A New Voting Rights Act for the 21st Century

In 1963, Evron M. Kirkpatrick, a member of the President's Commission on Registration and Voter Participation, brilliantly summarized the importance of voting to a democracy:

A democratic system rests ultimately on the belief that each man is the best judge of his own interests and that he should have, through the ballot box, a voice in choosing those who govern him.  Voting is the fundamental political right of citizens in a democracy.  The right to vote is the right to influence officials and policy.  To be denied the vote is to be denied the guarantee that one's interest will be taken into account when policy is made.  There is no justifiable test of property, race, color, national origin, religion, or education for disenfranchising one class of citizens.

While most persons are aware of the methods of polling place cheating, which have involved  duplicate voting, vote fraud, and so on, what is not as well known are the more subtle methods of denying voters their right "to influence officials and policy." 

The Voting Rights Act was passed to ensure that persons would not be kept out of the election process because of their personal characteristics such as race.  But since 1965, Democrats have refined much more subtle ways of denying the influence voters have on government policy.  These new methods focus, instead, on party domination and the funding of programs that support Democrats.

One of these new methods is illegal immigration.  Illegal immigration has an impact on officials and policy.  The immigrants are counted by the Census Bureau and go toward the total count of a congressional district.  Congressional districts usually have populations between 500K and 700K, so a state that has 500K illegal immigrants like Illinois has one extra congressional representative.  These districts are carefully gerrymandered to ensure voters support the Democratic Party.  The 4th District of Luis Gutierrez in Illinois is particularly interesting.  In 1982, it was found that over 80,000 illegal immigrants voted in Chicago.

Another method, gerrymandering, is the practice of setting the outlines of a voting district along party lines.  The goal is to maximize the number of friendly voters and minimize the number of unfriendly voters.  However, illegal immigration has inspired a new type of gerrymandering.  In the Evenwell, et al. case sent before the Supreme Court, the petitioners noted that a new method of using illegal immigrants as nonvoters has been established in Texas.

Here's the strategy.  While Chicago and other sanctuary cities may allow illegal immigrants to vote, Texas uses them as non-voters by creating state Senate districts that use illegal immigrant numbers to replace voting Republicans with non-voting illegal immigrants.  This way, the minimum number of residents required for a Senate district is met, but met by using non-voting immigrants.  And since illegal immigrants cluster in certain areas, all they have to do is move the Senate district boundary over to include illegal immigrants in sufficient numbers to destroy a Republican majority.

Another factor is the national debt.  While the connection seems remote, the national debt also has an impact on voting rights.  In 2016, the amount of interest alone the U.S. Treasury paid on its national debt was $432 billion.  This money is not used for entitlement programs, education or defense.  In 2016, the total U.S. budget was $3.54 trillion.  This included a budget deficit of $552 billion and interest payment of $432 billion, meaning there's almost a trillion dollars that goes to pay present interest and creates future debt, two things over which voters have no direct control.

The purpose of stating this information here is to make a new point: that every year, roughly a half-trillion dollars is spent on interest payments, which do nothing to pay for new programs, and every year, a half trillion in debt is created, limiting the policy choices for people in the future.  This relates directly to what Kirkpatrick said: "The right to vote is the right to influence officials and policy."  This can then be seen as a form of vote stealing.

So the strategy of deficit spending each year is in reality a strategy of vote-stealing.  But it's far more destructive to democracy than just stealing someone's vote in one election.  These votes are  stolen for decades.  Or, put another way, these votes go to support future policies of those politicians who created the deficit.

In fact, this is what those in Congress face when they want to make changes.  All the money is already spent, and changes are impossible to make – voters can't make new choices.  The only solution is to have zero base spending every year.  All the programs start at zero.  This allows voters to change the spending, and therefore change the policies.  When spending is set in stone, the policies that created them are.  

The result is that future voters have fewer choices, since money must go to service debt – money that could otherwise be spent on green projects, schools, defense, and so on.  Taking away money from the voters of the future is the same as taking away their votes.  So the creation of debt is, in principle, an erosion of democracy.

This is far more abstract but far more dangerous than having homeless people vote.  The entire nation loses its ability to vote on new policies.  Since $432 billion was spent on debt service in 2016 out of a total budget of $3.54 trillion, roughly one eighth of the national votes were stolen.

It's a theft of voting rights.

A 21st-century Voting Rights Act must take budget deficits into account.  The more debt created, the more votes stolen from future citizens.  A mandatory balanced budget law must be passed in order to protect the democratic foundation of the U.S. government. 

The Democratic Party is well known as the de facto party of budget deficits.  They see this strategy as a positive thing, since it enables them to seize control of the votes of future citizens – not by altering their ballot or changing a computer count, but by pre-spending the federal government's revenues, thereby limiting what the government can spend on new, future programs.  The Supreme Court has ruled, "Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no 'rule making' or legislation which would abrogate them."

So even if Republicans take over the federal government, the past deficits and interest payments limit future spending to pre-committed mandatory non-discretionary entitlement programs.

The old Voting Rights Act assured access to the ballot box.  But by controlling federal spending, Democrats have seized control of the results: policy funding.  So Democrats cleverly kept their control of the ballot box by acting one step ahead.  Access to the ballot box doesn't matter anymore when the results of the election, the policies that continue the Democratic Party's control, are predetermined through predetermined spending.

The only way for voters to retrieve the value of their vote is for a new Voting Rights Act to be passed that mandates zero base budgeting and a balanced budget.