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been c ompletely alien to Americ an s oil either. Georgia, des pite its later legac y of s lavery , s egregation and voter
intimidation, mandated in its 1777 c ons titution that any c itiz en who neglec ted to vote would be s ubjec t to “a penalty not
ex c eeding five pounds .”
At the time of the Americ an Revolution, voting was limited to landed white men. As Harvard profes s or and his torian
Alex ander Key s s ar pointed out in his book Right to Vote: The Contes ted His tory of Democ rac y in the United States , the
overwhelming trend s inc e then has been one toward greater inc lus ion and repres entation. Seen in this light, a polic y
mandating our c ivic duty is not an aberration of fundamental liberties . It is merely part of their c ontinuing evolution.
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Yes , c ompuls ory voting s hould be part of the equation. Shorter elec tion c y c les ; overturning or bloc k ing Citiz ens United by
new laws ; redefining "people" as c reatures who are produc ed by s ex rather than lawy ers in Delaware; adding "None of the
Above" to ballots ; permitting ALL c andidates who jump through the hoops to get on the ballot to partic ipate in debates ;
c hallenging the mos t egregious ly bias ed media; impos ing a "reflec tion period" at the end of the elec tion c y c le s o that
voters c an tak e time to think about their c hoic e; prohibiting c orporate monies to c andidates ; requiring all politic al
donations of ANY k ind to be public ly regis tered; putting a $1000 limit on politic al donations by a s ingle pers on -- all thes e
will help. But ultimately when two parties have a s tranglehold over the national dis c ours e, and no new ideas are permitted
to intrude, this is the main c aus e of politic al apathy . And, s adly , the one thing whic h would do the mos t to reinvigorate
democ rac y -- a parliamentary s y s tem whic h c an dis s olve a dy s func tional government in a heartbeat -- is c ons titutionally
unlik ely . The Founding Fathers really s c rewed things up.
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This document was uploaded on 01/16/2014.
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