The 2016 presidential election campaign will continue another 15 months; that is to say, campaigns now occupy nearly 40 percent of every four-year period.

Most voters pay little attention until the last few weeks. In the meantime candidates will be asked innumerable questions. It will be nearly impossible to keep track of or compare the answers.

This barrage of questions is unrealistic because none of the candidates is omniscient, and it is obvious that the successful candidate will have to rely on unknown and unelected advisers for many issues that will arise.

Improvements are needed in the election process.

 First, polls should be prohibited. Voters should listen to what candidates say, not to what polls say.

Second, candidates should be limited to one speech each for primary and for general elections. This would not limit their First Amendment rights; they could say whatever they wish, but it would focus their messages. Because most likely the candidates would want to deliver their messages as close to Election Day as possible, it would mercifully shorten the campaigns.

Third, their one speech should be confined to their highest one or two policy priorities. It would give voters a common and well-defined basis for comparing candidates.

The four years the successful candidate has to accomplish anything is a very short time indeed within the political realities of Washington. Any successful candidate will be lucky to achieve even one or two policy goals.

By stating their highest priorities, voters could better judge their preferred choice among the candidates. These improvements would no doubt diminish the impact of super PACs and obscene amounts of money perverting the electoral process.

Will any of these changes be made? Of course not, but perhaps the election process could be greatly improved if they were.

Spencer Apollonio

Boothbay Harbor