Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » Congress Adjourns Without Passing Bill Restricting Partisan Activities of Secretaries of State

"Congress adjourned on December 22 without having passed HR512, the bill to prohibit the chief Election Officer of any state from taking an active part in the campaign of any candidates for federal office."

Federal Election Integrity Act of 2010 - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to make it unlawful for a chief state election administration official to take active part in political management or in a political campaign with respect to any election for federal office over which the official has supervisory authority.  This bill's message was a no-brainer as an ethical principle, in that it avoided the chief election administration official's conflict of interest of supporting a candidate he had professional authority over.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gavel Grab » Group: Public Financing Boosts NC Judicial Diversity

"A public financing program for appeals court candidates in North Carolina has helped increase diversity of judges and reduce the role of special-interest money in elections, an election reform group reports."

North Carolina has taken small steps towards wider public financing in their state's races; now, it's time to  publicly finance many more.  America must realize our democracy's potential for reform for the common good.  The present outlaw principles of selfishness and greed, lived by our two-party politics, have no place in our democratic republic.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let the Distortions Begin |

"Potential Republican presidential aspirants are off and running, jockeying for exposure on the airwaves and before audiences in key primary states. We have been keeping track, and have noticed some twisting of the truth – already! (We know, you’re shocked.)"

It's remarkable that this very serious fact-checking organization is so glib with its initial cynicism of our 2012 presidential candidates' races.  Indeed, scrambles out of the campaign season gates early with hard facts to overturn very public statements made by some leading Republican candidates.  I've got a suggestion for our candidates for highest office of the land: be humble and honest before the people-- you'll find it to have the most integrity and lasting value.


The Year in Sunlight: 2010 - Sunlight Foundation

"As we wind down the year, I want to take this moment to thank all of you wholeheartedly for your interest and support of Sunlight’s work in 2010. This has been a tremendous year for Sunlight and for government transparency."

Year after year, the Sunlight Foundation has been the fastest growing and most aggressive government reform NGO in Washington.  2010 was no exception, even as signs of continued government secrecy, carried over from the Bush years, has reared its ugly head.  Congrats, Sunlight, and don't forget to spread the wealth of government transparency and Gov2.0 reform opportunities as you see them take shape.


Lawmakers seek cash during key votes

"Numerous times this year, members of Congress have held fundraisers and collected big checks while they are taking critical steps to write new laws, despite warnings that such actions could create ethics problems. The campaign donations often came from contributors with major stakes riding on the lawmakers' actions."

Well, it looks like our government reform researchers are getting much closer to political money's smallest known particle.  It is very difficult for our elected representatives to wave off or deny actions that are so bare and to the point as this.  Nothing short of a bucket of paint thrown at a legislator is any closer to the ugly sight of corruption.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Ulsterman Report: Obama Justice Department Rocked by Investigation Findings : South Capitol Street

"the New Black Panther voter intimidation case from 2008 appears to strongly indicate a cover up initiated by figures within the Obama Department of Justice, and quite possibly the White House itself."

Race is very subtle politically in the U.S.  It always lies just below the surface, but it is a major effect on attitudes, policy and society.  Until our legislators acknowledge this, we will be kept in the dark.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Repeal the 17th Amendment: Democratizing the Constitution: The Failure of the Seventeenth Amendment

"If there was once cause for concern in the muckraking stories of industrial tycoons and railroad barons buying Senate influence through contributions to the state legislators, then the largess of lobbyists and activists that is today handed openly and directly to Senate candidates (overwhelmingly in favor of incumbents) should be a cause for outright alarm."

The democratic integrity of our republic calls for open and fair elections at all levels of government.  By repealing the constitutional amendment mandating a popular vote for U.S. Senator and instead having state legislatures elect them, may be our most open and fair democracy.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time for Sacrifice | CommonBlog

"we ought now to undertake an intergenerational dialogue on how to get present and future Americans out of the soup [national debt crisis]. For that we need leaders with superior access to the facts to start tutoring us, not only with facts, but proposals for sacrifices that can address the facts.

Sure, this request has the feel of political poison for most elected leaders. I want to tell them: Hey guys, we are not sissies out here. As Christmas approaches, neither are we all Scrooges who want to shut our windows against the cries of the poor, the jobless, the war-wounded, and our grandchildren. We know that personal goods and our common good are now in need of some serious negotiations, that our country deserves some sacrifices from all of us. Well, what sacrifices? It’s time, guys, for you all to start making some painful proposals. Believe in us enough to believe that we can take the pain."

A heart-felt appeal to our beloved rascals in Washington, DC to show some leadership on our long-term fiscal situation and show how we, the people, can help.  I believe most concerned Americans feel the same way.


Political Heat: Campaign finance reform preserves your right to be heard

"Under a model of campaign finance reform, spending limits ensure that everyone's voice is treated equally, that no one's ideas are treated better or worse based on their class or level of income. Political rights, including the right to express your beliefs and opinions, should transcend forces that require a person to have a leg-up on everyone else within society to really matter.

A good idea is a good idea, whether it comes from Wall Street or Main Street. Don't let conservative beliefs on 'free speech' ruin YOUR right to speak your mind, destroy your right to be heard. Campaign finance reform enables everyone to have an equal voice in our elections."

