Standard Ballot: Would a federal ballot improve elections? 2012.11.07

Written by David Green.

It’s election day as these words are being written. It’s the end of a long and torturous campaign season where the electorate is so tired of heaps of campaign mailings, annoying robo-calls and endless advertising. Nearly a billion dollars was said to have been spent on television advertising alone, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decision and the “corporations are people” thinking.

It’s also the time when people start thinking about changes in the electoral process—changes that always seem insurmountable. Isn’t there a way to stop the robo-calls? Could election day be moved to the weekend? Let’s do away with the electoral college.

A suggestion heard this year is a call for a federal ballot separate from ballots with local issues. Along with the special ballot would come uniform rules.

No longer would the presidential race be subject to Florida’s infamous butterfly ballot. No longer would Ohio be able to change early voting regulations as election day draws near. Let states use any shenanigans they can get away with for state and local issues, but keep the federal election process clean.

Campaigns have learned that small changes in the registration and voting process can lead to important changes in the outcome of elections, but it’s embarrassing for the world’s democratic leader to throw up roadblocks to voting.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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