Thursday, March 11, 2010

Leading Independent Attorney Harry Kresky Speaks Out on Legal Fight over Ballot Wording for California Proposition 14

The Hankster just received this statement by Harry Kresky, General Counsel, IndependentVoting, on the fight over the ballot wording on the open primaries referendum that will be put to a vote in California this summer.


“When the California legislature voted to put Proposition 14 on the ballot this June, it crafted a summary of the initiative which will also appear on the ballot, that accurately described what its effect would be if passed. Opponents of the measure have now gone to court to try to change the summary to frighten voters with misleading statements such as, "Eliminates political parties' rights to be on the general election ballot."  If they have their way, a measure that expands the rights of voters – most especially the state’s three million independent voters – will be reframed as one that eliminates the rights of parties.  Since an overwhelming majority of Americans are angry about partisan gridlock, now is not the time to protect political parties at the expense of the voters. The people of California deserve an honest representation of Proposition 14.  Let’s hope the court looks out for them.”

Harry Kresky is general counsel of IndependentVoting.org – a national association of independents with organization in 40 states.

NOTE: The Hankster actively supports Prop 14 and open primaries.

11 comments:

richardwinger said...

"Greater Participation in Elections" is not a neutral, accurate title for Prop. 14. When top-two was tried in Washington and Louisiana, the only two states it was ever tried in, primary turnout went down, not up.

Jack said...

Personally I can't get particularly excited about open primaries, but I find it ironic that people who oppose you are claiming that they are defending political parties. Mandatory primaries were created to weaken or destroy political parties.

By requiring, ( as opposed to allowing ) political parties to nominate candidates by public primaries, the state can eliminate the effective power of party organizations.

Refference: What is a Political Party?
Warning: Polemic Article!
https://sites.google.com/site/usvotersite/Home/can-you-define-what-a-political-party-is

Since one elected politician can't pass a law. Heck, One elected politician can't even get a bill out of committee! The voters tend to be much more interested in political platforms. Perhaps we should remind our favorite candidates of our lack of enthusiasm for any candidates that can't find a single other candidate that agrees with them - on even a single (specific) issue!

Today, via the internet it is possible to distribute voluntary platforms signed by individual candidates. IMO This would work well for independent candidates. I would love to be involved in an action promoting the use of modern U.S. party platforms by using an email campaign.

Refference: Modern U.S. attempts at realistic political party platforms.
https://sites.google.com/site/usvotersite/Home#platforms

Ross Levin said...

Nancy, I think your support of this is a mistake. It means the death of third parties in California, which is not good for democracy or independents.

Nancy Hanks said...

Ross, thanks for your comment. I favor eliminating the power of parties (major, minor, first, second or third...) altogether, so I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on this. To quote Harry Kresky's recent article, which I agree with:

"Americans don’t look to the third parties as instruments for reform, in no small part because they don’t like parties, major or minor. And they don’t like partisanship. Some minor parties without the pressures of “big tent” coalitions, have become even more calcified and rigidly ideological than the major parties. And while minor parties’ share of the electorate is shrinking, that of independents is growing. In California, the percent of the electorate enrolled in minor parties fell from 5.2 percent in 2001 to 4.4 percent in 2009. The percent registered independent grew from 14.4 percent to 20 percent."

http://grassrootsindependent.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-independents-support-open-primaries_26.html

richardwinger said...

The crazy thing is that top-two doesn't hurt the major parties. All it has done in Washington and Louisiana is strengthen them. Backers of top-two have an imaginary world in their brain, which seems more real to them than what actually happens in the real world.

richardwinger said...

The irony is, top-two systems actually strengthen the two major parties. The proponents of Prop. 14 refuse to open their eyes and observe how it has actually worked in the two states that have used it.

Ross Levin said...

This would strengthen the major parties, though. It would weaken minor parties, but overall would only reinforce the party system.

I agree with you that partisanship is a terrible thing (I mean, I've supported Republicans, Greens, Democrats, and independents just since 2008), but third parties should nonetheless be allowed to participate.

Plus, there are no real practical benefits I can see from Prop 14.

Ross Levin said...

This would strengthen the major parties, though. It would weaken minor parties, but overall would only reinforce the party system.

I agree with you that partisanship is a terrible thing (I mean, I've supported Republicans, Greens, Democrats, and independents just since 2008), but third parties should nonetheless be allowed to participate.

Plus, there are no real practical benefits I can see from Prop 14.

Jack said...

People like their vote to count. Political parties that promulgate a believable party platform attract votes. Thing like the Democrat's "100 hours plan" or the Republican "Contract with America" worked for the politicians that ran under them. However the politicians don't need to be running under a Democrats label or Republican label.

richardwinger said...

Why does it follow that just because a minority declines from 5.2% of the electorate to 4.4% of the electorate, that it is proper that it lose its voting rights? 4.4% of the electorate is still a lot of people.

Just because Harry Kresky and Nancy Hanks don't believe that minor parties are useful, why does it follow that therefore, they should try to put them out of business? It is one thing to advocate that people give up supporting minor parties, but quite another to actively work to use the law to stop them.

Harry Kresky said...

If top two helps the major parties, then why did they go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge it?