does NOT solve the problem of under-representation. The House is limited to 435 seats which is totally arbitrary. Here's a piece about it: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/09/opinion/expanded-house-representatives-size.html It's painfully obvious that some voters are WAY more equal than others - specifically, the same tyrannical rural voters who are destroying our environment, attempting to pack the courts with right wing judges, steal public lands, etc. There is no way a person in Wyoming should be so much more powerful than a Blue State person. None. We're all equal, so we should all have an equal voice in government.

  47. @Sophia, Regarding the Great Compromise in the Constitution, I agree that the Senate system needs an update, and with it the Electoral College, but the smaller states will never agree to give up their power without compensation. What can we offer them in return?

  48. Good article with the exception of setting voting age at 16. Driving a car has little correlation with voting that I can see. How about counting absentee ballots in advance by poll workers sworn to secrecy as they come in?

  49. @kwb Whenever the issue of lowering the voting age to 16 is raised in the pages of the New York Times, I see comments like yours. It's both naive and insulting to assume that 16 year olds are any less capable of exercising the franchise than their parents or grandparents are. I'm 33 and I know a great number of people well into their 30s and 40s who are, to put it charitably, extremely low-information voters; my aunts and uncles, now well into their 60s and brainwashed by decades of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, are almost wholly untethered from the basic facts of public policy in the United States, yet no one seems to be questioning their right to cast a ballot. The fact is, teenagers have more skin in the game than most Americans on the issues presently facing our nation's politicians; they deserve a voice in the process. All are captives to an educational bureaucracy that subordinates the students' interests to those of teachers unions, administrators, and religious organizations with a moralistic ax to grind; many are on a path to higher education funded largely by debt; and those who are not already paying taxes will soon join a labor market in which their ability to find work will hinge largely on quality of the secondary eduction they're presently receiving. Finally, of course, there is the civic consideration: how can we expect these young people to take seriously the civic education they're receiving, while telling them that they're not competent to cast a ballot?

  50. @kwb When I first voted, the voting age was 21. I applauded the change from 21 to 18. I don't think 16 year olds should vote, because at that age it's all about your parents & teachers. Do you support them or are you in rebellion against them? In more primitive societies you may be an adult at 16 or even younger. In this society, you're not.

  51. This column was a breath of fresh air. Voting by mail appears to be the way to go toward leveling the playing field by eliminating many of the pitfalls, bottlenecks, and snafus of the current patchwork of voting processes. My big hope is that the pro-Democracy trend will encourage more states to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to insure that the President is elected by popular vote. The current system causes too much focus to be put on the issues of a few key battleground states while taking the rest for granted. I, for one, am truly tired of the tail wagging the dog all the time.

  52. @Ray Barrett Careful what you wish for. If the President were elected merely by popular vote the interests of the vast majority would be ignored, and all the attention would go to the awing voters. It’s likely the average swing voter at the national level would be swayed by only a small number of issues, so discourse would become more limited and more calcified. The state-by-state approach has many advantages, including the way it stirs up new issues as the balance of electoral power shifts among states. And it gives easier entry points for new issues. Want immigration to be more seriously discussed in the Preaidential election? Engage on that topic in Arizona and Utah, where opinion on the topic is flexible and changing. Want more attention on health care? Concentrate on Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky. By leaving so much power and influence at the state level, our federal system stirs the compost bin of democracy and keeps things healthy and vibrant. Just learn to use it.

  53. @Wayne, No Wayne. Today, the country is ruled by the tyranny of the minority. You speak of political power as if it's "geographic." Nothing could be further from the truth. No one is forced to live in ND or KS, so why should the interests of arbitrary state lines have anything to do with the election of our most important political leaders, especially president. The president is supposed to represent everyone, equally. It stands to reason that everyone's vote should count equally.

  54. @mrfreeze6 It’s not geographic, but it is cultural. And those cultures give us a variety of starting points to bring issues to the fore and to keep power from becoming calcified. If state lines were as arbitrary as you claim, voting trends should be roughly the same everywhere. But regional and local cultures are real and do matter. It’s great that Oregon has a better voting system, for example. Democrats should re-learn how to benefit from these differences, for everyone’s gain.

  55. Wonderfully great for American democracy -- voters showed up at the polls. Too bad we are governed by a devious oligarchy, that we've lost the concept of checks and balances, and embarked on a national policy of aggressive isolationism. Also too bad about the obsolete electronics -- dragged out of some warehouse every few years -- that are the new voting machines.

  56. Voting in Florida can be a 4 to 5 hour process in tough weather. Only because ”they” have shortened voting days and closed polling places. And still have touch screens, with no paper trail. Apparently if you mail a ballot in Florida it may not be counted; I always watched my Orlando ballot go into the machine. Now voting in NC; comparing this easy experience with family in southeast FL, the difference is SAD.

  57. "Any Democrat considering a 2020 run for president should be working on a democracy plan, much as any Democrat running in 2008 had a health care plan." I fully agree. If people are really incensed that democracy is failing, that's a GOOD thing. Because it is, and to change something, you have to accept it exists. Tonight I heard more evidence of how Trumpism--a key part of which is making voters doubt the integrity of our institutions--is causing people to lose faith in democracy. I'm speaking specifically of those who--with zero evidence--are saying liberals are stealing votes, that how could all these "new votes" just surface out of nowhere? They didn't surface out of nowhere--they're big piles of mailed in absentee and same-day provisional ballots (from voters whose initial registrations were illegally suppressed)--valid ballots that just need to be counted. No, Rick Scott and Donald Trump: they aren't fabricated, they're real. As Andrew Gillum said, you can't stop counting just because the numbers suddenly aren't going your way.

  58. It’s actually shocking to me at this stage that so few state have converted to vote-by-mail. Good grief. It ain’t that hard and it works for voters. It’s a proven system now, not some exotic idea. Ballots arrive in the mailboxes of registered voters, we vote at our leisure and send them back no later than Election Day. Ballot counters check the signed ballot envelope against signatures on file. A really great benefit is there’s a PAPER trail. The one downside is the counting process takes time and it can take more than a week to know the outcome of a close race. A small price to pay.

  59. @Harry Isn’t it great that our States can be so different from each other, and do things so differently? If it were up to the majority at any point in time, we would probably never see vote by mail anywhere. But because Oregon and Washington (among a few others) can take their own path on so many topics, other states get to watch and learn the practicalities of vote by mail. And perhaps it will grow!

  60. @Wayne it is great. States often show the way, especially lately. On the issue of mail voting, I do think that it is well beyond experimentation to the point where state legislatures that ignore it for the old method are into the realm of malfeasance. They’re hurting citizens.

  61. I've voted by mail in WA State for many years. There have been no major controversies or claims of fraud. It seems that other states with mail-in voting are quite satisfied with the results. But, I fear, the powers-that-be (conservatives) would reject this nationally because it would mean, in many cases, that they could no longer cheat their way into power. As with the electoral system, immigration, infrastructure and health care, there are workable solutions, but the cynical truth is that those in power love things just the way they are.

  62. Voting by mail is wonderful. We have had it in Washington State for several years. Vote by mail is convenient, lowers costs, is more difficult to hack than electronic voting machines, and it provides an audit trail. It increases participation and reduces barriers to voting for people with busy schedules or disabilities. It prevents low turnout due to inclement weather on election day. Coupled with automatic voter registration, vote by mail can solve the problem of low voter turnout in the United States. Since it lowers costs and is much more convenient, there is no reason that all states should not adopt vote by mail.

  63. @MVonKorff We also have a long history of every voter receiving a comprehensive voter's guide from the state. This is supplemented by detailed county voter guides. Our state guide includes a copy of the entire wording of any initiative or referendum on the ballot, as well as the summaries and statements for and against, with rebuttals. First the guides, then the ballots, return-postage free this year. We in Washington are lucky to live in a state where voting is taken seriously.

  64. @MVonKorff Yes, but look for the Republican Party to try to gut and destroy the U.S. Postal Service if voting by mail turns into a nationwide trend.

  65. Just as important: We need to break the two-party system! Neither party holds positions that fully align with the beliefs/preferences of many (most?) people in this country. Where does a pro-choice fiscal conservative fit in? Currently, the voters have to compromise their own values; but Congresspeople and Senators don't have to compromise at all! The two-party system has moved beyond merely dysfunctional; it's now tearing our country apart. (Mostly due to Republicans' obstructionism, greed, and placing partisan power above the needs of the people.) Having 3-4 parties would force all parties to form coalitions in order to pass legislation; these coalitions could shift depending on each issue at hand. Sure, multi-party systems come with their own set of problems. But our system is clearly broken; they can't be any worse than what we've got now. (Of course, it wouldn't be so bad here if the Republicans returned to being reasonable human beings. But I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.)

