A proposal for a citizen oriented Independent National Election Integrity Commission
It is no surprise to any of us that there are significant questions about the validity of this past election, although many of us are outraged at the extent that Trump and his supporters are taking their grievances.
This election has come at a peak of polarization in this country - there is a deep distrust of all levels of government:
“There is a widening gulf between American aspirations for and assessments of the news media. With each passing benchmark study, the American people render deeper and increasingly polarized judgments about the news media and how well it is fulfilling its role in our democracy.”
It is not surprising that the distrust among Americans of the voting process is also widespread:
Simply repeating that the “election is over” will probably not appease the Trump supporters – there is just too much suspicion: www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-passes-supporters-gathered-for-million-maga-march/ar-BB1b0YyY
It is possible that recounts in GA and WI will help diffuse the angst of the Trump supporters a bit, but there may be another way to transform their anger into positive action. We might be able to direct their energy into examining the election discrepancies they are discussing on their social media platforms into better understanding of election processes, and into reform and standardization of our Federal Elections - which we have been working towards for a long time.
I am envisioning asking Congress to fund an Independent National Election Integrity Commission, with significant public participation, which might be a great step towards unity and healing across America, and also may lead to real election reform. An Independent National Election Integrity Commission should provide a platform for all of our election related issues as long as we structure this Commission so that the corporations, politicos, and big money donors don't become the gatekeepers of information, testimony and resultant recommendations to Congress.
I envision that a neutral body such as the Brennan Center For Justice, www.brennancenter.org, could be named the fiscal agent of any funds that are allocated by Congress. Their duties would not be to direct the Commission but merely to get it up and running, then step out of the direct management of it.
They would set up a website where the public was invited to nominate members to this Commission based on criteria that included:
1) A requirement of at least 4 years of expertise with any of the topics that the Commission will be examining – this could include: published papers, books, websites or research, grassroots organizing, and advocacy,
2) No politicians or candidates who have run for office in the last 4 years or who are planning to run in the next 4 years,
3) No campaign staffers for any candidate who has run for office in the last 4 years or who are planning to run in the next 4 years,
3) No one with a history of donations, greater than $2700, to any candidate, political committee or PAC including public referendum, in the last 4 years,
4) No ties to any election related corporation or vendor, or any subsidiarity of these corporations or vendors.
5) No ties to any media or polling corporation or vendor, or any subsidiarity of these corporations or vendors.
Citizens who do not meet the criteria for inclusion as Commission or Working Group members may still be called upon to testify in front of the Commission, so it does not mean that they will have no possibility of engaging in this process.
The fiscal agent would appoint a Coordinating Committee from names provided by public nomination, vetted for the qualifications, reflective of our national demographics, and inclusive of all parties in a balanced way - including third parties (any third party who has run a candidate for President in any state, during the last 8 years, and received at least 1% of the statewide vote total, could be represented by 1 member on the Coordinating Committee).
The Coordinating Committee would then use public nominations from the website to appoint several working groups:
- Ballot Access, opening the process to Alternative Parties
- Voter Registration, “Allow My People to Vote”, avoiding Voter Suppression
- The Exploration of Alternative Voting Systems such Approval and Ranked Choice Voting
- Voting and its Technology - What are the pitfalls with our present types of voting: VBM, Early Voting and Election Day? What types of technology provide more election integrity? What types of technology are more user friendly to the voters, and the election workers? What are the risks of allowing corporate vendors with proprietary hardware and software into our Federal elections?
- Auditing our elections – publishing ballot images, hand recounts vs machine recounts, automatic recounts, RLAs
- Public observation and participation in our elections – how do we improve transparency?
- Getting the money out of politics – where do we go from here?
- The Electoral College – shall we keep it? What is the remedy?
- Gerrymandering – what are the solutions?
- Election Polling and the Media's involvement in our elections – what is the way forward?
Are there other working groups that should be included?
The goals of the Independent National Election Integrity Commission would be to make recommendations to Congress to improve voter participation, and the transparency, verifiability, and trustworthiness of our elections for the general public. Also to make recommendations to standardize our Federal Elections via Congressional action.
To accomplish this goal the Independent National Election Integrity Commission would be tasked with significantly engaging the public through every step of the process, providing transparency and accountability within their own Commission and Working Groups.
I have already floated this idea past Rep. Ro Khanna of CA who thought it was an excellent idea.
I will appreciate any feedback about this proposal,
Dr. Lora Chamberlain
Organizer for Clean Count Cook County