Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let's just rely on "experts" again..they know what's fair

A huge win for voter reform took place in a Washington State courtroom; U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour rejected arguments by the major parties that the proposed system under the law confused voters who might misinterpret a candidate's party preference as an official endorsement by that party. Coughenour however rejected these claims stating that the ballot and its accompanying information concisely and clearly explain that a candidate's political-party preference does not imply any endorsement or association with that party and that the instructions actually eliminate the possibility of voter confusion and a threat to the First Amendment. The most important aspect of this upholding is that it creates a precedent that weakens opponents arguments on the fight over California's Prop-14. An attempt at redistricting reform took place in Massachusetts but was completely shot down 34-5. The new bill presented a redistricting commission headed by a panel of experts. This differs greatly from California's redistricting commission which has a quota for its partisan and non partisan members. This is by far more fair than the Massachusetts proposal, and leaves more opening for change.

  • MA - Senate Democrats scuttle independent redistricting panel (By Kyle Cheney, Dedham Daily News Transcript) Tarr pointed to a recent poll showing that 62 percent of Massachusetts residents support an independent redistricting commission, and he also pointed out that Secretary of State William Galvin had voiced support for an independent advisory panel. Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) argued that independent redistricting commissions appeared to be “gaining favor” around the country.
  • MA - Beacon Hill Roll Call: How did you legislator vote? (By Bob Katzen, EXCERPT Wicked Local Stow) The commission would include a dean or professor of law, political science or government from a Massachusetts institution of higher learning appointed by the governor; a retired judge appointed by the attorney general; and an expert in civil rights law appointed by the secretary of state. The other four members would be chosen by the above three members from a list of candidates nominated by the House Speaker, House Minority Leader, Senate President and Senate Minority Leader.
  • MA - Let’s talk . . . in 10 years (EDITORIAL By Boston Herald) The state’s track record on transparency and fairness in redistricting isn’t exactly stellar, but the Senate rejected 5-34 a bid to appoint an independent redistricting commission.
  • NY - New York State Sen. David Valesky, D-49, to discuss redistricting Jan. 22 (Oneida Daily Dispatch) Valesky is the co-sponsor of the Valesky-Gianaris redistricting bill that would establish a non-partisan redistricting commission.
  • CA - UPDATED: Scott Wilk: Redistricting: You now have a voice Right Here, Right Now! (By Scott Thomas Wilk (The Santa Clarita Valley Signal) Proposition 20 was approved by 61.3 percent of voters last November and added the task of re-drawing the boundaries of California's congressional districts to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. According to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission's website, we join 12 other states that use independent commissions to craft redistricting plans. The new commission is comprised of 14 members: five Republicans; five Democrats; and four Independents.
  • The GOP’s Demographic Ills (By Asher Smith, Emory Wheel - Emory University Ohio) Ohio serves as a microcosm for a more general problem afflicting the Republican party. At the 2009 Republican National Convention (RNC), held in St. Paul, Minnesota, an astonishing 93 percent of delegates were white. In the 2006 elections, 69 percent of Latinos, 57 percent of women, 90 percent of blacks, 60 percent of voters under 29 and 57 percent of independent voters voted Democratic. At the 2004 RNC, a slightly less staggering but still disproportionate 85 percent of delegates were white. Only 6 percent were black.
  • Operatives on the Move (By David Freedlander, NY Observer/Politicker) Helmstetter comes to the WFP from Blue State Digital, the online fundraising firm that worked on Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

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