America's Entire Electoral System “Rotting From the Inside Out”
Now that Christmas is over, I can go ahead and write this depressing, most un-Christmasy post. The linked article isn't just the usual bitching about voter suppression or elections being stolen by dark money. Those are just symptoms of a much larger systemic problem.
America's fifty-plus state electoral systems — one for each state, each U.S. territory and the District of Columbia — are basically a giant cesspool of corruption and inaction. Ditto for the Federal Election Commission, which is supposed to be overseeing all of the state operations. From the linked article:
“...when judged by international standards the US would rank near the bottom of electoral democracies.”
That's the opinion of Robert Pastor, director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management and an international elections monitor.
And the Center for Public Integrity has completed a 6-month investigation of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The investigation analyzed “thousands of records and interviews with more than 50 current and former commissioners, staff members and associates.” Among their findings:
The FEC has been virtually paralyzed, failing to act on dozens of rules, audits and enforcement matters. In spite of the FEC's increased workload — thanks to Citizens United and other “free speech” rulings — the agency's staffing level is the lowest in fifteen years. And some of the FEC's top positions are vacant, including general counsel, chief financial officer and accounting director. Also, the agency's staff director doubles as the IT director. Because of the increased workload and reduced staffing, the FEC has a quarter-million-page backlog that includes 270 pending enforcement cases.
These problems are exacerbated by ideological rivalry between commissioners and a “who gives a flying fuck?” attitude from Congress and the White House.
The 2014 election promises to have more 7-figure “campaign contributions” and more mudslinging than any previous election.
Should be fun.