  66. @Paul-A I believe that most Dems are as greedy as most Repubs. They're also as likely to be hawkish & support the military/industrial complex without limit. There is one major difference between the parties, which is that Dems. are likely to be social liberals, (ie) inclusive with respect to race, national origin, religion, gender & gender preference. Repubs., not so much.

  67. The final triumph in making ours a representative democracy would be abolishing the Electoral College. The gimmickry of this antiquated system will keep allowing a majority to be thwarted by a minority, as it did in 2016 and 2000.

  68. I am dubious that there is a pro-democracy movement. The races excited the dems and the turnout was good but the results were so-so. Carrying that forward to the next federal and state elections will be the challenge. I will reserve judgment. Folks who are not seniors are less likely to turn out. They will say: "I voted but things did not change." If the dems are not careful, what they do over the next 2 years could drive away any enthusiasm this year's races engendered. While the dems are looking to attract more of the right center, they need to attract/keep the left center as well which is where the younger voters are. Perhaps a younger leadership team can be mentored by the leaders of past dem power. Perhaps dems can be more clear about what they stand for and not have folks confused about such as the differences between the ACA and Obamacare. Things got this way over the long run with the dems complicit in some of it. They should acknowledge that and improve. What David Leonhardt calls a pro-democracy movement is just a lighting of a small flame, one that needs to be nourished and encouraged. It will take a long time to recover our democracy. Voting is necessary but not sufficient.

  69. @JohnK ACA (affordable care act) IS Obamacare. Th expanded medicaid part of it is great. What's wrong with it is that taxes are paying insurance companies to give health care to those who can't afford it & people whose incomes are a bit higher than those who qualify for subsidies are paying more than they did before the ACA for less actual health care. What we need is national health insurance for all.

  70. As the article indicates, there are short term fixes and then there are the structural improvements that won't happen until we rid ourselves of Trump and the Republicans. Short term, Election Day should be a national holiday. Voting machines should be overhauled, made uniform and have constantly updated security (failing that, use paper ballots). Elections should be monitored, complaints filed and patterns of abuse identified. At the same time, we should be moving forward on legislation to replace the old Voting Rights Act with a simple law that would make it a serious federal crime to interfere or conspire to interfere with the voting rights of any American citizen. Finally, and this won't happen soon, voting should be taken out of the hands of the political parties and placed in the hands of a non-partisan federal agency that would regulate election logistics the way the FDA regulates food quality.

  71. @The Dog, "non-partisan federal agency"?? Who would be on it and how would they get there? Who in this country is non-partisan? There are about as many "non-partisans" in this country as there are atheists, and "the people" don't trust either one of them.

  72. Some glaring inequities will require a constitutional amendment to change. The Senate gives disproportionate power to small rural states. This was not much of an issue when the urban/rural partisan divide was small. It no longer is. Ideally there would be one branch of Congress elected by a national popular vote. The electoral college, in addition to allowing the popular vote loser to become president, causes candidates to only concentrate on swing states, not the nation as a whole. It should be abolished.

  73. @DBman Candidates concentrate on swing states because of the winner-takes-all convention. If voting in each state were by the alternative vote (ranked-choice voting), they would have more incentive to campaign in states where they were very weak. The disproportionate influence of small states is no bad thing - it reminds the federal government that it is the creature of the states that founded it, and not vice versa. Governments have a habit of getting ideas above their station, and need bringing to heel from time to time. But perhaps California should choose to break itself up.

  74. @Peter Hulse: Thank you! Democrat activists conveniently forget that the U.S. is a federation of states. Constitutional changes that would reduce or eliminate the role of the states, that is, state sovereignty, have no chance of success, it would take only 13 states to block them all. What leftists are really proposing, maybe without even knowing it, is revolution. That could be an important reason why people on the right are so on guard against leftist enthusiasm.

  75. Their are many fixes that American elections need, but one in particular would make a huge difference, viz, automatic runoff voting, aka ranked-choice voting. If it were adopted nation wide, third parties and independents would not be spoilers. People could vote for them without it leading to a candidate with opposite policies to their preference from benefiting. It works well in various parts of the USA, and has functioned smoothly in Australia for over a 100 years.

  76. @Chesson5 Until ranked voting is established, voting for 3rd parties will be a "spoiler" vote, regardless of party. Jill Stein voters most likely are really voting for Trump, but they just don't see that.

  77. A suggestion: Make Election Day a national holiday. And eliminate the grandfather of all potential voter fraud, extended voting and absentee ballots EXCEPT for those physically disabled, required to work too far from polling places or be out-of-town on Election Day. Make sure those absentee ballots are filed at the last possible minute for insuring on-time arrival! We ought to make voting a mark of pride - and give voters non-partisan refreshments, requiring something like $1 out of every $1,000 raised go for snacks ranging from crudités to doughnuts & coffee, for those on-line or coming out of the booth, “My Parents Voted” for balloons for kids whose parents teach them early on that voting is not just a civic duty but enjoyable.Bring back bumperstickers. But Election Day should be Election Day, not Election Month. An old campaign leader who trusted this retired newspaperman told me the day before a statewide vote that his guy was going to lose - by about 2.5 points - and was right on the money. “He peaked too soon”, 3 days early according to party tracking polls. The dynamics of a campaign make early voting easily party-controllable - and also empower able folks too lazy to get out of their livingroom chairs long enough to cast a vote the old-fashioned way. Somehow, I don’t think they deserve the privilege of a say. Also, stop calling voters too lazy to help select candidates “Independents”. They’re not - they’re Unaffiliated, too lazy to vote in a primary - shame on them.

  78. @Eatoin Shrdlu Voting by mail increases turnout.

  79. @Pam So does early voting.

  80. @Eatoin Shrdlu What's this business about "people too lazy to get out of their living room chairs?" Where are these people? Most of the people I know I working their behinds off. Or they're old, or disabled, or children - I guess the one exception would be young folks who aren't lazy at all but who don't understand the value of voting yet. Don't demean people like that. Voting by mail, early voting, whatever encourages people to vote should be an option. Mostly, respect the fact that Americans have if anything way too much stress and too little time, too little money, too many obligations. Voting shouldn't require an entire day off way, standing in the rain in some line so a Republican can feel safer.

  81. 16 may be too young to allow driving, except to get to + from school. It is certainly too young to vote.

  82. @turbot - Life Hack for that: Go back to teaching civics in high schools.

  83. I’m surprised the author didn’t mention reforming the voting machines themselves. All the other reforms are moot if the vote count can be hacked.

  84. @KST Vote-by-mail uses ink pens for voting machines. They can't be hacked.

  85. @KST Senator Ron Wyden Senate Intelligence Committee: “This election has already put a spotlight on the fact that too many voters are stuck with glitchy, insecure voting machines that are hard to use and easy to hack. There’s a better way: Paper ballots and voting at home give voters the convenience and security they want, including a guaranteed paper trail and never waiting for hours just to exercise your constitutional right to vote,” Wyden said.

  86. @KST Many district use paper ballots. Perhapse they all should.

  87. The Dems need to pass a comprehensive bill protecting equal voting rights. And to do so, they probably need to investigate all the voter suppression tactics adopted by the Republicans. It would make some informative hearings.

  88. Following the 2020 elections the regular census will be taken. And after that the reapportionment of the number of seats for each state in Congress will be done. If certain states want to pass measures to either deny or make it difficult to vote, spread the word: “If they don’t let you vote now, don’t you let them count you in the census later!” When some states figure out they may lose one or more seats in the House of Representatives, which would be given to another state (like California?), they might see that their actions are counter productive. Not to mention losing Federal money when it is distributed.

  89. Badger, So, make it difficult for some citizens to vote, then that voter should decline being counted in the census? Disenfrachised and disappeared--- brilliant ! Not a good idea.

  90. People in D.C. should be able to vote in national elections. There's no good reason to prevent them from doing so. People in Puerto Rico should be able to vote only if they opt for statehood. They have had referenda on the issue in the past & voted against it. Maybe it's time for another opportunity.

