Whenever a single piece of legislation encompasses disparate issues, the public loses its ability to assess the voting record of elected officials. Everything is thrown into a single barrel: quality expenditures along side pork. This at once, degrades representative democracy and squanders the public wealth.
Those codifying the Constitution understood the need for give and take, but such bargaining has for the most part been beyond public scrutiny. In this computer age, such democratic openness is within our reach. Representative democracy is fine, but its existence is really little more than a logistical necessity. Will we take this step which will place us closer to true democracy?
Bills having two or more unrelated components may be personally linked by members of Congress, but that linkage should not be forced into secrecy as in the current process. Members would vote (aye, nay or abstain) on each component but be allowed to qualify those votes depending on how the voting had gone on different components.
For instance he or she may abstain on item A until item B passes or Congressman X votes aye on B; at which time, that A’s vote would become aye. This mirrors the current workings of Congress without the backroom deals and awkward explanations to constituents. It opens the doors wide with legislators put on record as to their views.
The instantaneous results could be checked by a paper trail or alternate software.
Select from the components that are the least controversial. I suggest it be that for which the ayes and nays are most different in number.
Let it stand as if on its own by the percentage criteria of the current vote.
Set it aside and, depending on its passage or failure to do so, recalculate the conditional votes in the remaining components.
Repeat steps 1 through 3 for those remaining components until the passage or failure of each component is resolved.
- Dear Internet: It’s no Longer OK to Not Know How Congress Works (informationdiet.com)