A Bill to Restore confidence in Elections and stimulate voter participation
BE IT ENACTED BY THE CONGRESS HERE ASSEMBLED THAT:
SECTION 1. Effective election reform, to stimulate participation.
SECTION 2. In one of the sections, you may define ambiguous terms not obviously clear or technical in nature (consult U.S. Code, uscode.house.gov, if necessary).
SECTION 3. This will fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Election Commission (FEC), in conjunction with the Department of Justice (DoJ) where applicable. The Communications Act of 1934, and its Amendments, will be adjusted as necessary.
A. Subsections may be used to elaborate further details, but only needed if you need to have more than one subsection.
B. This would be a second subsection.
SECTION 4. This legislation will take effect on January 1, 2024. All laws in conflict with this legislation are hereby declared null and void.
Introduced for Congressional Debate by ______.
As there has been a trend since 1972, in Presidential elections, that 5 in 10 voting age Americans have participated in elections; averaging 53.43% of voting age population. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/voter-turnout-in-presidential-elections
Since 1970, in mid-term elections, substanitally fewer Americans have engaged in voting. After the peak of 1966, barely 4 in 10 have participated in election; averaging 40.8% of voters. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bH38j6_e8yA9xq8OMlyLOL6h_iTS7ABQMKNxzFgKBDo/edit#gid=435419492
In accordance with SEC. 254. [47 U.S.C. 254] UNIVERSAL SERVICE (a)(2)(d) – “Every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate telecommunications services shall contribute, on an equitable and nondiscriminatory basis, to the specific, predictable, and sufficient mechanisms established by the Commission to preserve and advance universal service.”
In accordance with SEC. 315. [47 U.S.C. 315] FACILITIES FOR CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE (a)(4) – “Nothing in the foregoing sentence shall be construed as relieving broadcasters, in connection with the presentation of newscasts, news interviews, news documentaries, and on-the-spot coverage of news events, from the obligation imposed upon them under this Act to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.”
In accordance with SEC. 390. [47 U.S.C. 390] DECLARATION OF PURPOSE (3) – “The purpose of this subpart is to … (3) strengthen the capability of existing public television and radio stations to provide public telecommunications services to the public.”
In accordance with SEC. 399. [47 U.S.C. 399] – “No noncommercial educational broadcasting station may support or oppose any candidate for political office.”
In accordance with SEC. 623. [47 U.S.C. 543] REGULATION OF RATES (b)(7)(A) & (ii) – “MINIMUM CONTENTS.–Each cable operator of a cable system shall provide its subscribers a separately available basic service tier to which subscription is required for access to any other tier of service. Such basic service tier shall, at a minimum, consist of the following:”
“Any public, educational, and governmental access programming required by the franchise of the cable system to be provided to subscribers.”
We request to commit to law the following:
1) That as part of the Public Service Announcement requirements, the addition of Federal, State and Local debate dates is mandatory.
2) That these dates cover every election for public office at the level of County and above.
3) That each debate will be scheduled for no less than 30 minutes and no more than 2 hours each, at the discretion of the carrier.
4) That the dates of each debate will be made public, and publicized for the month of January & the week prior to the first announce debate date.
A) All news media outlets, operating with license authorized by the FCC, in conjunction with telecommunications companies operating with FCC licenses, operating at a local level no smaller than the County level, will convene and determine – without aid or input from ANY political organization that has or supports or denounces any political candidate – dates and times for political debates of candidtes of all political offices in that region for that calendar year.
(1) The dates will be restricted to a period of time after any potential primary and before any early voting period.
(2) Dates will be made public via all news media and all telecommunication companies involved, as well as any news print publications, per Public Service Announcement requirements – as amended as needed.
(3) Debate date announcements will be publicized with emphasis between 6-9pm, for a 30 day period from January 2 – February 2 of each year. In addition, 1 week prior to the first announced debate date, publicized announcement between 6-9pm will occur in addition. The exact manner of such publication is required to be notable and distinct as a Public Service Announcement, without connection to any political organization nor preference.
(3)(a) Debate date announcements will include contact information to submit questions to be asked at the debate. Questions submitted must include the statement that this is from a legally registered eligible voter, with the inclusion or questioners legal name and address.
(3)(b) Debate questions may be copied and submitted by multiple individuals. IE – the question, ‘Will you support gun control?’ can be copied and submitted verbatim by voters.
(3)(c) Defining “notable and distinct” – Public announcements cannot be contained within other programming, with the exception of a full news segment. Headers, footers, floating tags, scroll bar inclusions are all forbidden. Announcements must start and end with identifier that this is a “Public Service Announcement” fully authorized by law, citing the appropriate Section.
(4) Debates are to be operated in a manner and style as is traditional for that region. Thus number of moderators, length of debate, location, ect will continue as has been the norm for such events in the time period of 2010-2019.
