By observations over time, we come to understand that we live in a dysfunctional democracy. One day, we realize we’re not well represented. If you’re on this page, you know that already. You've concluded the various systems of governance and elections under which you, your family, friends and neighbors all live, need fixing.


Two nearly ubiquitous common denominators prevent the United States from becoming a "Full Democracy", at every level of government, in nearly every district, two sides of the same coin.


     Concentration of Money and Power.

     Exclusion of the majority of people from decision making.


The more money and power are concentrated, the more people are excluded from decision making. The more people are excluded, the less our interests are represented.


The cure to concentrated, corrupt, unaccountable power is dispersed, transparent, accountable power.

The cure to exclusion from decision making is to include everyone.

The cure to distorted representation is accurate representation.

The cure to predetermined elections are competitive elections in every district.

The cures to distortions in vote counting are to identify all distortions, remove them, count all votes in outcomes and retain voter intent throughout the vote counting process.


Distortions in Representation and Vote Counting


All electoral systems should be design to accurately reflect the electorate and retain voter intent. Systemic exclusion of large blocks of voters using First Past the Post (FPTP) elections in Single Member Districts, is the single greatest cause of distortion in representation. Voter intent is destroyed in every Single Member District electoral system. The worst version of Single Member District systems is First Past the Post (FPTP), ubiquitous throughout the United States, Canada and other English speaking countries. The solution is to eliminate Single Member Districts as much as possible and include voter intent throughout the vote counting process, with a target of 0% wasted votes.


In the United States Presidential elections, the Electoral College (EC) distorts voter intent and excludes huge blocks of voters from having a voice in the outcome. The EC is best resolved by its abolition, however, Madison made that nearly impossible. The best workaround is the National Popular Vote.


Two major distortions in Single Member Districts, the Spoiler Effect and Gerrymandering, are both remedied by Proportional Representation in Multi Member Districts. Pro Rep accurately includes candidate and voter diversity from all demographic subsets of the electorate, proportionate to their percentage of the vote, in all outcomes. Pro Rep is also the most effective solution to eliminate distortions in vote counting, retaining voter intent throughout the counting process, resulting in outcomes matching input. Proportional Representation in Multi Member Districts for all legislative bodies, using either STV or MMP/STV with Open Lists, and ranking systems for candidates and parties, effectively mirrors voter intent.


Government for the Next 250 years


The more power is dispersed, the more choices voters have in candidates and parties, the greater the diversity of representation. The greater the diversity of representation there is, the more likely every slice of the electorate will be fairly represented. The more fairly represented people are, the more likely everyone's needs will be met.


To remedy persistent issues like predetermined elections in most districts and represent every voter fairly and inclusively, we can cherry pick the best features of proven solutions from EIU "Full Democracies", that use Proportional Representation. We can replicate what New Zealand did in 1994, replace First Past the Post in Single Member Districts systems designed to concentrate power and exclude people, with systems designed to disperse power and include nearly everyone.



94 countries have adopted Proportional Representation in Multi Member Districts, eliminating most distortions in vote counting. The United States, Canada and the UK (some UK elections use Pro Rep) are laggards, using antiquated early forms of democracy in Single Member Districts. It is up to each generation to correct the mistakes of the past. If the current system does not serve us well, it is our responsibility to change it.



Proportional Representation = Fair Representation


Proportional Representation systems in Multi Member Districts provide a close correlation between the percentage of votes received for a particular group of candidates, represented by their party, and the percentage of seats that party then receives in government. With 49% of the vote, party "A" receives about 49% of the seats. Input matches output. Most variations of Pro Rep yield 7-10 parties, giving candidates much greater ballot access, and far more choice for voters.


In countries using FPTP in Single Member Districts, 49% will often result in a large minority receiving 0% representation. When more than two candidates run, the Spoiler Effect exacerbates distortions. Some parties have won 100% control with less than 40% of the vote, due to the Spoiler Effect. This is a very common issue in Canada and the UK.


The following remedies were designed to address issues in the United States. Many are applicable to other countries.


Government and Electoral Institutions are designed to concentrate Money and Power


The Main Problem: The majority of the US electorate is excluded from decision making by an institutionalized Cartel. Wealth and power are concentrated and funneled upward to a wealthy elite and giant multi-national corporations. The Cartel is controlled by plutocrats and giant corporations through legitimized grifting. Entrenched powers use their power to entrench themselves further. Since slavers took control of the country in 1787, predatory capitalists from a wealthy privileged class have had command and control of the US government.


Donald Trump taught us that every institution not tightly defined with rules of conduct, with clear consequences for violating standards of conduct, can be abused. Systemic issues require that we systemically identify and remedy weaknesses in our institutions and systems.


