Retired Vermont attorney Rick Hubbard has crafted a special proposal to revise the U. S. Constitution. His new proposals are contained in a new book titled The Democracy Amendments.
Hubbard recognizes that changes to the U.S. Constitution would have to be ratified by at least 38 states. He believes that revisions are needed if we are to see our nation survive the problems we are seeing with the present system of government. His ideas focus specifically on how we elect federal officials and once elected, how they fulfill their responsibilities. Here’s what he would have changed:
1. Right to Vote – All citizens over 18 get to vote.
Result: Millions more voters included. Unified standards are adopted. Previously, we had 50 states subdivided into 3000+ counties and 13,000+ voting districts. Each had different and often contradictory policies regarding ballot design, voter ID, and whether active duty solders, felons, and students could vote.
2. Adopt Citizen Election Commissions (CECs)
Result: New Citizen Election Commissions replace gridlocked Federal Election Commissions and are established in each state. The new CECs will regulate all elections. Fifty percent of commissioners are independent citizens. They cannot be candidates or have ties to political parties. All CECs are mandated to prioritize citizen interests and maintain the integrity and fairness of the elections process.
3. Citizen Financed Elections
Result: Citizen’s United overturned. Each voter gets voucher, approximately $50, to allocate to candidates. No corporate contributions. Only candidates with broad support go further. Voters distribute their voucher funds to their chosen candidate(s). Voters become more informed and turnout increases. Candidates, elected representatives, and government administrators now support law, regulation, and policy that serve citizen interests, resulting in a huge return on citizen investment.
4. Citizen Redistricting
Result: No more gerrymandering. Citizen Election Commissions, not legislatures, now set voting districts. The process must now be open and transparent. Their creation must comply with U.S. Constitutional and Statute law, and be independent from legislative and political party influence.
5. Nonpartisan Blanket Primaries
Result: All candidates who qualify go on one ballot. Voters rank candidates and top two go on to general election. Only candidates with significant small contributions are on ballot. All voters now select the two top candidates for the general election – not small numbers from each party as before. Candidates must now have positions on issues that appeal much more broadly. This will reduce partisanship.
6. Majority Voting – Only two candidates.
Result: Winner must be backed by majority of vote. Having winners enjoy majority, rather than plurality, backing will reduce partisanship.
7. Use of Public Airwaves and Digital Networks
Result: Free broadcast time on all networks. Only qualified candidates may participate in the many debates and interviews. Qualified candidates will have broad exposure to voters. Neutral moderators will establish the questions and format to inform citizens, not serve the interests of candidates, political parties, or specific broadcasters. This will greatly reduce the cost of elections.
8. Shorter Election Cycles – 12 months or less.
Result: Election process structured to allow us to learn about candidates more quickly, so we can choose in less time, and dramatically shorten the election cycle.
9. Mandatory Full Disclosure – Campaign income, taxes and expenses disclosed promptly and publicly for all federal races, before we vote.
Result: Real time reporting for candidates. Enhance the integrity of the election process.
10. Encouraging Voting and Reducing Fraud and Mistakes
Result: All voters everywhere treated equally. One uniform standard – not fifty. The Federal Citizens Election Commission, with public funding, will now regulate our elections and establish uniform ballot and voting access requirements. This encourages more citizens to vote and improves the integrity of our political system.
Hubbard dreams of a new America where citizens have regained control of our political process. He believes that with these amendments, elected senators and representatives will have increased incentive to prioritize our interests above those of their political party and of wealthy and influential campaign donors.
Congress might quickly overturn laws like the 1987 Prescription Drug Marketing Act, which effectively blocks free trade in the reselling of brand name American drugs back across our borders at much lower prices. If prices reduced on total U.S. pharmaceutical sales by only 10%, a very conservative estimate, Americans would save at least $37 billion dollars per year.
“That’s enough money,” says Hubbard, “to finance our entire federal political process, at about $4 billion a year, for over 9 years into the future!
Hubbard’s book, The Democracy Amendments, lays out a detailed plan for reforming the American democracy. The book includes proposals with actual wording to amend our U.S. Constitution.