Opinion | Looking for Better Ways of Running Elections

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To the Editor:

Re “Our Voting Rules, Different in Every State,” by Charlotte Hill and Lee Drutman (Op-Ed, Nov. 6), about the need to establish a federal elections agency:

As experts posit how to rebuild our democracy and expand voting rights, we should spotlight an existing piece of legislation that can achieve these goals: H.R. 1, or the For the People Act. As the article notes, the bill would be “transformative.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has renewed her commitment to pass this legislation. It would establish automatic voter registration for all voters, require states to adopt independent redistricting commissions and ensure a period of at least 15 days of early voting for federal elections in all 50 states.

(Its passage in the Senate is uncertain, with control still undecided.)

These are structural reforms to our broken election system, expanding voter access and countering the malicious efforts of voter suppression that have disenfranchised communities of color for decades.

The next administration and Congress should look no further than the reforms outlined in H.R. 1 to jump-start this process of ensuring that all Americans can have their voices heard.

Jana Morgan
Washington
The writer is director of the Declaration for American Democracy, a coalition of interest groups.

To the Editor:

The writers advocate a single “federal elections agency to ensure that the voting process is fair, consistent, secure and legitimate.” Under our current system, in order to corrupt the entire electoral system you must corrupt the systems in 50 states and Washington, D.C. I see that decentralization as a strength, not a weakness.

No matter how carefully you design such a system to guarantee its independence, the executive branch will inevitably gain more and more influence over it. I believe that the best way to ensure the legitimacy of our electoral system is to keep it decentralized.

It’s messy, it’s inefficient, but that’s what you get with democracy.

Carl Schroeder
Olympia, Wash.

Education Isn’t ‘Elitist’

To the Editor:

Re “No President Can Solve Our Deepest Problems,” by Yuval Levin (Op-Ed, Nov. 4):

The origins of the seething anger at the heart of our national divide must be properly understood, not simply railed at, if we have any hope of healing it. Mr. Levin’s article is well meaning but impractical. People are not going to suddenly begin cooperating with one another when attitudes, as they currently exist, are diametrically opposed.

When, thankfully, Joe Biden is inaugurated, he and his administration must make clear to the country that education is not “elitist,” nor does it necessarily mean “college.” It means “knowledge.” Education for a trade is as worthy as education for a white-collar profession. The country needs plumbers, machinists and electricians more than the flood of M.B.A.s we have.

I have an Ivy League education but spent the majority of my working life in law enforcement. It was extremely gratifying. We need to verbalize and demonstrate our respect for all if we hope to bridge this terrible chasm in our land.

MacKenzie Allen
Santa Fe, N.M.

What the Flag Means to Us

To the Editor:

Re “Flying the Flag Again” (letter, Nov. 13):

The American flag is not a partisan symbol. We, devout Democrats, raised a flag at the front of our home because we believe in the country and its ideals, not in a person or a party.

We all own the flag; no one is obligated to fly it. Ceding the flag to a particular political view diminishes the power of the Stars and Stripes.

Jonathan Kremer
Ellie Kremer
Ventnor, N.J.

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