  91. Make Election Day a national holiday (like Memorial Day, Independence Day, etc.) That way working people will have the day off to vote. It will also reduce polling place crowding in the hours before and after work. by allowing people to vote anytime during the day.

  92. I guess I took the glories of democracy for granted. Bush v Gore and of course the past few years have really made me wake up. Democracy is a treasure. The one good thing about Trumpism is that it's driven people to the polls. Good. Now let's make it really work. One person, one vote. Voting by mail, voting early, voting with a paper trail, whatever helps people vote is good. Voter suppression is bad. States that try it should be sued. We must expand the size of the House to adequately represent the people. Of course the Electoral College must go.

  93. Glad you mentioned vcte-by-mail. It's been working flawlessly in Oregon since the 80's. It costs less, improves voter turnout, there are no long lines or malfunctioning equipment, or ways for republicans to gum up the works - all big problems in much of the rest of the country. It's been the obvious solution for decades and it's a tragedy that so much time has elapsed while so many States are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to voting and counting the votes.

  94. When my dad was elderly and after his knee operation, standing in a long line for voting was hard on him. But he always voted. Now my mom (sharp as ever at 90) has no physical barriers to voting -- she can vote by mail, and she does. Today I was explaining to her what was happening with one of the Congressional races in Maine, and she said, "oh, that's rank choice voting, right?" Would that we all tried to understand the many options and variations for democratic participation. We all have to try. There are so many good ideas in this article, some of the best found in the comments section, too: - educate citizens about how ballot measures work (a commenter: "If the NYT can show us how to bake a souffle, it can show us how to enact legislation on our own.") - all states should adopt universal voting by mail. Gone will be the "closed polling places, reduced voting hours and bureaucratic hurdles." Also the malfunctioning, hackable, unreliable machines. Also the long lines, the inadequate polling places for colleges & in poor neighborhoods, the workday voting dilemma. We could end the discriminatory voter ID laws. - adopt rank choice voting everywhere, not just in Maine. -lower the voting age to 16 - continue to explore creative ways to upend the electoral college; if we can't abolish it, at least states could adopt a system of allocating votes to electors proportional to the popular vote, rather than winner takes all. - Fight gerrymandering and change the system.

  95. What's been going on in Florida is frankly disgusting, what with Gov. Scott, along with America's Great White Dope, accusing the Democrats in Broward County of having committed fraud and even going so far as to implicate Sen. Nelson in their offensive and outlandish charges. The fact that there is absolutely no evidence of such malfeasance hasn't inhibited them in the least. For this reason alone, Scott has no business representing his state in Congress. As for The Donald, what could anyone have reasonably expected?

  96. David, This is a good column and your idea for increasing participation and making it easier to cast your vote is a good start. I guess I have been involved in too many elections and have observed too many problems to expect that revising our republic's state laws to achieve the noble goals that you have suggested, will probably be very difficult to achieve. I suggest that the Times, maybe you, should write articles to explore all of the non-democratic provisions in our selection of elected officials for the local, county, Federal district, State, and the method we use to elect Presidents, and the outsize role of money in our elections and in the fairness and exposure of candidates to the voters. (Can you believe that President Trump has still not shared his tax returns? Giving the impression that he is hiding something. We are getting better but problems like the Citizens United, Winner-Take-All and the way that Congressional Districts are gerrymandered by States. The Times may want to interview political scientists and historians, past and present of the legislative bodies at the Federal and State level. Maybe a weekly TV documentary to explore the issues for about to run for about a year would be a means to educate the public on how we elect our government officials. Clearly, we have a problem, and we should spend resources and time on solving the problem. I am confident that once the problem is recognized and defined we can solve it.

  97. What if you could "swipe left" on a representative or a policy at any time? Technology should provoke us to think about entirely new models. Continuous, widely-distributed voting would certainly make for an interesting speculative novel, in any case.

  98. @William Garr Nothing new about this, the idea that representatives are subject to recall at any time has been commonly used in revolutionary movements like the Paris Commune.

  99. Weekday voting is one of quite a few things that are anachronistic in the US political system. In NZ we have early voting, but the main polling day is a Saturday. Turn out has been dropping, but is still quite high. Also - the official campaign time is strictly limited, so not a constant bombardment and financing is also policed (sometimes literally), though, again, times are changing and more dubious money and practices are a real possibility. Not a perfect system, but if the same basic principles were followed in the USA, Ms Pelosi (or whoever was the leader of the Democratic Party) would've already been sworn in as the new Prime Minister and government could recommence.

  100. In Belgium, voting takes place on Sundays, and all Belgians of age are automatically registered to vote (European foreigners, allowed to vote in local elections, need to register, but only once). A peculiarity of Belgium is that voting is compulsory, under penalty of fines (in practice, this is nearly never enforced) You don't have to pick a side, you can vote blank, but you need to actively do it and not just stay home. The logic for this is to preserve voting secrecy. I cannot oblige you to vote for a candidate because I don't know what you will do in the voting boot, but I could compel you to stay home and not vote (something I can check). Not anymore if abstaining has to be done in the voting booth.

  101. @Den Barn Australia used to have compulsory voting, but suffered from what was called the "donkey vote", whereby people voted for the names at the top of the ballot paper, and those at the bottom were less likely to win. Is that a Belgian problem?

  102. @Peter Hulse Belgium has a complex voting system, where you vote for a party rather for an individual candidate. Once you've selected a party you can specify a preference for one or multiple individual candidates under the party list, which may impact specific allocation of seats to individual candidates, but the order of the list also plays a role. The fact that the order of the list officially plays a role could be called an institutionalised donkey effect (it allows unknown people supported by their party to sometimes get elected, which can be good or bad, depending on the people of course)

  103. Many commenters here have called for the abolition of the Electoral College. Fine with me. I don't see that happening, however, because that would require a Constitutional convention and then every issue would be up for grabs. A workable intermediate position between the Electoral College and direct popular election would be to abandon winner take all elections and base votes on the candidates' proportion of the votes in each state. So, for example, if a candidate gets 55% of her state's vote, she should get 55% of the state's vote in the Electoral College. Elections will be much closer and two other beneficial results would be likely. First, candidates will be less likely to run to the extremes. Working the center will prove to be a better strategy. Second, the votes in the Electoral College will better reflect the will of the electorate. This change would not require a constitutional amendment, though it would require action taken in each state.

  104. Actually there are two other ways around the electoral college (rotten burroughs) problem: 1) a few more states adopt the popular vote compact; giving theirs to the popular vote winner and 2) a constitutional amendment. I think number 1 is more doable.

  105. Popular vote pact would be unconstitutional and so would proportional representation as they both would require amendments but increasing the size of the House would not and make all additional seats at large until there is 75% voting in that state. One could double the new seats as at large to contradict incumbency.

  106. Remember one person one vote? America must support the Popular Vote amendment. Throw out the Electoral College, an outworn vestige of the Eighteenth Century.

  107. @dbsweden And I'd add in representation in the Senate. California, TX, FL etc should have many mire senators than Iowa and the Dakotas. Our system was designed in the 18th century to prevent tyranny by the majority. Now we have tyranny by the minority.

  108. @dbsweden The electoral college and 2 senators per state was created to protect low citizen/high slave population states and slavery. It's time for them to go the way of slavery-along with vestiges of Jim Crow and racism. We are all human beings, and according to Christians, children of God.

  109. @dbsweden so only New York and California would need to vote.

  110. The American system is peculiar in that we have both too much democracy and too little. The too -little part is documented in this article: weekday voting, long lines to the polls, etc. The too-much part has to do with the fact that things that should not be on the ballot, are. Why should we elect judges? This is a professional position that requires expertise which most voters are not qualified to evaluate. In most European countries judges are appointed by the judiciary. And what about the endless propositions on the ballot in California? It is the job of politicians to pass laws and regulations. This is why we elect them. But they apparently want all the perks of the office without the hard work of actually legislating. The same with the tedious debate about voter IDs. Why shouldn’t the government - state or federal - simply issue obligatory IDs to all citizens? Then it’ll be up to you to have it when you show up at the polls. Incidentally, this will also pave the way for some form of universal healthcare because it’ll clearly have to distinguish between citizens and non-citizens.

