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A Voter's Bill of Rights

By John Bonifaz, Candidate for Massachusetts Secretary of State  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)     Permalink
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1. Count every vote


The right to vote includes the right to have our votes properly counted.

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We must ensure that every citizen's vote will be counted. This includes a guarantee of open and transparent elections with verified voting, paper trails, and access to the source codes for, and random audits of, electronic voting machines. It also includes a guarantee that we the people, through our government, will control our voting machines — not private companies.


2. Make voting easier


We should enact election day registration here in Massachusetts, removing the barrier of registration prior to Election Day. Six states have election day registration. They have a higher voter turnout in their elections and have no evidence of voter fraud. We should be encouraging greater participation in the political process, starting with election day registration.


We should also ensure absentee voting for all, allow for early voting, and remove other barriers that make it difficult for people to vote.

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3. End the big money dominance of our electoral process


In a democracy, public elections should be publicly financed. In Maine and Arizona, publicly financed elections has enabled people to run for office who would never have dreamed of running under a system dominated by big money interests. We, as voters, need to own our elections, rather than allow the process to be controlled by the wealthy few.


We also need to enact mandatory limits on campaign spending. In 1976, the Supreme Court wrongly struck down mandatory campaign spending limits for congressional elections. A federal appeals court in New York has recently revisited that decision and ruled that campaign spending limits in Vermont can be constitutional. That case is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Massachusetts should help lead the way with campaign spending limits for our elections.


4. Expand voter choice


Instant run-off voting: Voters should be able to rank their choices of candidates, ensuring majority support for those elected and allowing greater voter choice and wider voter participation.


Cross Endorsement Voting (Fusion voting): Voters should be able to cast their ballots for major party candidates on a minor party's ballot line, placing power in the hands of the people and broadening public debate on the issues of the day.


Proportional Representation: Voters should be allowed their fair share of representation, ensuring that majority rule does not prevent minority voices from being heard.

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5. Ensure access for new citizens and language minorities


The right to vote does not speak one specific language. It is universal. No one should be denied the right to vote because of a language barrier.


6. Level the playing field for challengers

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