Principal Solutions: All electoral systems should disperse power and include everyone. Remove and replace institutions designed to concentrate power, distort representation and exclude people with institutions designed to disperse power fairly, represent and include everyone in decision making. Any government structure or rule that fails to serve the common good, that favors one group over another, should be identified and replaced.


Government Structures for the 21st Century.






1)     Abolish the Senate: Remove all the distortions, redundancy, obstacles, and concentrated power in the Senate by abolishing it.


2)     Democratize the Supreme Court: Introduce term limits, disperse concentrated power, make Justices Accountable.


3)     Abolish the Electoral College: Abolish the greatest monument to slavery.


4)     Replace Article V in the Constitution: A 55% threshold national plebiscite vote on Constitutional Amendments will add needed flexibility.


5)     Triple the number of seats in the US People's House of Representatives: By dispersing power, greater diversity and granularity are achieved in every district. Tripling the size of the House would mitigate the Electoral College distortion without a Constitutional Amendment.


6)      Nationally elected Presidents concentrate power in one individual. Move to a Western European parliamentary model with a Prime Minister. Accountability under the current system doesn't work. Split government is disfunctional. Make the leader of the country  accountable in real time.


7)      In 1967 Congress passed a law (PL 90-196) which prohibited at-large and other multi-member elections by states with more than one US House seat. PL 90-196 must be repealed. In its place, we should adopt Hybrid Proportional Representation (Hybrid Pro Rep, HPR) with a 3% party threshold and 20% leveling seats, in the US House. Require Open party lists.


8)     Make law enforcement, currently the Department of Justice (AG, FBI) a separate branch of government. Make the AG's office elected using the Supreme Court model.


9)     Make Every County in the US a Home Rule County with self governance.


10)     Allow votes for statehood self-determination by Puerto Rico and Washington D.C.




Elections and Ballot Access


The Problem: Electoral systems are designed to constrain candidate ballot access, party ballot access, voter ballot access and initiative ballot access. In the US, each type of suppression produces distorted, predetermined outcomes favoring the two Cartel parties. Few candidates running for office result in limited voter choice, predetermined elections and unaccountable elected officials.


Voting Systems


The Problem: The theory of "States Rights" has produced systems with a wide variety of voter, candidate and party ballot access issues. Oftentimes States Rights have meant discriminatory laws.


Solutions:  We need to identify all obstructions, distortions and biases, remove and replace them with standardized systems that guarantee fair access to ballots and elections. National standards need to be applied to insure that every state meets thresholds of fair representation, equal access and voting integrity.


11)     Adopt Mixed Member Proportional/Single Transferable Vote (MMP/STV) with a 3% party threshold, 20% leveling seats in all US federal, state, county and local legislatures. Require Open party lists with ranked votes, at all levels of government, in every geographical district.


12)     Range Voting aka Olympic/Score Voting for Single Member administrative offices such as a county District Attorney or sheriff is far more inclusive, nuanced and easier to tabulate than any other voting method in Single Member Districts, better than FPTP, Instant Runoff Voting/Ranked Choice or Approval Voting.


13)     Most electoral systems in the US have not enlarged their legislative bodies for decades, sometimes for over a century. Enlarging legislative bodies is NOT increasing the size of government. Enlarging city council, county commissions, state and national assemblies enables more granularity, more diversity, more accurate and inclusive representation. Fine Grain representation disrupts concentrated, unaccountable power. We need to increase the size of legislatures to disperse power and include a more diverse cross section of each community, with set standards for representation based on population.     


Candidate Ballot Access and Elections


The Problem: Too many communities are systemically marginalized and excluded from decision making. Inclusive group decision making better represents and protects everyone’s priorities and interests much better than exclusive, autocratic, profit driven decision making. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said it best: "If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu."

Solutions: Level playing fields with easy candidate ballot access, introduce lots of choice and accountability. Take money out of influencing elections.


14)     MMP/STV with Open Lists. Each party decides its own candidate ballot access and candidate ballot position. The incentive for each party is to recruit a full slate of high quality candidates for voters to pick from in every district.


15)     Complete transparency of campaign funding published on the net with timely reporting.


16) The Donald Trump Rule: Require that candidates disclose the previous 3 years of federal tax returns with their candidate filing papers in order to qualify as a candidate for federal, state and local government offices, and disclose taxes the entire time they are in office to maintain transparency.


17)     Reduce the influence of campaign spending inequities. Mandate public funding of campaigns to match small dollar donations.


18)     Compensation: pay elected officials a Living Wage. Low wages paid to local and state officials preclude low-income residents from serving.


