Or… how the USA is both best and worst at the same time.
Let there be no doubt, the United States is the strongest democracy in the world today. The history of the United States and its current standing in the world leaves no trace of doubt about its top position.
And yet, when digging just a tiny bit deeper, the honor of being the worst democracy in the world befalls the United States as well. Some would say that our democracy is failing no matter where we look. Yet that view occurs particularly when we look at the local levels of our democracy.
That’s right, the US is not found on this list. It is a European list only. Yet when placing the United States among these other nations, the last spot is then reserved for the ‘strongest’ democracy in the world.
Local Election Voter Turnout United States:
- “Measured as a percentage of the [Californian] voting-age population, turnout was […]: 32 percent in the average council election and 28 percent in the average mayoral elections.” https://www.ppic.org/wp-content/uploads/content/pubs/report/R_302ZHR.pdf
- The percentages seen for voter turnout at local elections show a range of “15 to 27 percent of eligible voters cast[ing] a ballot in their local elections.” https://www.nationalcivicleague.org/ncr-article/increasing-voter-turnout-in-local-elections/
The word anemic does not do justice to the voter turnout in local elections in the USA. We have one sick puppy on our hands, and not a single official does anything to help this patient.
There is a democratic crisis in the modern world. There is a war going on between democratic nations and autocratic nations in the world. We have to show the world what is so wonderful about living in a democracy. We have to fix what is terribly wrong with our own democracy.
Why are voters showing up in larger numbers in other nations for their local elections?
Because these voters get what they came for! Here is why:
- When going to a restaurant, and there is spaghetti and macaroni on the menu, the guests pick the item they want.
- When going to a restaurant, and there is spaghetti, macaroni, hamburgers and fries, three Thai dishes, five burritos, and eight soups on the menu, the guests pick the item they want.
Guess which restaurant gets more repeat visits?
Now you know why voters stay home in overwhelming majority for local elections in the United States. If the low-ball is accurate, then 85 percent of the voters are staying home because there is little real choice, and the spaghetti and macaroni being served is obviously not that good. The spaghetti and macaroni at the Federal level is hands down much better, even though the problematic voting system is used there, too.
There is a lot of choice in our USA stores. Bring money and there is hardly anything you cannot buy. Yet there is not much choice and not much competition in our political stores. Here, at our local stores, we find the most deplorable level of democracy in the democratic world. It could not be worse, except when living in one of those autocratic nations.
- We have Majority Rule twice. The majority of those showing up to vote get their winner. Next, the winners make decisions based on their majority.
Here is the disturbing truth:
If we have 30 percent of all eligible voters showing up for a local election (using an optimistic number this time), then the majority of them picked the winners. Let’s just say that this majority is based on 60 percent of all voters that showed up. The winners in the seats represent then 18 percent of all eligible voters (0.60 x 0.30 = 0.18).
These 18-percent representatives make a majority decision among themselves, say 60 percent.
The result is then that 10.8 percent of all eligible voters support the city or county decision (0.60 x 0.18 = 0.108).
How sick is that for a democracy?
Let’s compare this to Norway with 61 percent of all eligible voters showing up (they are embarrassed about how low that number is). Norway has a proportional voting system. So if your City or County has 4 seats, then 80 percent of the voters are guaranteed their pick in the outcome. If your City has 9 seats, then this moves up to 90 percent.
The majority on the council makes a decision. The support is then:
- For a City with 4 seats: 0.61 x 0.8 = 48.8 percent of all eligible voters.
- For a City with 9 seats: 0.61 x 0.9 = 54.9 percent of all eligible voters.
Compared to our local USA example, that is four to five times as many people supporting the city or county decision than what we have. And that was while giving the benefit of the doubt to the USA city and county outcome with a ‘higher’ voter turnout.
There truly are places in the USA with voter turnout lower than 15 percent for their local elections (and the calculations are then 0.15 x 0.6 x 0.6 = 0.054, that is 5.4 percent of all eligible voters directly supporting the political decisions).
All should be up in arms. No official is up in arms.
What can you do to get the better voting system in place at the local level here?
- There is good news: There is something that can be done.
The Founding Fathers are with us. They never envisioned a two-party system to begin with; it is the unfortunate but logical outcome of voting in districts. The Founding Fathers described voting in various manners, but not for Cities and Counties. So, no one can claim that elections must be held at the local level in such and such manner. Then, the Founding Fathers made sure that governments must use the better system. And that applies without any exception to elections at the local level of government.
No city or county has the better voting system in place today. And you can ask (actually you can demand) to have the better voting system be put in place.
Check out the list on this page to see if your city or county is on it:
If it is on there, send the Mayor, the City Clerk, and the County Election Commission an email. Put ‘Constitutional Invocation’ in the email header.
In the email, write that you want your City or County to follow the US Constitution and that you know that they must use the better voting system for the local level.
That’s all. These officials are aware what this Constitutional Invocation is about.
Here is the explanation:
With the Bill of Rights, governments are required to use the better system. They are not allowed to use a discriminating system if there is a better system available. This is true for any and all of their business. They must use the better system.
Many cities and counties may point to State rules and regulations that declare that Proportional Voting is verboten. The United States Constitution, however, is a tad more important than anything the States write for themselves. Cities and Counties cannot use the lesser system (and yet today they are).
If you want the State to use the better system as well, you need to write the Governor and the Secretary of State. Note that the State is given powers in the US Constitution, and therefore they may find wiggle room to wiggle themselves out from under that demand.
The local governments are not mentioned in the US Constitution, so they are not given any direct powers. They cannot wiggle themselves out from under your demand. You, the People, are given US Constitutional powers (the Ninth, the Tenth, the Fourteenth Amendment in light of this request), so you can stand firm. Go ahead. Pin them down.
If you want to do more, you can write any and all mayors, city clerks, and county election commissioners of Cities and Counties on the list and then demand the same. This time, however, you will need to do that on behalf of their local eligible voters.
On this list, I have placed the cities and counties for which I received the request by an eligible voter in that place to do just that. So you can count on these cities to have been invoked by one of their own.
If you don’t want to do anything this publicly yourself, but want me to Invoke your City or County, then reply with City and State (or County and State). Once I see your reply, I will hide it from sight, and send out a Constitutional Invocation to your City or County.
I will not make your name public. If officials want a name from their jurisdiction (something they ordinarily do not ask for), I will ask you politely, but we will do an outreach to find those that do not mind standing up in public if you don’t want to be that one. But ask, and step one is put in motion.
Cities and Counties do not have the legal standing to wiggle themselves out from underneath your demand. Our democracy needs a fix, and we can fix it at its weakest spot, the best-possible first step.
Come join us in this Local Revolutions grassroots movement. We can make sure our democracy ends up how it was intended to be.