California Should Lead the Way on Universal Voting | Editorial

Historically, when our nation has faced democratic headwinds, our response has been to demand much greater participation. The 14th Amendment, which dealt with citizens’ rights and equal protection under the law, followed the Civil War. The 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was passed following World War I. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 emerged when the nation seemed to tear itself apart.

Today, our democratic progress is hampered by strong winds. Disinformation and misinformation confuse voters. Big donors shut them up. Parties in closed primary states lock them out. Systemic racism suffocates them. Some elected officials, including Utah Senator Mike Lee, have gone so far as to wonder if democracy is still our main objective.

Fighting these forces and advancing our democracy requires an even greater force: we must all increase our stake in the fate of our democracy.

In countries where universal voting is in place, there is much greater potential for a deliberative and honest relationship between voters and their government.

Rather than worrying about how and when to vote, Americans under a universal voting system could focus on the caliber of candidates and the quality of legislative proposals on the ballot.

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