(5) If funding is required to hold such debates, the funds are to be exclusively pulled from any grants, waivers, or fees derived by the State or Federal government for elections already in existence.
(5)(a) All funds used that required Federal or State funds must publicize reciepts for ALL expenses of the event, regardless of where additional or separate funding came from. This would include listing ALL sources of funding and amounts contributed.
A) Debates are to be scheduled to last no less than 30 minutes each.
B) Debates are to be separate and individual to each elected office sought.
(1) Debates are open to any candidate who will appear on a ballot for election.
(2) Debates are additionally open to any write-in candidate, who represents ANY political organization that comprises 10% of the voter base in the community where the election will affect. IE – in County X, 10% of the voters are registered with the Board of Elections as being part of the Thanos Vegeta Party. A candidate for a County or above level election, from the Thanos Vegeta Party, has publicly announced a write-in campaign. That candidate would appear in debates alongside all other candidates that appear on the ballot, in addition to any other publicly announced write-in candidate that meets the stated requirements.
(2)(a) Inclusion or exclusion in any debate for a defined region does NOT mandate inclusion nor exclusion in separate debates. To clarify, as per the example prior, Party X does NOT automatically qualify for debates in County Y because of inclusion in County X. The ONLY exception is where multiple Counties are inclusive in a public office domain, and as long as a publicly announced candidate qualified under at least 1 County.
Obligation to attend:
1) No candidate is required to attend the scheduled debate.
2) News media obligated to create and conduct the debate are REQUIRED to publicize, 1 week prior to general election, the names and elected office sought of any candidate that declined the public debate.
(2)(a) The only additional notification to be made public when a candidate declines a debate, is if the non-appearance was due to a death in the family of the candidate, or severe medical emergency.
(2)(b) Severe is defined as a life-threatening or impairment or combination of impairments that significantly limit the individual’s physical or mental abilities and, as a result, interfere with the individual’s ability to perform basic work activities.
1) All questions to be asked at the debate will come from the public.
(1)(a) News media and telecommunications companies subject to the debates will provide means to collect electronic and written question submissions from the public. NO questions will be accepted from any elected official, candidate, religious or corporate organization (to include non-profits, unions, collective bargaining organizations, S-corporations, C-corporations, LLC’s, NGO’s, institutions of learning). Any question sponsored by an excluded group will also be ineligible for inclusion in debates.
(1)(b) Sponsorship is defined – The direct or indirect paid or volunteered advertisement, promotion, and/or advocation originated or adopted by non-citizen entities, non-human entities, or any excluded group as prior identified. IE – A registered American citizen voter can (dis)like/(refuse to)share/(negatively)promote a question originally created and/or submitted by another registered American citizen voter via electronic or print communications, via their individual funds, exclusively. Excluded groups can do none of this, nor entice, coerce, obligate, and/or command American citizens to take the above actions in their stead or on their behalf.
2) Questions for the debate must be non-specific to the candidate. IE – Questions must be able to be asked of each candidate in the debate, like ‘What will you do to lower crime’ or ‘how will you vote on Legislation Z’, and so on.
3) Questions will be collected from the public from January 2nd until May 30th of each year.
(3)(a) The only exception would be in the case of an election taking place prior to July 1st, in which case questions would be collected until April 30th.
4) The top 20 questions will be published, in the same manner as the debate date and question submission, from June 1st until July 30th.
(4)(a) The exception to this would be any election taking place prior to June 1st, in which case questions would be made public May 1st through May 31st.
5) Questions will be asked of each candidate, in turn, by order of submission of the question. IE – if 10,000 questions asked how a candidate will lower crime, it would be asked of each candidate in turn prior to asking a question about reducing debt that has 9,000 submissions.
6) Follow-up questions, and points of clarification, or challenges between candidates, will be handled as per normal debate procedures as have occurred from 2010-2019.
7) In the event that there are more questioners, or question submissions, than the legally registered number of eligible voters, the top 20 questions submissions will be sent to the Board of Elections to verify voter status. IF 10% of the submission are from invalid voters, for any reason, that question will be eliminated.
8) IF any question becomes, or appears to be, the subject of manipulation for either inclusion or exclusion, this will be referred to the FBI for investigation under violation of election laws (intimidation, coercion, collusion to defraud, ext.).
1) NO corporation, agency, and/or organization that has a Federal license, or receives Federal funding in any amount, can chose to not engage in this public debate process. An such group that does opt-out will immediately lose all Federal funding – whether already allocated or to be allocated in the future.
(1)(a) Any Federal License will be immediately revoked along with any privileges associated.
SEC. 708. [47 U.S.C. 608] SEPARABILITY CLAUSE. If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the Act and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
SEC. 709. [47 U.S.C. 609] SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Effective Election Reform’