News

In The News: Election Reform

February 4, 2004

Pioneer Press reports

on voting reform efforts

Saint Paul Pioneer Press

reporter Lenora Chu filed an excellent article on voting reform efforts

at the Capitol and the interest that is developing around the state.

February 4, 2004

http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/7868003.htm

Afghanistan to elect

legislature by proportional representation

Afghanistan is about to

get better democracy than the United States, or at least a better voting

system, making a better democracy possible. The new constitution in

that country will establish a bicameral legislative body, with the

stronger House of the People electing 250 delegates through a system

of proportional representation. Afghanistan is just the latest in a

series of emerging democracies to choose proportional representation

over the winner-take-all voting system commonly used in the United

States. See http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/interna.asp?idnews=21918.

Presidential candidates

include support for Instant Runoff Voting, proportional representation

in platforms

Two presidential candidates

have included support for alternative voting methods in their campaign

platforms. Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, from a state with one

of the strongest movements for voting reform, has spoken in favor of

IRV on the campaign trail and includes it in his package of political

reform proposals on his website. See http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/cg/index.html?type=page&pagename=policy_policy_campaignfinance

Ohio Congressman Dennis

Kucinich, from the state that had the most cities with proportional

representation in the last century, has expressed support for PR as

well as IRV. See http://www.kucinich.us/issues/campaignreform-irv.php

High Court declines to

block 're-redistricting' in Texas...

In January, the U.S. Supreme

Court declined an emergency appeal by Texas Democrats to block implementation

of a new redistricting plan for that state's congressional delegation.

Redistricting is normally done once every ten years after the federal

census is taken. The new Texas plan comes just two years after the

last round of redistricting and is widely seen as an unprecedented

power grab by Congressman Tom DeLay, who led the drive for the new

map. Before feeling too sorry for the Democrats, consider that the

previous, Democrat-drawn map was considered to be the most effective

gerrymander in the country during that decade. The real losers in each

circumstance are the voters, who are played as pawns by the politically

powerful rather than regarded as the ultimate authority in a democracy.

See http://www.fairvote.org/redistricting/reports/remanual/txnews.htm#colo.

...and upholds McCain-Feingold

campaign finance reform

In December, the U.S. Supreme

Court upheld the major provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance

reform law enacted in 2002, primarily the ban on 'soft money' contributions

and regulating independent expenditures as electioneering. See http://www.commoncause.org/news/default.cfm?ArtID=268.

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