A World Where Your Vote Will Count
by Paul VanRaden
"All those other constitutions are documents that say:
'We, the government, allow the people the following rights,'
and our constitution says
'We, the people, allow the government the following privileges and rights.' "
Ronald Reagan, February 5, 1981
Constitutional reform comes slow now, while society changes fast.
Recent amendments to the
1) Two different sets of law-makers (the house of representatives and the senate) vote separately on two different sets of bills. Further changes are introduced by conference committees. After this, the executive branch (the president) may veto the work of the legislative branch, who then may vote again to over-ride the veto. This whole process is slow, inefficient, and hard for voters to monitor.
2) The principle of one person, one vote is ignored in the senate.
Each state gets the same number of votes (2) in the
4) Presidential candidates with the most votes do not always win presidential elections. A recent example was Al Gore receiving more votes than George W. Bush in 2000 but being defeated. Again, as a result of a bad compromise written into article 2, section 1 of the 1789 constitution, small states have more influence than they deserve when electing the nationís president.
5) The titles of many office holders are not very descriptive. The
vice-president of the
The United Nations charter has many, more serious problems.
1) In the U.N. charter, only nations count, not people. The basic principle of one person, one vote is never used at the United Nations. When votes are counted in the security council and in the general assembly, a nationís population size and number of voters are always ignored.
2) A dictator that wonít count votes within his own nation gets to vote at the United Nations, and his vote is given equal credit to a vote from any elected government.
3) Five of the nations that won the second world
4) The five permanent members of the security council each have veto power over resolutions, amendments to the charter, or appointment of the secretary-general. This severely limits the United Nationsí ability to act, to change, or to choose strong leaders.
You say you want a revolution ...
You say you'll change the constitution.
from the song Revolution by The Beatles, 1968
Will your vote make a difference? About Ĺ of Americans already
have decided that taking an hour or two to vote, even once every four years, is
not worth their time. Only about 1/3 of Americans vote for senators and
representatives in the elections held every two years between presidential
elections. In the
When the votes are counted to elect a president, or a governor, or a senator, or any election where one winner is chosen from each district, an individualís vote in fact makes no difference unless the election is a tie or is decided by only one or two votes. Only in these very rare cases does each vote make a difference. In large state or national elections where millions of people vote, the chances are nearly 100% that your vote will not decide who wins and who gets power, because the winner will beat the loser by more than just your vote.
If the election is not very close, why bother to vote? If your favorite candidates have no chance to win, why should you vote for them. If none of the candidates share your beliefs, why should you vote at all?
Election laws will be changed, and then your vote count will count. Solutions are simple.
1) Elected officials will have power only in proportion to the vote count, not the census count. If you vote for your representatives, their influence in the government will increase. Their votes will get more credit because you voted for them, not simply because you exist and were counted in a census.
2) Winner-take-all elections will be replaced by proportional
representation and power sharing such as used in modern democracies. Voters in
the democratic nations of Europe, Asia, South America, and
3) One person will get one vote and all votes will count equally. People will share power based on the number of votes counted, not the area of land controlled. States and territories will have power only in proportion to the number of voters that live there.
4) Election laws that make sense for governing cities, states, and nations will also be used for governing the world. International law will be based on the same basic rules of democracy. Power will be shared by the people of the world according to population size and number of voters within each nation. The United Nations Charter will be completely revised so that each voter in the world will be counted.
5) No national government will be allowed to vote in international
elections if it does not allow its own citizens to vote. United Nations delegates
will be directly elected by the people instead of appointed by the national
government, similar to election of
All adults will have the right to vote in future elections, but
many canít vote today. Some national governments in Africa and
"It is preposterous to presume that the people of one generation
can lay down the best and only rules of government
for all who are to come after them"
Ulysses S. Grant, 1885
Real change really is possible, and progress today should be easier than in the past. In revolutionary wars, civil wars, and world wars, brave people gave their lives to give others the right to vote. But violence is not needed for change to occur. After only a cold war, many communist governments disappeared. White people finally did vote yes to let black people vote. Men finally did vote yes to let women vote.
People in small states finally will vote yes to let people
in big states have equal representation. Elected officials finally will take
power away from kings, queens, dictators for life, military rulers, and
single-party states. Constitutions will be written, amended, re-written, and
adopted by the people. Recent work to develop a constitution for
Politics could become a subject worthy of study. Politician could be a job title that people could look up to and that many would want to compete for. Salaries and bonuses for politicians could be increased to be competitive with other top professions if new election laws provide law-makers that better represent and are respected by the populations they serve. With modern communication, law-makers might continue to live in their districts and cast votes by e-mail instead of living in capitol cities and concentrating power there. Democracy could evolve instead of being stuck in the past.
The idea of democracy began thousands of years ago, but most nations did not have democratic governments until recent decades. The laws of democratic nations have improved greatly over the last two centuries, but still have some very serious flaws. This report attempted to solve some remaining problems of democracy by proposing new laws to govern people and nations.
Americans declared independence from the King of Great Britain in 1776. In todayís more democratic world and global economy, Americans should reverse their revolution. They should sign a declaration of dependence on the rest of the world. They should admit that in the age of global travel, trade, and communication, we all affect and are affected by the people outside of our own nation. The citizens of earth are now connected, and our laws should recognize our dependence.
Even very good laws become stale after 250 years. Americans will
The United Nations charter must be revised sooner than that. People everywhere already agree that democracy works within nations, and they will agree that the principles of democracy can work nearly as well across nations. National governments will begin to follow international law. Words spoken by dictators will be replaced by laws written by elected officials. Anarchy and totalitarianism and will both be replaced by effective, controlled international government.
Officials will be elected to make and to enforce international laws and judges will be appointed to hear individual cases so that each of us does not have to take the law into our own hands or vote on every proposed new law. We expect that the actions of elected officials will represent the wishes of all people, or we will get new officials and new rules.
Excuse me, Mr. Chairman. Will the senator from