We are fortunate to live in a country where we can elect fellow citizens to represent our interests at local, state, and national levels. The current election shows that there is a healthy diversity of opinion, which should lead to thoughtful consideration of major issues. However, some vestiges of antiquated undemocratic legislation remain.
On the national level, the foremost of these is the Electoral College. In 1960, many voters were appalled to discover that it was possible for a president to be elected without receiving more votes than their closest contender. Forty years later, this system remains unchanged. Elections decided in a similar fashion at the state or local level would rightfully be overturned.
On the local level, legislation (passed before most of the current crop of voters were born) permits taxing districts with arbitrary boundaries to benefit a select few at the expense of the majority. The premier examples in Snohomish County are port districts. The Everett and Edmonds port districts are permitted to assess property taxes against all residents of the district on behalf of a select few who benefit directly from waterfront or water-related businesses. Like the Electoral College on the federal level, changing the makeup or taxing authority of these districts requires legislative changes. Today’s voters should have the opportunity to decide if such taxing districts are desirable.
Regardless of the outcome of the current federal and state elections, these are the types of issues that any fair-minded legislative representative should be addressing. Legislators should do something constructive to help stem the erosion of citizens’ faith in representative government.
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