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Election News Roundup: 4/29/09-5/7/09 (In memory of John Gideon)

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Louisiana Representative Wayne Waddell (R-Shreveport) has introduced HB 776. It would deprive qualified parties of their own primary if they have fewer than 40,000 registered members...

Louisiana’s HB 776, by contrast, leaves them no legal means to nominate candidates. If HB 776 were to pass, individual members of ballot-qualified parties would pay their filing fees and go straight to the November ballot, and if two members of the same small qualified party filed for the same position, they both would appear on the November ballot. Such a result would split that party’s vote.

Upcoming ballot initiatives, referenda, and recalls - Upcoming direct democratic actions in the United States include some in Texas on May 9 (like the Hondo City Council recalls and a hotel referendum in Dallas) and a slew of them in various states on May 19.  These include Props 1A-1F in California (along with some local initiatives there) and local votes in Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Washington.  Ballotpedia.

Colorado Senate Kills National Popular Vote Bill  From Ballot Access News:

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On the evening of April 30, the Colorado Senate voted not to consider HB 1299, the National Popular Vote Plan bill. The bill’s sponsor asked the Senate to take the bill off the agenda, since he calculated that if it were considered, it would be defeated. It had passed the House earlier.

Do people care enough in Carefree, Arizona? - In the town of Carefree, Arizona the voters will decide on May 19 whether to start directly electing their mayor or continue leaving it up to their city council.  Hopefully they care enough to show up at the polls.  Ballotpedia.

Town of Nacogdoches, Texas votes on direct democracy - From Ballotpedia:

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The Nacogdoches Petition to Allow Initiative is a proposed amendment to the city charter of Nacogdoches, Texas. If approved, the citizens of Nacogdoches could vote down or uphold decisions made by the city commissioners.

The petition was introduced by Dr. Paul Risk, the founder of Citizens Opposed to the Prison Site (COPS), a group that is protesting the building of a proposed federal private prison. If the measure is approved, COPS plan to use initiative to have a greater voice in decisions made by the city commission.

Bill Hedrick, candidate for Congress, answers my question - On Tuesday Kossack Bill Hedrick for Congress, who is running for a second time as a Democrat in California, responded to a comment of mine about election reform.  He is likely to be elected in 2010, so this is not posted here solely to stroke my ego.  Here was my question:

Since you know the pain of gerrymandering what would you do once in office to reform our election systems in this country?  There are too many problems to name - gerrymandering is one of the biggest and faulty voting machines and unfair ballot access laws and a plurality voting system that goes against the people's will (if we had a fairer system like IRV or proportional representation there's a good chance you would have been elected) and so much more.

So I ask, what would you do about these problems, especially since you've been personally touched by them?

He answered:

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Thanks for bringing this issue up

As you have identified, there are plenty of problems with our current system.  First, I strongly support Instant Runoff Voting.  It will insure that those elected truly have the support of a majority of the electorate.  I also support FairVote.Org's call for a national elections commission to establish minimum national election standards.  Finally, I believe that the rush to privatize elections needs to be arrested.  The security of our elections system is the most important inheritance for Americans--and the process--machines, software, etc., should be publicly owned and absolutely transparent.

Not the best possible answer, but it is definitely encouraging to see someone running for office who is familiar and in favor of IRV, along with some other good election reforms.  I will probably donate a few bucks to his campaign, because someone who really understands the problems with our elections is rare in Congress (and so is someone in Congress who responds to comments on Dailykos!).

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Ross Levin a young activist who also writes for,, He first became active in politics in the 2008 presidential campaign through Mike Gravel's quixotic run for the Democratic (more...)
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