Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kresky: Rights of Voters v. Rights of Parties

Leading independent attorney Harry Kresky penned a great HuffPo piece up today called Let's Have an Honest Debate About the Role of Parties:
"Proposition 14 abolished party primaries and replaced them with a system known as "top two." All candidates will appear on a single ballot in a primary election in which all registered voters can participate and candidates can list party preference. The two highest vote getters face off in the November general election. A similar reform is now under consideration by a New York City Charter Revision Commission which has the authority to put it before the City's voters in the November 2010 or 2011 election.
The pro-party argumentation - laid out in syndicated columns this week authored by George Will and David Broder, along with Errol Louis' column in the New York Daily News - goes as follows. The political parties, they say, are central to our democracy as vehicles for voter education and mobilization, and the selection of candidates who represent their members' preferences. Their right to do so is protected by the First Amendment, as is the right of citizens to form parties to advance their common interests. Without parties, we are told, billionaires and unchecked special interest groups will come to dominate our political system.
At the core of this position is a legal and logical sleight of hand that conflates the right of the people to form parties (and other associations like labor unions) to advance common interests with the control of the electoral system by the parties. The two are not the same...." [read more]
Errol Lewis called Prop 14 "dangerous" and "un-American."  If you think THAT'S dangerous, read Kresky's piece and forward it to everyone you know.

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