Creating new forms of citizen participation

My audacious idea is that we initiate a process to develop more democratic structures for our city. When our country began, there were town meetings where citizens participated and actually made the decisions. Today, in most places the size of Baltimore, voting is the main way we are asked to practice our “citizenship.” After one […]

What if we made campaign finance reform a new civil rights movement?

We need a new Voting Rights Act that makes private financing of public electoral campaigns illegal. Period. And we need to make it a civil rights issue. Consider: We do not allow private donors, each with his or her own desires regarding police protection, to finance the Baltimore Police Department. We disallow such a system […]

It’s a right, not a privilege

Last week I participated in a discussion about the Supreme Court’s decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board with Ron Christie, a former special assistant to George W. Bush.  In that case, the Supreme Court upheld, 6-3, Indiana’s voter I.D. law.  The venue was NPR’s News & Notes, a public affairs program hosted by […]

Suppose we voted?

Here is an audacious idea. What if people actually voted? When the “founding fathers” first wrote the constitution, only white men could vote. Since that time, extraordinary citizens have given up life and liberty to expand voting rights to all citizens so that the United States could try to become a government of the people.  […]