Big night for you the other night. You spent about $6 billion on an election, you have the same president but a whole pile of new senators and congress-folk, you passed or didn't pass some laws, and now everyone is a bit groggy, whether from victory toasted or sorrows drowned.
America, you're the longest lived representative democracy on the planet. You pretty much started this whole thing where we don't get hereditary tyrants and feudal lords telling us what to do.
But. you still have a few kinks to work out of the process.
Since we're outsiders up here in Canada, we can see a little clearer that there are different ways you could be doing things, options you have not explored.
Yes, yes, you're exceptional, a special and unique snowflake among the nations of the world. That's what every mom says about her kid, even when he's eating paste.
So let's get to a few places where you could use some work.
. Voting machines Yay, technology! It's so awesome that you can watch live-Tweet Transformers 3 on your iPad, but do you really need a machine to cast a ballot?
Here in Canada, our federal election process uses a highly advanced system, involving an ink-saturated fibrous core wrapped in an ergonomic cylindrical grip, which inscribes the voter's choice on a planar surface composed of processed cellulose with a print-based display function.
Yeah, when you say it that way, pen and paper sounds way more impressive.
Given that you have tried punch cards (dangling chads) and a number of Vegas-style electronic voting machines, this may seem simplistic. But a pencil or pen seldom registers a vote for Candidate A as one for Candidate B, as the infamous Obama-vote-counted-for-Romney video seems to show.
In addition, having a physical ballot makes recounts easier.
. Long lines at the polls Really, America? Really? The richest and most powerful country on Earth can't scrape together a few bucks to put another half dozen people in a church basement somewhere to cut down on waits up to four hours long?
I don't even have a real suggestion here, since it's obvious that you should just spend more money. Not even that much; it's pretty cheap to hire people for a couple of shifts, every four years. I'm pretty sure that counts as part time, and you won't have to pay them benefits.
We used to have this problem in Canada, too. We let politicians re-draw our electoral boundaries, and boy was that a bad idea. They invariably came up with these crazy shapes that would carve the land into safe fiefdoms for as many of their friends as possible.
I know that some U.S. states are cracking down, and doing what so many other countries have done: put this task in the hands of dull, dull, non-partisan bureaucrats and ex-judges. But this should really be happening nation-wide, and soon.
. Election spending
Last one here. Cap the spending. Just put some limits on it. Yes, free speech, etc., but in a country as big as the United States, where there are huge special interest groups, massive corporations, and wealthy loons, the people with the money drown out the voices of the people without money.
Whether you take any of this advice or not, I'm looking forward to the show in four years.
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