5 Apr 2012


 Americans are often told that voting is a sacred right and the foundation of American democracy.
That the United States is the world’s most democratic nation.

The government provides financial support, technical assistance, and political resources to promoting global democracy and the US news media are quick to publicise inadequacies in the way that other countries conduct elections.

The US should look at their system and begin at home. They should begin by identifying fundamental flaws in the way that the US practices one person, one vote, and by questioning whether elections actually function to promote a level playing field.

One of the key ways in which those with great wealth preserve the status quo is to deter less privileged citizens from voting.
The Jim Crow laws preventing African Americans from voting after the abolition of slavery and the passage of the 15th Amendment following the Civil War.
The means used were levying a poll tax (a fee) in order to vote and it required those seeking to register to pass a literacy test, one that was administered by local election officials.

Many long-standing measures ostensibly enacted to ensure honest elections are in fact designed to achieve the goal of reducing turnout by youth, racial minorities, and low-income groups.

The enormous expenditures by the super-rich on election campaigns.
Registration requirements.
In order to be eligible to vote in the US, one must register to be placed on the voting rolls. In most states, the registration process is complex and cumbersome. Citizens must register before the election and at times and places that are not well known.

Many countries, citizens are automatically registered when they reach voting age, or can register throughout the year at their local town hall.

Several measures further trim the electorate. For example, one must have lived in a community a sufficient length of time to register to vote. The residency requirement especially affects college students.
Another group barred from registering is the former prison population. While prisoners are ineligible to vote in most countries, many US states permanently disqualify felons who have fully served their prison sentences.

The act of voting.
The difficulties of voting do not end with registration. In most countries, voting occurs on Sunday, a day of leisure.
Elections in the USA are typically held on Tuesday - a weekday and therefore an inconvenient time for many citizens to reach the polls. Nor is there much provision for early or absentee voting.

The barriers to voting helps explain why voting turnout in the United States is among the lowest of long-established democracies.
In a democracy touted as the best in the free world it is a lamentable this situation, though it is hardly new, the situation has worsened in the recent years.

Malcolm Turnbull(once leader of the opposition in Australia)
Mr Turnbull has sharply criticised the corrupting power of money in the US and described America as looking ''like a country that is barely governed''.

The former Liberal leader and member of Tony Abbott's shadow cabinet says American politics is becoming ''profoundly dysfunctional''.

He attacks the Republican idea that the budgetary situation can be improved by cutting the taxes of the wealthy as ''just bizarre'', and describes the right-wing Tea Party as extreme, reactionary and radical.

Author Robert Manne writes: ''He thinks that American voluntary voting encourages Republican extremism and the search for 'hot-button issues', like abortion or guns or gay marriage or Obama as a secret Muslim.

''He is concerned about the fragmentation of opinion and collapse of the rational centre. He is profoundly concerned about the 'self-evident' corrupting influence of 'the power of money'.''

Super Pacs
By allowing corporates to make unlimited donations of this kind, the court gave birth to the so-called Super Pacs, which are turbocharged fundraising "political action committees" that support a candidate while remaining nominally independent of his or her campaign.

Australia, do we have the beginning of Super Pacs
In Australia in recent times we have seen corporate power wield it's money in what could only describe as political manipulation, they do so with immunity without any direct linkage to political parties.
The future may see them using the same logic to manipulate the electorate system by having no direct link to parties. There appears to be nothing to stop this evolving into something similar to Super Pacs.

Beware Australia it will be the beginning of the end for what we call Democracy.

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