Wisconsin’s primary election a few weeks back showed the nation how far and how callous some politicians (and elected Judges) will go to hold on to power. Instead of heeding the concerns of public health experts about holding an in-person Election Day in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, the Republican legislature and the conservative state Supreme Court forced elections to go forward as scheduled. This left the mostly Democratic Milwaukee election officials to close over 90% of city polling places. Causing hours-long waits for thousands of patriotic voters, brave enough to risk infection, to participate in an important election.
How many didn’t participate for fear of their health and families well being? We don’t know. It’s moments like these when we get a glimpse of what our own future might hold. How our community might respond if forced into a similar situation like Milwaukee. It gives us all an opportunity to dig deeper into the rot growing within our democratic system. And compels us to ask — who controls our democracy? Why do we have to wait in line for hours to vote? How many of our neighbors have experienced voter suppression or intimidation? Is the new computer voting system safe? These questions have so eroded our faith in the government that now ethics in elected office is a comedic punchline. Well, I’m not laughing.
I first ran for office seven years ago because I was tired of the same ole same ole politicians who stand more for special interests, than the people’s interests. Far too many elections are bought by a few powerful, well-connected people or corporations. Far too many voices are drowned out by the money and corruption in our political system. The time to give power back to the people is now.
That’s why I’m fired up to introduce my DeKalb For the People Act. Modeled after HR 1, the first legislation introduced after the Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives in 2019. It is the most significant democracy reform package in the modern era. Reforms that we can implement right here in DeKalb County.
Here are the highlights:
- Establish Election Day as a county-wide holiday. Build a movement of businesses, governments, communities all celebrating our democracy by making every general election day a paid holiday.
- Create a non-partisan independent redistricting committee to draw county district lines.
- Develop an alternative campaign funding system for county offices. Matching small contributions for qualified candidates.
- Strengthen the code of ethics for all county offices. Prohibit elected leaders from serving on boards of for-profit entities, establishing additional conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions for all county employees and the executive branch.
- Permanent expansion of early voting times and locations, anywhere in county election day voting, ballot translations for all major lingual groups, and use of hand-marked paper ballots. End voter purges, engage all residents to stay active on their voter registration.
If you are concerned about the corporate and special interest control of our democracy, will you help me pass a For the People Act here in DeKalb County?
Change often comes from the bottom up. Help me make change by creating a more transparent, and accountable campaign finance system, by chipping in a contribution to our grassroots movement to fight for democracy for all people.
Ted Terry is the former mayor of Clarkston, Georgia — the most ethnically diverse square mile in America, and a current candidate for DeKalb County Super 6 Commission. www.tedfordekalb.com