VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson On Electoral Reform
For years, politicians and political pundits have criticized the American electoral system as broken, from Election Day not being named a national holiday to long lines at polling places and voter identification laws that disproportionately affect certain demographic groups.
Marianne Williamson, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, explained to uPolitics exclusively which aspects of the electoral system she believes most need reform and how the voting process should be changed. The self-help author first named gerrymandering — the redrawing of voting districts to benefit party lines — as one of the most severe issues with the current electoral system.
“Politicized gerrymandering is one of the greatest threats and assaults on our democratic freedoms,” said Williamson. “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court only recently took a very corporatist direction on that issue.”
In June, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that federal courts are powerless to hear challenges to partisan gerrymandering.
As for Williamson’s solutions to making the electoral system more efficient, one of the ideas she listed first is one that may appear obvious, although it hasn’t been proposed by many people: ensuring American citizens are automatically registered to vote on their birthdays.
Williamson also voiced her support for lowering the voting age to 16. This proposal was floated in some circles around after the students who survived the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida became fervent advocates for stricter gun control laws.
“When you think about what’s going to happen in this country 25 years from now, 30 years from now, there are people making decisions who probably won’t be here and so many people who probably will be here who have no say whatsoever,” said Williamson. “Particularly given school shootings, I think these kids should have much more of a say of what’s going to happen in their lives.”
The 67-year-old self-help guru also said she believes the logistics of voter registration — like what poling place to attend — should be simplified and added she is in favor of either holding voting on a Saturday or making Election Day a national holiday.
Williamson also blasted the Supreme Court’s continued efforts to “chip away” at the Voting Rights Act of 1965 since its landmark Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013. She added that if elected president, she would nominate an attorney general who would protect voting rights and work to eliminate voter suppression.
“There is a rampant effort of voter suppression throughout this country and it is done in some very insidious ways,” said Williamson.
Williamson also mentioned Australia’s law of fining citizens for not voting during elections, although she stopped short of saying she was in favor of such a law. Instead, she simply said she would use that as an example to teach Americans a lesson in the responsibility that lies with voting.
Williamson also said her primary goal in reforming the electoral system if elected president would be to find ways to convince Americans who have grown frustrated with the system to go out and vote, rather than abstaining from voting as an act of rebellion.
“Ultimately, more people voting is the only real antidote to some of the undemocratic processes that are eroding our democracy today,” said Williamson.