19)     Require a minimum number of candidate debates. Incumbents notoriously evade debates. All candidates must be held accountable for their votes and platform positions in public forums.


Party Ballot Access


The Problem: Electoral system design frequently eliminates parties before elections are conducted, by a series of obstacles limiting ballot access. Viability in general elections preclude candidates from running and parties from putting candidates up to represent their point of view. Opposition parties don't bother running candidates when elections are predetermined. This limits voter choice.


Solutions: Level playing fields with easy party ballot access, will introduce lots of choice and much more accountability. Take money out of influencing elections. Mixed Member Proportional with ranking represents every party and voter fairly and accurately, with as few as 1% wasted votes.


19)     MMP/STV with Open Lists. This solution is a repeat of #11 and #14. One solution "MMP/STV" solves both candidate and party ballot access issues. Low thresholds for party ballot access: Parties which receive a minimum threshold of 1% of the votes the previous election, gain ballot access. Also online petition gathering may qualify a party for ballot access with signatures from 1% of "Active" voters. MMP ranked ballots allocates seats to any party clearing the 3% threshold.



Voter Ballot Access


The Problem: Voter Repression has existed since before the United States was founded. As determined at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, 94% of the populace was excluded from representation, and 18% were made slaves. We still haven't achieved universal voter registration. Engagement and knowledge of civics is low compared to other OECD countries. Single Member District map making concentrates power and distorts outcomes.


Solutions: Identify and remove all barriers and obstructions to voter access. Incentivize voting, make voting easier, remove any obstructions to voting (physical, language, time constraints), offer incentives for low income voters, adopt universal registration techniques. Define and criminalize voter suppression and prosecute those who try to restrict the voting rights of others. Many of these issues are remedied by HR 1, that Mitch McConnell has blocked from a vote in the Senate. McConnell illustrates the evil of concentrated power, one man excluding everyone else from having a voice.


We can address some of the Ballot Access issues by implementing several reforms:


21)     Same Day Registration is an effective tool to raise voter participation. As of 2020, a total of 21 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted same day registration (SDR), which allows any qualified resident of the state to go to register to vote and cast a ballot all in that day.

• Seven of the top ten states with the highest turnout offer Same Day Registration (SDR).

• In contrast, eight of the bottom ten states in turnout cut off voter registration four weeks before the election.

• States with SDR policies had turnout rates seven percentage points higher than non-SDR states.


22)     Universal Vote at Home (Vote by Mail)

• Three of the four Vote at Home States – Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – ranked in the top ten in turnout.

• These states send all registered voters ballots 2 - 3 weeks in advance and provide secure and convenient options to return it.

• Utah, the fourth and newest state to implement Vote at Home statewide, led the nation in voter turnout growth over 2014.

Vote At Home is the safest way to vote in times of TRUMP-19 and is much more convenient than standing in long lines.


23)     Universal Voter Registration in all districts.

• Since 2016, 17 states and the District of Columbia have enacted automatic voter registration policies.

• The five states that reported their AVR registration data saw their state’s list of registered voters increase

on average of four times more over 2014 than 22 states without AVR or SDR policy."


24)     Criminalize Voter Suppression and Dirty Tricks. Restricting the right to vote needs to be defined, made illegal, with perpetrators prosecuted.



Initiative Ballot Access


The Problem: Initiatives break the monopoly legislators have on changing policy. Initiatives put people in the drivers seat, allowing voters to implement change the Cartel won't allow. Barriers and obstructions exist at every level of government to petition gathering and ballot initiatives. Many counties across the US are not Home Rule and do not allow citizen's initiatives. Some states have high financial barriers to citizen's initiatives. Ballot initiatives have become the province of wealthy corporations.


Solution: Direct Democracy Initiatives break the monopoly legislators have on changing policy. Initiatives put people in the drivers seat.


25)     Implement online signature gathering for Ballot Initiatives at all levels of government, that currently allow initiatives.


26)     Implement an initiative process in all the counties that are not Home Rule counties across the US, with online signature gathering.


27)     Implement an initiative process at the federal level, similar to the UK model (Do Not Sign unless a UK citizen) with online signature gathering.



Campaign Finance



28)     Change the way campaigns are funded from large-dollar private funding to small-dollar public funding.



29)     Remove all Dark Money funding of political campaigns (candidates and initiatives). Require transparency of campaign income sources and expenditures.



Election Integrity



30)     Paper ballots with Risk Limiting Audits of all elections in every district, institutionalize post election sample testing for accuracy.


31)     All aspects of the election process shall be transparent and open to public inquiry.


32)     Require candidates on the ballot to recuse themselves from administering their own elections.



