Monday, January 30, 2012

The Supply Side: Alternative Reform Approaches to Campaign Finance

Article On FairVote Blog About Election Reforms For The New Era.

by Joe WitteTyler Sadonis // Published January 26, 2012


  1. Krist, Do you agree with any of the Fair Vote recommendations?

    1.) Requiring people to vote. C'mon. More uninformed people blindly picking politicians that work on Billion dollar budgets, no thanks. Australia has a "mandatory" voting system and 98% of all people vote. See how that is working out.

    2.) National Popular Vote. The Founding Fathers had a reason for the Electoral College, and much to lose with this choice, and a Representative Govemenment cannot be run by "popular" vote. The failed OWS is a sample of popular vote.

    3.) Instant runoff. Go for it. We are stuck in RI with a Govenor that won with 35% of the vote, mostly by Public Unionistas. His approval is now 27% after he threw the Union thugs under the bus with pension reform. RI should of had a run-off with the highest two vote gatherers so that the winner got at least 50% of the vote.

    4.) Proportional voting? Don't get the concept. So everyone who runs can have percentage vote on legislation? Sounds delusional.

    The only change I would like to see is the eliminattion of D and R from the candidates name in the voting booth. Also Voter ID should be required for all voting.

  2. Wow, I think the FairVote reform proposals deserve more than a glance. Better minds than mine have considered these ideas. Your reaction is way off. You're basically saying the current state of politics is the best we can get. I reject that and strive for better.

    1. FairVote does not promote mandatory voting. We support a right to vote. Don't trust the state with the power to decide who can and cannot vote. Vote suppression is mostly a political consideration by insiders.

    2. The electoral college was a major contention among the founders at the constitutional convention. It was debated for so long that it passed only because the delegates wanted to finish their work. The electoral college is redundant as small population rural states already get two US Senators to speak for them. The electoral college creates a value for the parties that fund electioneering like super PACs. These insiders only need to buy ads in a few swing states while blue California and red Texas are virtually ignored. The politicians also pander to the swing states. A National Popular Vote would make every state competitive -- remember that the president is the only national elected office.

    3. Majority runoff elections are valid way to pick lawmakers. However, they can foster negative campaigning, produce a lopsided / polarized choice between the top two vote getters and tend to favor big money candidates.

    4. You obviously don't get proportional voting at all and I urge you to look into it. This year, politicians and insiders are drawing the maps for new legislative districts. They go out of their way to make the maps serve themselves. Even Pres. Obama, as a state legislator had a hand in drawing his Chicago district to include neighborhoods with wealthy individuals. I believe that if you pay taxes and are subject to the laws of the lands, you deserve representation. There are American versions of Proportional Representation (PR) that give the majority and minority in a district a voice. PR also settles the issue of race conscious districts by giving a voice to all regardless of their ethnicity.

    And finally, non-partisan elections depress turnout. In addition, they discourage people from organizing. I believe this, in turn, creates a vacuum where special interests -groups themselves- dominate. Social networking is exploding with the information revolution. And I write about how this is affecting democracy. People need to realize the power of having a group's name on a ballot.

  3. Krist, I have no problem with the push-back, while trying to understand the proposed changes, this is not the first time or the last. Remember I am stuck in a Blue State (tax, spend) model that has town and cities going down every week because of over-the-top pension promises. Everyone here votes to continue receiving a check in the mail, that means "no" changes to the current system, just raise and create new taxes to keep the money machine running.

    I just do not see any vote suppression by states. Right now all anyone has to do is regurgitate a name and address to vote. You cannot do anything in this country without an ID, and RI will be issuing the required voter cards for free to anyone who asks. I prefer quality of quantity.

    We agree that the Electoral College was a tough choice for the founders but I prefer our only vote for national office be completed with a special set of rules instead of the same rules as dog catcher, judge or county commisioner. You pointed out the negative (targeted ads) but I believe in the system despite my vote for president, is in the bag for D, and will not matter.

    We agree on runoffs but I still have to be convinced about proportional voting. I appreciate your view on my suggestion of non-partisan elections but we both know that this change will never happen. The social networking aspect is important but boots on the ground are what win elections.