  111. The Fifteenth Amendment does not ban restricting the right to vote using age or wealth or mobility or a driver's license, just race, color, or previous condition of servitude. So these sorts of restrictions are allowable under a conservative interpretation of the constitution, and restrictions that are not officially racial but have different effects on different races are allowed. It is allowed to make it more difficult for some people to vote (by long lines or short and inconvenient times and locations) as long as it is not made explicitly impossible. We should have a law or constitutional amendment that when lines to vote are more than 15 minutes long in consecutive elections, or when they are unequally long for precincts with a history of voting for different parties, something should happen. Perhaps the people who run the elections or design and plan the election processes should be jailed unless they can prove that the long or unequal waits were the product of unexpected and unforeseeable circumstances. This would enforce the intent of the Fifteenth Amendment rather than what it literally says and only that. Since at the time of Reconstruction photo IDs did not exist, requiring them (and making them expensive and difficult for some sorts of people to obtain) is not unconstitutional. Such is the stupidity of lawyerly thinking.

  112. Be a little careful. Postal voting is much more open to fraud than voting in person. There have been cases in Britain where the head of household fills in the ballot papers on behalf of other members of his family. It's virtually impossible to prove, but the risk is there. Better to have more polling stations with more staff, to reduce the queues.

  113. I am encouraged for the first time during the Trump presidency. I am sad that it took a tyrant to wake up America. We have had these issues for a long time. Don't forget that anti-immigration rhetoric also keeps likely Democrats from the polls.

  114. @Anthony by likely Democrats, do you mean illegals? Who else was kept from the polls?

  115. @Jackson New American citizens. Not difficult to understand. I've seen Blacks and Hispanics questioned about their citizenship even when they present adequate ID.

  116. Lately in the NYT I have seen columns calling for such things as changing elections from Tuesdays, discouraging third-party candidacies, eliminating the constitutional mandate for two senators from each state, altering the total number of justices on the Supreme Court and/or their term lengths, eliminating the Electoral College, and invoking the 25th Amendment or impeachment for the current president. None of these things will happen soon. The GOP has worked long and hard for control of the judiciary, fostering dark money in politics, gerrymandering and voter suppression, and debasement of the presidency. It will be a long road back with no easy, sweepstakes-like solutions. Democrats need to stay focused on bread-and-butter issues: better health care for all, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and better-paying jobs with better benefits. These are the glaring gaps in the Republican agenda. They need to talk about the unfair GOP tax cuts and their effects on the deficit and national debt, credit-card and student-loan debt, the need for domestic infrastructure improvements, and shoring up public education. They need to consider stances on climate change and immigration that will not alienate half of voters. They need to be wary of hot-button topics like LGBT bathrooms which, frankly, are low on the radar for most of the country. Democrats need to field smart and charismatic candidates who will be ready for the marathon to come. They are the ones who will win the race.

  117. Mr. Trump as the unavoidable Republican candidate has a huge advantage over his Democratic opponent in november '20 who will have only 2 month to recuperate from the often bruising and always expensive nomination process. Doesn't the pro-democracy voice of America needs to be heard sooner than after the Democratic convention of august '20? Isn't it possible for the Democrats to expedite (and preferably reform) the primary cycle?

  118. on 20 Oct 18 we marked our ballots and put them in the slot. The entire process took us 1 hour. The ballots came to our secured mail box along with other mail. We discussed a few of the issues and had read our voters pamphlet that came the preceding week. The NYT editorial favoring proposition 1631 by initiative was just wrong. I had to read that proposal 3 times before I clearly understood its importance. I have very strong views about global warming. As a retired professional chemist I have done a great deal of reading about this issue. Air pollution is caused by the combustion of fossil fuels, and forest fires. The last item has injected enormous quantities of CO2 into the air along the west coast for atleast 3 years. There are steps that could be taken to reduce these fires but due to the peculiarity of western states forest management laws nothing will ever be done about this major health hazard. We have approved in Washington 3 propositions to install much needed public transportation. The resulting entity, Sound Transit(ST), uses poor engineering which has limited the utility of the light rail system. Traffic in my fair city is still jammed and is getting worse. The biggest error is lack of parking. Land is expensive but parking buildings are essential for increased usage. The elevators and escalators are constantly failing because ST chose to purchase cheap versions and it will likely take several years to get them replaced, cost 10 million dollars.

  119. "On Election Day, I had to wait in line for 45 minutes, even though I have a job that gives me the luxury of voting in the middle of the day." On the other hand, I live in a very rural, low population density area. When I get there, I have sometimes found as many as four people in line ahead of me. Actually, in 19 years of voting, that only happened once. On the other hand, when I come in, the poll watchers don't have to look at the list to know that I'm "the democrat." This is one of the tacit undemocratic aspects of our system. Rural areas, where the majority tends to be Republican, have little trouble with long voting lines. Those lines show up in the high population density areas where most Democrats vote.

  120. The only thing I disagree with is voting by US mail. This is exactly what is holding up the count (not the recount) in Arizona. Unless the counting of mail-in ballots is done in a more modern method, this is counter productive. Election day should be a holiday, for sure. Early voting should be automatically established for a month before election day. Voting machines, the kind that scans in paper ballots marked with a pen, should be as ubiquitous as ATM machines for a month before election day. If access to cash can be managed with secure systems, so can voting machines.

  121. NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION in VOTING A prominent election-reform nonprofit is expected shortly to file a lawsuit against the election commission of a Southwest state claiming that it should not use taxpayer money to finance closed party primaries in which non-party-registered (independent) taxpayers cannot vote. Closed primaries keep centrist voters from the candidate selection process, driving parties and candidates to the extremes of the political spectrum and fostering hyper-partisanship. Opening closed primaries is one of the most powerful ways to restore constructive functioning to our government. Keep your eye out for this lawsuit, support it, and help it multiply to all states with closed primaries!

  122. I think primary elections should not be by party or binding but options for the party to support so minor candidates can’t survive long unless they appeal to different states

  123. I also would suggest that $100 be given to each voter only to contribute to federal elections over each 2 year period and with it a voter registration application. Vote it in when Democrats have a majority in both houses to go into effect immediately. It would devalue CU and would be almost impatience take away once people were given that.

  124. It is important to remember that the United States did not become a truly "consolidated liberal democracy" until the year 1965, just 53 years ago following passage of the Voting Rights Act. Misgivings about democracy in the United States are quite strong among a large segment of the population. All the people writing in unison "We are a republic, not a democracy" appear to see nothing wrong with restricting access to the franchise. In this decade, it has become a standard right-wing talking point that America would function better (for their preferred people) if the right to vote were restricted on the basis of property ownership and/or net payment of federal income tax. So a strong and active pro-democracy movement is essential and people must never take anything for granted.

  125. @AR Agreed. Republic. Democracy. Both are meaningless terms when the People cannot vote. Some folks have an interesting (frightening) definition of personhood.

  126. We need three Constitutional amendments to fix the problem in federal elections: 1) either eliminate the Electoral College or award electoral votes in each state proportional to the popular vote (rather than “winner take all”); 2) require non-partisan commissions in each state to redistrict every ten years after the federal census; 3) one that clearly states that corporations are not people and do not have the same rights as individuals to “free speech” in the form of campaign contributions.

  127. I would add to your good suggestions making elections a national holiday or a two day affair over a weekend. Ramp up voting by mail and early voting. Make all voting systems and procedures consistent across the country. Most importantly: Count every vote. If we fail to do that we've failed as a participatory democracy.

  128. @David Glassberg If you arent going to allow corporations to donate, then you have to stop unions to - if you were really interested in leveling the playing field.

  129. @Sports Medicine When corporate executives and board members are elected by shareholders and employees, you can make that comparison. The proper place of organizations such as unions and corporations is as lobbyists, not direct participants in funding election campaigns.

  130. Every proposal to amend the constitution to eliminate the electoral college, change the structure of the congress, reduce the power of the states, etc., is a non-starter. No state legislature would approve any of these things, they are the heart of state sovereignty. The only way around this is to up-end the constitution and start over--in effect, revolution! Anyone who thinks about this for only one minute would recoil in horror. Democrats (both big 'D' and small 'd'), should stop wasting their time on this and get to work within the system to elect, elect, elect. When (if) they regain national political power their enthusiasm for constitutional change will mysteriously fade.

  131. Well the house can increase its size with legislation and if passed by the house and the Senate refuses that may just be what is needed to challenge the Senate to be afraid of looking too partisan. Ha!