Good Governance, Transparency and Accountability


The Problem: Government serves the people. Government serves with the consent of the governed. Government should always prioritize the health, welfare and happiness of the governed. This becomes impossible when government bodies and officials serve plutocrats, large corporations and themselves. Government is the only industry that writes its own rules and self-regulates. Self-regulation has resulted in a Cartel or One Party Dominant districts with little to no choice for voters, limited accountability and murky transparency.


Solutions: Good Governance, Transparency and Accountability need to be institutionalized and enforced, or corrupt individuals will take over and abuse the rest of us.


33)     Without a healthy planet, we can't have healthy communities. Government must stop and reverse climate change. Punitive taxes for carbon emissions and other pollution should be phased in over the next five years on a sliding scale. The more you pollute, the more you pay. Pollution needs to be made unacceptable and unprofitable. Adopt the Green New Deal.


34)     Eliminate lifetime pensions for one term in Congress. Benefits for elected officials should match the same benefits as any other federal employee.


35)     The government has to be fiscally responsible, pass a budget by a set time each year, or new elections are called.


36)     Power should be dispersed and pushed down to local governments and Communities: Community Rights should be emphasized as much as possible.


37)     All Governments should follow the 12 Principles of Good Governance.


38)     The first step in reforming distorted representation, is identifying where the distortions occur, followed by why. This is where the Best Democracy Index comes in. By measuring pluralism, we can objectively identify and define who is and who isn't being represented. Implementing the Best Democracy Index at every level of government measures Good Governance and Pluralism.


A function of the Index would be to measure votes and legislation of each legislator in a searchable database in real time. Also to provide feedback mechanisms for public engagement, on the digitdemos model.


39)     Independent Good Governance Boards required and established in every city, county, state and at the federal level, to monitor, audit and measure the Best Democracy Index.


40)     Transparent, annual audits of all government programs.


41)     Enact “Refuser Protection Laws" so that employees at all levels of government - federal, state, county, municipal, and other (e.g. school boards) - are educated, encouraged, protected and supported in their right and responsibility to refuse superiors' unlawful orders. Sworn to Refuse.


42)     The establishment of a weekly "Question Time" in the House, of the governing coalition.


43)     Recall protocols required for every public office. Recalls shall be through an online petition gathering process.


44)     Require that a Living Wage be paid to all local and state elected officials.


45)     Remove pardon power from Presidents. Transfer the pardon power to a House Justice Sub-Committee on pardons and paroles.


Communications


46)     Concentrated media ownership restricts the free flow of news and opinion. Disperse media concentration by breaking up Media Conglomerates using anti-trust laws already on the books. The top 6 media companies by market valuation should be broken up using anti-trust laws.


47)     Reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine in journalism.     


48)     Disinformation campaigns undermine the integrity of elections and Good Governance by multiple means. All citizens should have access to accurate news and information. The FCC needs strong enforcement mechanisms beyond citizen and corporate lawsuits when large media companies deliberately spread misinformation. Broadcast and corporate licenses should be revoked for the deliberate spread of false and misleading information.


Social media and all other publishers have a responsibility to monitor and verify that the information on their platforms is factually correct. Platforms with consistently incorrect information should lose their corporate and FCC licenses. We're looking at you Rupert and Mark.



Economic & Equity Reform


The Problem: Huge disparities in wealth exist between rich and poor. To a large degree, we have become an inherited aristocracy with a lack of social mobility and opportunity for our least privileged classes. These disparities create miserable living conditions for poor people, instability, issues with access to education, health care and housing.


Solutions: Eliminate the huge disparity in wealth between rich and poor. For this to happen, control of the national wealth needs to be in the hands of the majority, not a privileged class of plutocrats and international corporations.



49)     Nationalize the Federal Reserve. Bring control of the money supply and interest rates back into the national domaine.


50)     Establish Public Banking in every state.


51)     Establish an annual national net worth tax on personal and corporate wealth: $5 - $50 million at 1%, $50+ million at 2%.


52)     Tax estates over $5 million at 50%, estates over $10 million at 65%.


53)     Discourage corporations and plutocrats from moving assets offshore. Tax foreign ownership of US assets at 2X the rate of domestic ownership.


54)     The Mike Lindell/Rupert Murdoch Rule: Make the officers of corporations personally responsible for what their companies do.



Check out the discussion and news feed on Best Democracy on Facebook.

54 New Rules for Good Governance


Overdue Remedies to US Democracy


Jesse Kumin 12 Dec 2020

      updated 22 Feb 2021

It's time to replace old rules with New Rules.

Hot Springs County, WY Courthouse © 2019 Jesse Kumin, All Rights Reserved

Unicameral Legislature

Elected Judiciary

Elected Justice Branch