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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
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    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
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    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
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    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
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    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.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.

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