  132. Suffrage itself means nothing in the face of the ongoing tyranny of wealth that Americans must endure. Regardless of which shambolic party, themselves stale warmed-up leftovers from the long-ago 19th century, in a country that has trouble remembering the events of 15 days past, is elected, only one thing is certain. The inescapable domination of our "representative" branch by the multinationals and other superwealthy entities like the Koch siblings is ongoing. The wealthy and the empowered corporations will always prevail and we the little people will pay the taxes that they succeed in avoiding while they show boundless contempt for our real lack of power.

  133. “It comes from this general concern about democratic institutions not being reflective of the will of the people...” It’s perhaps surprising that campaign reform was not a proposed topic. It’s been clear for some time that our representatives are increasingly disconnected from the interests of their constituents. Reelection, not representation, has become the name of the game. Term limits and campaign finance reform are critically important efforts to pursue. The longest tenured representatives reflect the greatest disengagement from their constituents. Several incumbents lost because they rarely visited or met with voters. O’Rourke and others ran quite well without corporate or dark PAC money. It’s a sign of hope that voters turned out to speak their minds. However, The success of the Democratic Process lauded by this column is in spite of, not due to, our current electoral rules.

  134. Sorry -- not a panacea. People vote knowing nothing about whom or what they are voting for. (E.g. the three proposals on the NYC ballot -- which should have been voted out in two if not all three of the cases were approved. Often awful people do get elected-- and I am not talking Trump. I don't know what the solution might be but voting -- and voting the party line strictly is no win for Democracy which requires that we know both the issues and the candidates -- try to get this information can be nearly impossible.

  135. I have been working intermittently for OneVirginia2021, a group seeking to end gerrymandering in our state. Sadly, I encountered many conservative voters who rebuffed even discussing gerrymandering in their heavily Republican district because they felt ending it would help the Democrats. They were unable to understand the two realities: 1. In time, the Democrats would gain ascendancy and, without reform, would just as likely pervert district lines to their advantage. 2. By establishing safe districts, increasingly extreme views will be encouraged in both red and blue regions. Polarization will intensify and with it, governance will calcify. We can do better and we must.

  136. @Douglas McNeill Please explain point #2 to our Supreme Court, which endorses majority-minority districts based on race.

  137. It’s taken many years to dig our country into this Political Quagmire and I suppose it’s going to take at least a little more time to craw our way back, but at least it’s a start! The Political Pendulum is now moving more towards the center which is great. The problem for all of us is if by nature, it now moves too far to the Left.

  138. @Eric Cosh...."...too far to the left." Do you mean "too much freedom of choice ?"

  139. This is all well and good until these laws and actions go before the Republican Supreme Court and get overturned on nakedly political grounds. We won’t be able to undo the damage from the 2016 election in my lifetime.

  140. @Mike Next step: term limits for federal judges, including those on the Supreme Court.

  141. @jeito and after that, UNICORNS for every child!

  142. I agree whole heartedly. A few years ago, when Maine's GOP Republican-controlled legislature repealed same-day voter registration, I canvassed for signatures to put it on the ballot. When I knocked on a neighbors door who was conservative -- and most particularly if they had grandchildren -- I talked to them about turning their grandchildren into live-long voters, and asked how they thought same-day voter registration's repeal might discourage that. And I'm proud to say that even my most conservative neighbors were appalled, and happy to sign to maintain same-day registration the law of the state. I think there's one other thing at risk with democracy; and that's the function of the free press. Too much political advertising on TV fosters irritation with candidates and mental exhaustion for constituents; I think limits on the amount of air-space political advertising can fill might be something to consider carefully. And there is too much un-rebutted propaganda. I'm an old bird, and I miss the fairness doctrine, the days where, if one person spouted an opinion on TV, opposing views also had opportunity to express their opinion. I would seek some way to return that balance to broadcasts.

  143. @Rebecca I'd love to see a complete overhaul of the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. Those held in the last election were nothing but a joke!

  144. I have three wish’s for ballot initiatives. 1. Do not call any race until all ballots are counted 2. Get rid of the Electoral College 3. Term limits for both the House and Senate. Two 4 year terms for the House. Two 6 year terms for The Senate.

  145. @JeanIm not a fan of term limits. A seasoned representative has developed relationships with constituents and other legislators thereby having greater capacity to be effective. Secondly, as a voter, term limits restrict my right to vote for whomever I want. They're a band-aid - not a solution and would be not under discussion if we funded elections via taxation and outlawed all private campaign contributions.

  146. @Jean Agree with all, especially number 3.

  147. @Philip So far those who have been in Congress for too long have forgotten their normal constituents It’s all about the lobbyists

  148. There is no panacea, but improving access to the vote is about increasing every citizens engagement in the process, not advancing a particular view. I am disappointed that this opinion follows the usual formula that avoids discussing the national elephant (pun intended) in the room - proportionate representation and abolishing the electoral college. I have never heard an explanation of the need for the electoral college that explains why it continues to exist.

  149. @Chris Clark The Electoral College exists because there is no such thing as a national election and there was never intended to be. You’re voting within your locality, district, and state. When you vote for President, you are voting for someone who represents the state you live in. Essentially, the states, by way of the votes of their citizens, are electing the President. We have a federalist government for a reason. There are a number of safeguards against tyranny. Government is responsive and citizens are more empowered to participate because government is not centralized.

  150. @John The Electoral College takes away the main incentive to vote for president - namely that my vote will make a difference and count towards the result no matter where I live. If I live in a state that is clearly blue or red, my vote counts for little in choosing the President. If I live in Florida, Ohio, or Pennsylvania, my vote is massively important - a recipe for non-participation and worse yet, exposes us to manipulation and fraud as Russia demonstrated in our last Presidential election.

  151. Tell me that "In Florida - a state divided nearly equally between right and left" isn't just another attempt to limit the possible range of political choice to Democrats and Republicans. Sorry, the Democrats are not the the left any more than Republicans are the right. They are two parties employed by corporate America to give the illusion of choice between whatever corporate America finds acceptable. It appears that a majority of Americans realize this and respond by not voting at all.

  152. @Steve Bruns, as an independent voter, far to the left of either party, I find the argument made by Mr Burns to be utterly cynical and, given the current White House occupant, unfathomable. While no fan of many policies put forward by the Obama Administration I can discern the daylight between Obama and Trump...and I also understand that these two very different presidents are products of their respective parties. If everyone voted Trump would never have been President...and our country would be much better off...

  153. @GustavNYC The Trump and Obama difference is primarily one of style. Obama, the smooth salesman of the oligarchy, lulled the populace to sleep with bipartisan bromides, implementing Heritage Foundation policies while he was in full control of the government. Trump is the American ruling class in all its raw, naked glory, telling us what we are going to get and when, no matter what we might have thought we were voting for. And the Empire marches on. "Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth." Lucy Parsons

  154. What a sad statement it is about our country, which used to be the beacon of representative government for the world, that there needs to be a "pro-democracy movement" here.

  155. Let me get this straight about the American voting system. If voters - people who have the right to vote for either party - choose to vote for Republican Party candidates, that's anti-democratic. But if voters - people who have the right to vote for either party - choose to vote for Democrat Party candidates, that's pro-democratic. Got it.

  156. @Maurice Gatien Correct. The GOP knows it loses when more people vote. That's why Kobach in Kansas and Kemp in Georgia (and the party everywhere it is in state power) limited polling places and made registration more difficult. Got it now?

  157. @Maurice Gatien You've obviously never taken a logic course.

  158. @Maurice Gatien No, you don’t have it right at all. In Florida, it seems the opposite is true, the Governor, running for the Senate, the current Senator and President, all Republicans, specifically don’t want votes from Democratic districts counted.

  159. I have to disagree with the part about 16 year olds. Research shows that the decision-making and executive functions of the brain mature in the mid-20, a decade later. I don’t see what giving 16-year olds a say over the school board buys us. The responsibilities of citizenship should be awarded incrementally in concert with a growing ability to handle them. Please don’t make comparisons to military service at 18.

  160. @DenisPombriant Maybe it provides freedom from this: An actual national party platform plank was proposed by Texas GOP that could have provided the means for the total victory of the Republican party for generations to come. No, it's not one that proposes repeal of the Voting Rights Act; It's the one they proposed to eliminate the teaching of critical thinking skills in schools, because "critical thinking challenges a student's fixed beliefs." What a great plank! Just imagine if all critical thinking were eliminated; No pesky scientists, journalists, facts, or atheists to contradict what the Texas GOP base just knows to be true. If the examination of facts and the ability to reach logical conclusions were eliminated, and not held as a positive attribute of human thinking, then Trump would be as venerated by all the new, non thinking Americans as they are by the Texas GOP base. Hallelujah!

