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Juliet Schoen

Is the election process fair and square?

After the chad fiasco in Florida that gave us George W. Bush as president, could the American election process get any worse? Well, it seems to deteriorate every year. Unfortunately, our legislators will do nothing to change a procedure that has certainly gotten out of hand.

Here it is, more than a year before the next presidential election, and our officials, office wannabes and publicity seekers are out there looking for money. Not votes, money! Our senators, who should be in Washington performing their duties, are in Hollywood seeking the endorsement of actors and actresses. The Los Angeles Times actually made a front-page article out of the fact that Steven Spielberg is endorsing a specific candidate. Will this bring her more money and, possibly, votes? I am not sure these celebrity endorsements are meaningful, but I have a friend who would vote for Attila the Hun if he were supported by George Clooney.

Before the actual election, the media will report the results of polls conducted by professionals who contact about 500 people. These polls are deadly and do more harm than good. As a matter of fact, they do no good at all. Contributions tend to go to the frontrunners. Since the results will be announced before the election process is completed, many people who would go to the polls might just decide to stay home and watch television. The television networks really have chutzpah, trying to be first with the election results, as if first really matters.

Reform is definitely in order. First, we should not allow any electioneering until three months before the election. All television stations should be required to give one hour to each of the candidates on a given night and time. The primaries should all be held on the same day. The media should be forbidden to hold polls, report polls, give information on money acquired.

Television and the press should start to recognize the harm they are doing to America’s citizens. Someone must take the lead and start to report responsibly on issues, not on money or polls. The people should be getting important information so they can vote intelligently. Instead they are being fed pap.

May the best man or woman win. And that should be the candidate with the most popular votes. Why do we have to go to college? Our legislators should have the guts to make the elections fair and honest. Alas, they fear any change would boot them out of office! Deservedly!

Perhaps we should allow the candidates three months to raise money. The one who accumulates the most is named president. Then all the funds can be thrown into a pool and used for medical research and education.