Juan Cole in Informed Comment:
1. Contemporary political campaigns in the US depend heavily on television commercials. In the UK these ads are restricted, and in Norway they are banned. Consider banning them. But whatever you do, do not let your private television channels charge money for campaign advertisements. Television advertisements account for 80-90 percent of the cost of a senate or presidential campaign in the US, and the next presidential campaign will cost each candidate $1 billion. The only way a candidate can win is to fall captive to the billionaires and their corporations, leaving the people powerless and victimized by the ultra-wealthy. Consider putting a ban on paid radio and television political ads in the constitution, because otherwise if it is only a statute, the wealthy will try to buy the legislature so as to overturn it.
2. Do not hold your elections on work days. America’s robber barons put elections on Tuesdays in order to discourage workers, including the working poor, from voting. In many democracies, the poor do vote, as in India, but in the US they have been largely successfully discouraged from doing so. Policies are therefore mainly made for the wealthy few, ruining the lives of millions of workers. France, in contrast, holds its elections on Sundays. In the first round of the 2007 French presidential election, 84% of the electorate turned out. In contrast, in the hotly contested and epochal 2008 presidential election in the US, the turnout was only 64%.
3. Have compulsory, government-run voter registration at age 18 or whatever the voting age is. Voluntary voter registration, especially when it must be undertaken months before the polls, is just a way of discouraging citizens from voting. This voluntary system is favored by the wealthy and the racists in the United States, who consistently oppose efforts to make it easier to register. Compulsory voter registration is correlated with high electoral turnout.