Elections and Voting
Push Power and Decisions to the People
Massachusetts concentrates legislative power in the House and Senate. Cities and towns are ceded minimal power by the state, with county governments exercising even less. The Pirate Party will devolve power down to counties and municipalities. With new power and responsibilities, county and local governments must be democratized. Local control must not mean that residents can push on to other communities policies they perceive as a negative cost. Nor should they be able to establish local laws that maximize private property values at the expense of other residents. Cities and towns are part of a regional fabric, and must be encouraged to function as such.
We will explore unconventional decision making methods, including citizens assemblies, larger legislative bodies, shorter terms of office, term limits and election by lot. These changes will help end the stranglehold Boston has on leadership of the state house.
We Get Who We Deserve
Democracy can only function as long as people participate and have faith in the government they elected. The nomination, vetting, and election of candidates must be an open process free of establishment manipulation. This can only be achieved by the universal adoption of Ranked-Choice Voting and proportional representation. Two-party control must be abolished!
Ending the Money Primary
Who we can elect is limited by the money primary, and party bosses have traditionally worked to limit the set of candidates in order to prevent any challenges to their power, and the supremacy of hegemonic capitalism. Public financing of elections is the only solution. It will greatly weaken two-party control, as access to donors and fundraisers is the primary method by which the party shepherds its flock. We have seen how far establishment candidates have gone in order to thwart progressive challengers, and in order to win progress we must wrestle control of elections from the 1%.
Furthermore, anything that reduces the amount of election-year advertising is inarguably good for our national mental health.
Gatekeeping Is Inherently Racist
In a country where poverty has been made synonymous with non-whiteness, any barriers to full participation in the election system will disproportionately disenfranchise Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The US was founded on a cry of "No Taxation Without Representation," but we deny non-citizens the opportunity to vote, and disenfranchise citizens of limited means and citizens of color via long lines to vote or voter id laws that are thinly veiled poll taxes. All residents pay taxes, whether directly or indirectly and they deserve to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
Voter fraud is a rare event that is more often due to voter confusion than any malicious intent by a voter. Bogus claims that voter fraud occurs frequently are used to justify draconian voter ID laws that only make it more difficult for people of limited means to vote. Universal vote by mail and same-day registration must be the default approach to voting. Furthermore, national, state and local elections, including town meetings, should be official holidays, in order to allow workers time to vote and participate in government.
Abolish the Senate & Establish Ranked Choice Voting
The Senate is an anti-democratic holdover from slave owning states meant to level the power of southern plantation owners against the populated cities of the north. Electoral power should not be ceded to wealthy landowners. Until the Pirate Party is able to abolish the Senate, we will ensure that all Senators are elected by ranked choice voting (RCV). We will also use RCV for all elections that must elect one office holder. We must stop letting capital gerrymander a supermajorities that serve its purpose.
The Pirate Party will eliminate single member districts for the election of other offices, whether US House, the Massachusetts General Court, new county legislators or even offices in cities and towns. We will instead elect such offices via proportional representation in at-large or multi-member districts.
Ranked Choice Voting allows America to express a more nuanced political will, compared to the red/blue dichotomy that exists now. RCV must become the default method elections are judged by. The two-party system cannot be allowed to continue their poisonous rule.
Rejecting the Big Lie
In every country where socialist upstarts win political power, Capital undermines their administration by baselessly claiming voter fraud. Consensus is then consolidated around fraudulent evidence and the results are overturned thanks to interference from American non-governmental organizations. This same tactic has now been deployed against even moderate Democrats in America itself. The Pirate Party soundly rejects all attempts to silence the voice of the people.
Adopted: August 25th, 2021 IRC Meeting