  161. @DenisPombriant: Agreed. Most 16 year-olds have never had any real economic responsibilities, and tend to look to mom and dad to solve most problems. As voters they would be inclined to vote that everything should be free and all problems should be turned over to the government--a prescription for disaster.

  162. In some states the voting process has been seriously impeded. In others (automatic registration, vote by mail, early voting) it seems to work quite well. It would be helpful if the media (NYTimes, that means you) would run columns regularly - once a week? - identifying and describing voting systems that are broken - those which purposely discriminate by race, party or other means, or which just deny people their right to vote, those which are susceptible to hacking, or those where the voting machines or processes are old and too cumbersome. The American public has a short attention span and these issues fade from the front page in a few days or a week or so. If there was a regular reminder of the problem it might be easier for people to demand that their state and local governments move towards more accessible and reliable voting systems. The media can help here. Will they?

  163. This is an excellent idea. Please NY Times, cover the voting situations in places that run smoothly and the places where voting is purposely hindered.

  164. The United States was never intended to be a democracy -- it is a Constitutional Republic. Democracy was warily viewed as a pretext for mob rule by some of our founders, including Thomas Jefferson, who wrote extensively on the subject and warned against it. Democracy sounds good, until it doesn't. Mr. Leonhardt writes about democracy as if the progressive and left-leaning forces will always triumph. History has shown that is not always the case.

  165. @John Jabo Oh boy, here we go again. You're repeating the extremely empty talking points of those who are trying to justify rigging our democracy against the will of the people. The terms "democracy" and "republic" are not mutually exclusive. A quick civics course here: The United States as a democratic republic, is a representative democracy. Meaning that it choses its leaders and representatives through elections, and that the supreme power is held by the people (rather than a monarch). The term "constitutional republic" merely means it is a republic with a constitution, (which, in most cases, sets forth the structure and checks and balances that prevent mob rule), joining other republics such as France, Ireland, Germany, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Iran, Iraq, China, Korea, etc. Having universal suffrage, direct presidential elections, and a better system implement fair elections do not engender mob rule, nor do they have anything to do with the status of this Republic. Interestingly, direct democracy does exist in the United States, in the form of the New England Town, a system where several times per year, voters in most towns in five of the six New England states assemble to vote on the matters and affairs of their town. Even this is held in check by rules of order, and the boards of selectmen (the executive in a New England town -towns do not have mayors or councils, only cities do). It's an interesting system and encourages voter participation.

  166. Democracy is more than voting. It is needs to be sewn into the very fabric of everything we do. Voting only happens once or twice a year. Democracy is something we can be part of every day.

  167. Hello from Michigan, where we just passed a ballot initiative to create an independent citizens redistricting commission to end gerrymandering. We won in the face of massive obstacles, including a political establishment that tried to destroy us with lawsuits and lies. Our all-volunteer force of petition circulators gathered some 430,000 signatures to put it on the ballot. Our all-volunteer force of canvassers knocked hundreds of thousands of doors to educate the voters, many of whom had not previously heard of redistricting. The result: Proposal 2 won 61% of the vote, winning in 66 of Michigan's 83 counties, red, blue, and purple. I hope that everyone who is commenting here is also taking direct action to the fullest extent of their abilities.

  168. How about holding elections on Veterans Day? Not only are people are off from work but what better way to honor Vets than to exercise the right they defended.

  169. @Patrick Flynn Where I live, there are weeks of early voting, and a lot of people vote early, which really cuts down on election day lines at the polls, but I still think your idea is a good one and in combination with early voting and voting by mail would give everyone a fair chance to vote. Of course, not everyone is off work at the same time -- cops, hospital workers, parents whose kids are out of school for the day, and the press come to mind -- but many are.

  170. Illegal voting is the rationale for opposing easier voting. The judicial system is by way politics, and the appointments of judges for life in federal appeals courts of course has its way of denying reform a la the SOCUS ideological if not overtly partisan reality. Ultimately good will, honesty, sincerity, ethics and integrity are major components. Voters are seemingly aware of what goes, and fairness depends upon subjectivity and implicitly the complexities of culture, and so "legal perfection" is worthy but inherently impossible. Our nation is not yet a Venezuela, while everybody ought to be concerned about political extremism left and right, which we ought to fear.

  171. A simple truth that seems to be ignored is that from its inception, the USA has been a reluctant union of states. It continues to be. And the composition of the Senate is one of the most glaring examples of that. Two seats per state was a compromise made to get the smaller colonies to join the union. That compromise has become a constant reminder that we were formed as a republic, not a democracy - that any political system that gives the vote of a citizen in Wyoming nearly 70 times the weight of a citizen in California is not a democracy. The values and needs of people living in small, rural and largely homogenous states should be respected and considered. But they have absolutely no legitimate claim to understanding what it takes to support the lives of people who live in large urban communities. To give them the extraordinarily outsized influence they now have on public policy is not respect for their values and needs, it is a tyranny of the few over the many.

  172. Having elections on a Tuesday instead of a Sunday is making it even harder for many people. I don't understand why the US system makes it harder than necessary to vote.

  173. Mr. Leonhardt you say, "The United States finally has the pro-democracy movement that it needs." What country do you live in? You keep talking about America like it's something outside yourself. It's YOUR America, too. The real point is that WE THE PEOPLE - average Americans across America who value the lives we have led - are finally standing up for ourselves for the first time in the 40+ years since the Koch brothers and their Robber Baron brethren started their hostile financial takeover of OUR United States of America government, and governments at all levels so they can destroy them. It's decades past time but not too late. WE THE PEOPLE can/will stop them. WE are the only ones who, with the help of the media, can/will stop them.

  174. Until we get rid of the Electoral College, voter suppression laws and big money in politics, some votes always count more than others. Which means we have no real democracy.

  175. @Christy You do live within a democracy. It’s just not a federal democracy.

  176. The most effective blocks against a true democracy in this country are the Senate and the electoral college. The over representation of underpopulated states whose interests do not coincide with the country's majority has made the government unresponsive to the wishes of people living in urban areas. It is important to build in protection for minorities to avoid them being exploited but the present system is too heavily biased in favor of one third of the population. The remedy is some constitutional amendment, but since it requires approval by 3/4 of the state that will never happen. What is possible is to enact rules in the Senate such as requiring that legislation of great import cannot be passed without at least some percentage of votes from the party in opposition. This provides minority protection while also decreasing the power of minority overrepresentation in the Senate.

  177. @serban I agree with protection of the filibuster. If we were to amend the constitution for just one thing, my choice would be to make the filibuster permanent and not within the senates power to change.

  178. The American public is now wise to republican tactics to suppress Democratic votes - and we're going to do whatever it takes to ensure our votes are counted. Times up.

  179. I wholeheartedly agree. It is also good to see that at least some people have woken up to the necessity of managing global warming (I assume that is why 43 percent saw the “environment” as a major issue). That said, I would hope that as a part of America finding its way to being more “democratic,” and allowing felons the right to vote, Democrats would find their way to respecting due process: an outrageous example of this lack of respect was demonstrated during the Kavanaugh hearing, in which a 35-year old unconfirmed incident was touted as fact, and “believe survivors” became the mantra du jour. No. Innocent until proven guilty beyond the shadow of a doubt is how democratic justice works, whether it is a courtroom, a Senate hearing, a job interview, or a Senate-led job interview. If you can’t respect due process for a Supreme Court justice I am not sure why you would expect corporations to respect equality of hiring of former “proven” criminals.

  180. There are two aspects to democracy: Free, fair, elections, and a proper, representative selection of candidates to vote for. The number of women and minorities is encouraging, but we must never give up the fight to overturn Citizen's United, and roll back the poisonous influence that money encourages. The money which corrupts our elections is still 'choosing' our candidates for us. Without a fair selection of candidates our true votes are not really being counted.

  181. My friend’s absentee ballot evidently will not count. She is on hospice in the late stages of an illness, can no longer speak, but is fine cognitively. She has voted in person hundreds of times over the past decades, and this time indicated through eyeblinks that she wanted to vote absentee, with a democrat ticket as always. Her partner mailed the ballot back about October 20, from a US Post Office. When I learned a few days ago that some absentee ballots may be in danger, i checked a government website and saw that in our ultra-close governor’s race, the status of my friend’s vote showed the date the ballot was mailed to her, but the “received” column was blank. Through anxious calls to the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Stacey Abrams campaign, we found out there is nothing we can do about this because we cannot prove the ballot was mailed. We learned from two friends that the site showed their ballots were received, but we wonder how many besides my friend ‘s were not seemingly not counted. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that hers wasn’t, though she may have overheard the phone calls.

  182. It would be good to truly have universal voting. GOP Jim Crow tactics have been normalized by the Roberts Court gutting the Voting Rights Act which had almost unanimously been recently reauthorized by Congress. We need a Voting Rights Act again that can be applied across the nation as needed. Voter suppression is smothering democracy like a blanket. Republicans laugh about how my former Democratic congressman John Barrow was redistributed three times so he practically had to have a mobile office on wheels. There should be independent nonpartisan redistricting and a new more effective FEC. Barrow ran for Secretary of State to replace Kemp and is heading for a Nov. 4th run off. Harvard Law educated and veteran legislator, he could clean up the situation in Georgia. A better president than Trump or a better Congress than the GOP one we've had would establish a bipartisan independent commission for voting along with moneys to implement any recommendations or laws that were enacted. Forget Secretaries of State or governors who are themselves candidates having the power to control voting and the vote count. That is corrupt banana republic territory and should be illegal. Ensure as part of the commission's mandate that there is nationwide electoral security to prevent foreign or domestic interference with elections. Democracy is not just being eroded but is being strangled by those abusing their power, voter suppression, propaganda, and campaign finance corruption.

  183. America has always be a democracy. Those screaming otherwise are simply pouting over results they don't like. Dems have a slight majority in the House but the real power lies in the Senate. The GOP will appoint a few dozen more Judges to the courts before years end and continue to do so in the future. Recounts show that democracy also works with a little screaming from both sides.

  184. Rick Scott's lawsuit over the legislated date for counting is a very interesting example of how to suppress the vote by preventing an unexpected onslaught of votes that cannot be counted within a few days of the election.

  185. I still have yet to read from any Times reporter the reasons why it is very foolish and gives the GOP fits of dictatorial ecstasy, when voters send their ballots in by mail. Mail in ballots are always the last to be counted and depending on where in the US, in many cases, mail in ballots-whether to vote early, or to vote from home, 6 months ahead of time, allow the people running the counting operations to move the ballots around, and allows people working at the US postal service-many of whom have their own agenda, and who we constantly upbraid for slowness and inefficiency, to move ballots to locked rooms, or seperate them depending whether they originate from Blue or Red areas as their return addresses and bar codes will state on the envelope's front. By mailing in a ballot, it does not matter that it is sealed. It is unimportant that it is early, late or from another galaxy-the ballot's vote can be deduced by a voter's place of origin. To mail ballots is to tell the mail handlers who you are and who you are voting for. When people vote on election day, in person, they are more sure of being counted-instantly. People who mail in ballots can only be pretty sure that they might be counted, or, they may not. Many mail in ballots have been dumped like X-mas cards. Seems like a bad bet and not much better than our health care system. If you want to COUNT-Vote on election day-IN PERSON!

  186. At this point just establishing democracy as a value is important. Post-Trump lies a chance to begin turning what is not (even without him) half-way to what it needs to be, into more of a beacon to the world than it has been.

  187. Its about time that Americans are waking up. There is no democracy in a nation where any person is above the law. Yet most Republican politicians don’t yet dare say outright what their leader Donald Trump already has: That only their party should have political rights, and only their political enemies should be investigated or prosecuted by the Justice Department, but when you follow the actions of the GOP that’s where you end up.

  188. Frame voting as a civic duty. (compulsory voting). Any system must be capable of audit. Electoral system run by independent commission.(including electoral boundaries, voting places etc). Only politicians on the ballot. Discard Tuesday for Saturday as voting day. Auto registration of all US citizens.

  189. The federal union of states that is the United States is a carefully considered and well balanced system of government that addresses many of the issues that could cause a disintegration of the Union. Many of the suggestions in this article and its comments advocate for movement towards “one person, one vote” provisions that would unfairly give control of the country to a few very populous states, some of which don’t want to require proof of citizenship before voting. There is nothing wrong with living in a small, low population or rural state and those who do should not be demonized by the fiction that their votes count more than others.

  190. @Larry I agree with you. Attempts to move away from federalism are shortsited. The beauty of our system is that someone in California is not constrained by what is law in Florida and vice versa.

  191. Your column gives hope but there is still much to be done before we can take democracy off the endangered list. The Republicans still hold the WH, the Senate, state houses and state legislatures, and while they do, given what we have seen of them, democratic norms are being shelved and the Constitution - except for the 2nd Amendment - is being shredded. At this point, pick the state you want to live in because that is where democracy will thrive or die.

  192. America isn’t a democracy, it’s a constitutional representative republic. A democracy is 50% plus 1. It is mob rule. We don’t want democratic rule. We don want mob rule. We want our republic restored.

  193. @Cjmesq0 It astounds me that people keep posting this meaningless talking point. Representative democracy does not equal "mob rule". We live in a democratic republic with a constitution. That's all that term means. Most republics have constitutions. Our Republic, like many, if not most, is a representative democracy.

  194. Yes, and we need parental votes for their children, the largest group of disenfranchised citizens.

  195. How about voting day becoming a mandatory national holiday with the caveat that you bring proof that you actually voted? Otherwise, no day off. Kinda like the old days with doctor’s notes. So many ways to make this easier....

  196. There has been very little reporting on the long lines, machine breakdowns and ballot confusion on Election Day in New York City, a Democrat stronghold. Can’t blame that one on the Republicans, so it must not be news.

  197. @Larry If there's very little reporting on it how do you know about it? And how does your source know about it? Or maybe it isn't news because it didn't happen beyond the normal stuff that happens at every election.

  198. @W. Freen, anyone with access to a television or the internet knows about it, but not those who only read this newspaper. The point is that Republicans are not exclusively responsible for election problems.

  199. Voting should be a controlled system of IDs at the polls. I don't want to see universal mailings that can be abused, or even having younger than 18 vote. Clean the system up as it is already. Florida still can't get it right. But if you're trying to enact your "blue wave", it was more like a "ripple" on election night. Blah.

  200. Funny, the vote-by-mail states have experienced no "abuse" whatsoever, and even the GOP election concern-trolls can't find any problem with it. The thinking expressed in the above comment is the product of a fevered, partisan imagination.

  201. @SecondChance Vote-by-mail has been successful for many years in WA, OR and other states. Please educate yourself.

  202. America has always had a pro-democracy movement. Thank you.

  203. Look closely at the Photo. There is absolutely NO valid excuse for these lines. The underlying strategy is to discourage Voting. Especially in Neighborhoods likely to cast their Votes for Democrats. ENOUGH. Voting by Mail, Nation wide. Seriously.

  204. Slightly off-topic but I just read that the Dems are proposing sweeping changes to voting rights, Citizens' United and adjustments to some presidential loopholes. Mitch McConnell (ever the master strategist) is already labeling these reforms as "presidential harassment." Of course, he should know about this topic given the way Republicans treated President Obama. Never forget when you don't vote, or allow others to elect dishonest representatives, you get the likes of Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Time to start paying attention, get involved, quit accepting the outright dishonesty of the Republicans and for heaven's sake vote.

  205. You comment about having to wait in line for 45 minutes on Election Day to vote. Does your state offer early voting options? One of the purposes of early voting is to diminish the Election Day lines.

  206. In my opinion16 is too young to vote, drive a truck, or join the military, or do legal drugs without a prescription, or get married. In most sixteen olds the frontal cortex (which lets you predict the consequences of your actions) is in an early state of development. Their brains are still learning about moral decision making. In fact, they are programmed to rebel against their parents and test limits. I would favor an eighteen year old age limit on all of these things, and I could be talked into going higher.

  207. @McGloin Yes- not until Civics is re- introduced into public schools, private and otherwise, should we consider lowering the age for voting. As a Bank Street College grad, I’m happy to report that Civics can begin in Pre-K as well. Young children as young as 3 can learn how neighborhoods, towns are organized, for starters, through project based learning. ( This exists in developmentally appropriate Pre K’s already). I’ve been canvassing for 5 months- spending lots of time at doorsteps, explaining to voters how our state legislature is organized, and the journey of a bill. Wow. We are so in need of Civics classes for 18 and up voters as well!

  208. If you really care about democracy you should support voter ID because it is important to make sure that only citizens vote and that other citizens know that only citizens voted. Democracy is not a partisan issue and you should not make it such.

  209. @Ludwig, it's REPUBLICANS who have made democratic norms a partisan issue, for -- CLEARLY -- exactly the reasons David Leonhardt cites here. If my experience in three states is any indication, identification was required to register long before the GOP got into the game of requiring specific ID, based entirely on the TYPE of ID prejudicial against D voters, and making a non-driver's license state ID as difficult as possible to acquire. For an example of the former, look no further than TX; the law passed there made a concealed carry permit acceptable, and a college ID unacceptable. What do you think the motivation there was?

  210. @John D. I think it is an illusion to think that all our problems are caused by Trump or by the Republicans and that the solution is to bash them. This way of thinking leads directly to divisiveness and to not being able to address and solve our problems which require bipartisanship. It sounds from your posting that you approve of voter ID. But just to show that you are a "good guy" you have to combine this approval with Republican bashing. Actually, you can agree with Republicans "at times" without becoming a bad guy. Think about it. Be brave!

  211. @Ludwig As is proved time and again, by very persistent investigators and watch dogs, only citizens vote now. This is a false flag.

  212. The truest (and saddest) statement in this op-Ed piece is that Republicans “fear the popular will.” Today’s GOP does the bidding of its largest donors: the NRA, the Koch brothers, and other Super PACs who have no interest in the needs and desires of average citizens. Our democracy is being tainted by repeated Republican gerrymandering and interference with voters’ rights. The Democrats must make fair redistricting and enforcement of the Voting Rights Act main priorities when they become the House majority in early 2019...

  213. I agree. Let the people vote. Those who are legally entitled to do so. And no others. No citizenship, no vote. No registration, no vote. No ID, no registration. If you have to provide ID to see a podiatrist, you should certainly have to provide an ID to vote. Do not restore voting rights for convicted felons. There is no reason to lessen the negative consequences of a life of crime. And make Election Day a day off from work for everyone.

  214. @Objectivist If all of the states had the Oregon voting system, where every registered voter recieves and may return a ballot in the mail, the will of the majority would prevail, polling place grid lock would be eliminated, an unhackable paper trail would be irrefutable evidence of the vote and it would cost billions less.

  215. @Objectivist We don’t need voter ID to make sure “only” citizens vote. This is a false flag. The most dogged republican investigators (local level, state level, national level) turn up no evidence, time and time and time again. US citizens keep proving that “only” citizens vote now.

  216. @Objectivist you don’t have to provide ID to a podiatrist if you pay cash

  217. I have two wishes: 1) That owning a gun should be made as difficult as having the right to drive a car, and 2) That the right to vote should be made as easy as it currently is to own a gun.

  218. Voting is a sure sign of a democracy and if this country wants to improve it's voting record then the entire country should take a look at and adopt the election process that the state of Oregon uses. It's simple, cost effective and they have a larger turn out then most of the other states. Go Oregon.

  219. The Democratic Party leadership needs to pay more attention to elections for state legislatures. They frequently seem only interested in elections for the big important national elections, and maybe a governorship or two. The result is democracy-endangering gerrymandering. I hope more states take steps to prevent or at least minimize that poisonous practice. That plus term limits would go a long way to supporting the democratic underpinnings of our republic.

  220. New York is the worst for registration and voting which I always found surprising considering what a blue state it is. Very difficult to vote by mail and no early voting. So that’s why you were stuck waiting in line for 45 minutes. This year I voted by mail which was extremely easy and only require that I post mark the ballad prior to election day. It also had the advantage of giving me an opportunity to look at the positions of races such as Ohio state score board and state judges while I filled out my ballot. I’ll never vote in person again. Allstate should have an opportunity for easy male loading.

  221. In my state, all voting is done by mail. No lines. No waiting. Ballots are sent about 2 weeks before an election and can be dropped off at various locations, or mailed in. Easy. No one has an excuse not to vote. Overall voter turnout was about 66%, with some counties' turnout as high as 80%. Nationally, it was only 49%, and that was considered a "record turnout." Clearly, something has to be done to improve voting in this country, where we claim to be so exceptional and democratic.

  222. @Ms. Pea. Colorado, too.

  223. Voter ID laws, a solution that is seeking a problem. The fact is voter fraud is a non-issue, and is used by Republicans as a ploy to prevent "those" people from voting. If you are concerned about people having ID's, then make getting an ID easy and cheap. Why is it that college ID's are not accepted, but gun licenses suffice? Countries where citizens are required If we are serious about expanding people's right and ability to vote, then let's have mandatory voting like Australia. Not only is voting compulsory, but they have voting on Saturday. Instead of having election day, let's have election week, which enables people who don't work a 9-5 schedule to have time to vote. The bigger the voter turn out, the better our government will be. Politicians respond to those who vote.

  224. @Sandeep You're so right. I was a poll worker for several years. My state doesn't require ID. But there are a lot of other checks at the polling place. It would be hard to actually cast a fraudulent vote in my experience.

  225. I always vote in person. I feel there is always a chance that absentee, vote by mail, early voting etc are easily hacked or issue like signature match etc come up. I want my vote to count and thus I always vote in person on election day. I am totally opposed to same day registration, as the officials running the election do not have the time to verify an individual. If you have same day registration then those ballots should be put aside until the verification of the voter is checked out. The problem with our voting is best symbolized by Brenda Snipes in Broward County. She is incompetent and should be removed from office. There needs to be standards set for voting officials chosen in an election. I am appalled by the current mess in Florida. If you want voting integrity then we should return to paper ballots. All these fancy electronic voting machines are easily hacked, especially in Urban areas.

  226. Voting is made more difficult than it should be because vested interests want it to be. We can perform a financial transaction of a million $ on line with absolute accuracy, and yet many must stand in line for hours to cast their vote.

  227. In Canada, every citizen has the right to vote, no ifs, ans or buts. It's the only clause in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms that uses the word "citizen." Now that I'm aware of how voting is restricted in the USA, I suspect that the framers of the Charter looked south of tghe border, and decided the right to vote had to be spelled out. Else it could be abridged, as it has been in the US.

  228. I did my best to get the youth to vote and it was hard really really hard. They didn't know they could register via cell phone and THAT made the difference. If we really want our citizens to vote in mass we need to allow voting via cell phones which for voting are as secure as anything we have going now.

  229. I worked at a voting precinct in California for the first time this election. I joined four other volunteers and worked a 15 hour day to see to it that this election took place and that every voter possible could vote. I left my house at 5:30am in the dark and returned at 10pm in the dark. It was such a stressful day that I literally was sick the next day. There were different forms to fill out for every problem that came up and then there were the many provisional ballots as many voters said they left their mail-in ballots at home or lost them. I was amazed to witness this process and wondered how they could possibly get enough volunteers to work this difficult job. My thought throughout the day was that it would make so much more sense to have strictly vote by mail. And it would improve the counting process as it could be done as the votes come in rather than doing it all on election night. We need to improve our method of voting in order to secure our Democracy.

  230. You forgot California. We've had a non-partisan redistricting board for years. While I was initially skeptical, I have to admit it has worked very well. I encourage others to adopt it. In addition, Utah may yet pass such a bill too. It's still too close to call.

  231. We are being split into two nations in many ways. But the most threatening is that in one of our nations, the state encourages voting. In the other, state power is arrayed against its own citizens to make voting harder. In one of our nations, all who are citizens are encouraged to fully participate in selecting their representatives. In the other nation, one party tries to restrict the citizenship of those who don’t generally support it. The scourge of anti-democratic behavior is mostly the result of the GOP - there is no voter suppression effort by the Democrats. But many citizens in states like mine have decided that neither party can be trusted to preserve democracy and assure fair elections. So we have created non-partisan commissions to draw voting district maps, taking away the power of both political parties to select their own voters. In California, we went further and created an electoral system where the top two vote winners meet in the general elections. That is intended to do exactly what has happened - allow moderates instead of zealots to be elected. In a couple of cases in the last two elections, that means that the Democratic Party favorites lost to other Dems who placed loyalty to the citizens ahead of loyalty to the party. I have written more than a few letters to the NYT expressing my fear that 2020 could be the last real election in the USA if the GOP wins state elections and redistricting. I still feel that way. But I am more hopeful for democracy.

  232. If Abrams and Gillum are defeated by voter suppression, the "administrations" of their rivals are illegitimate.

  233. one party wants every vote to count; the other does not both sides don;t do it