This is from a simple to understand, straight-forward argument for spending limits on candidate campaigns.  I don't see how any patriotic citizen of this great country can't agree whole-heartedly with anything but this.


Poli-Tea: Alabama Congressman Calls for Formation of Independent Party

"For the hundreds of thousands of Alabamians who believe our state is capable of fundamentally changing the way we govern ourselves and the way we educate our children, and who desire a politics that is not anchored to special interest groups, there is a powerful case for an independent movement in time for the 2014 elections.This movement, which would recruit and sustain candidates in targeted statewide and legislative races, has the potential to advance Alabama in ways that are impossible under the constraints of partisan politics."

A political party confined to a single state has much greater chances for success than a new party with national aspirations.  There are already long-standing single-state minor parties in other states, such as the New York Independence Party, the New York Conservative Party, the Minnesota Independence Party and the West Virginia Mountain Party.  And history has shown that a serious Independent presidential candidate has pursued and won the endorsement of single-state parties, such as Ralph Nader in election year 2004.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Ballot Access News » Blog Archive » Article Summarizes Final Results of Legislative Elections Across the Nation

"Tim Storey has this comprehensive summary of the results of state legislative elections, including a map that shows which major party controls each state’s legislature. Unfortunately, the article does not mention that independents or minor party members were elected to state legislatures in ten states this year."

Of course, all state legislatures consist of representatives and senators. Most of the independent and minor party winning candidates are in states with electoral laws that are much more democratic than other states.


Gavel Grab » Our Judicial Backlog, Through a British Lens

"The backlog of vacancies in the federal judiciary is serious enough to have grabbed the attention of a British current affairs magazine, The Economist."

The president is supposed to submit for confirmation to the senate nominees for federal justice. Unfortunately, vacancies in these offices remain due to inaction in the senate; political games by stakeholders should have no place in this constitutional mandate.


No Surprise: The Natural Gas Revolving Door | Center for Media and Democracy

"Some Appointees to Oil and Gas Commission Are Industry Execs, Lobbyists"

One of the purposes of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission is to serve, hands-off, as a third party objective. It would be corrupt if its subjects had authority within it.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

“Needless Brouhaha” Over Registering New Citizens to Vote in Texas | Project Vote Blog

"A new Texas county registrar and alleged Tea Party sympathizer recently raised some eyebrows over his effort to halt voter registration at naturalization ceremonies over alleged rule violations, a move that the local League of Women Voters called “ill-considered” since the practice has helped more than 60,000 newly eligible citizens register to vote over the last four years."

So, this traditional practice was against the rules. If this tradition has been successful a substantial amount of years without complaint, it should be allowed to continue.


US military is the latest filibuster victim | CommonBlog

"The annual defense bill is bursting with provisions governing the way our troops live and work at home and around the world. It authorizes pay raises, health care for military members and families, the purchase of new weapons and equipment and thousands of other things large and small. It’s where rhetoric about our national commitment to “support our troops,” meets reality.

The bill typically passes by an overwhelming majority; nobody wants to vote against the troops after all. But today, a minority of senators unwilling to discuss just one of part of the bill – a proposal to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law and let gay Americans serve openly – used the filibuster to block consideration of the entire $726 billion package."

There’s something rotten about such power grabs; it should not be tolerated in a democratic society. I believe most Americans concur; unfortunately, the culture wars led by our own congress members trumps that reality.


Professor James K. Galbraith Advocates that Liberals Break with the Democratic Party

"On November 20, Professor James K. Galbraith spoke to an Americans for Democratic Action event in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and suggested that supporters of Keynesian economics should no longer support the Democratic Party, and should instead create a new party. See this for the text of his speech.

Galbraith is an Economics Professor at the University of Texas, and also a vice-president of ADA. He is the son of John Kenneth Galbraith."
~ Ballot Access News

The United States should have a Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system; it allows multiple political parties representation (legislators) for each district based on their respective shares of the district's vote.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Early Voting is a mostly positive recent development in states

[This November,] the Saturday Voting Act was approved in San Francisco, requiring the city to open all polling places on the Saturday before Election Day in the Nov., 2011 city election. Proponents argue that a weekend voting option would make it much easier for working citizens to get to the polls. The Census Bureau reported that in 2008, the most common reason registered voters said they did not vote was because of their busy schedules. Even before the act passed, New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced his support for the initiative, signaling that NYC might be next.
~ Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network

States across the union over the last few election cycles have instituted Early Voting, making it easy for people to vote weeks before General Election Day.  This is a good development, as more people are able to vote on their own schedules.  The only drawback is that you may learn more  about any of the candidates after you vote, possibly making you regret your own vote.


As many secondary students vote, they need a civics class to prepare them for that duty

In Vermont, voters this November passed a constitutional amendment that will allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries as long as they will be 18 by the date of the general election.
 ~ Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network

This new law makes perfect sense, since a person that's 18 by General Election Day is participating in that particular electoral process.  Secondary schools should make it mandatory for all of its students to take a civics class; under this new law, a junior-level student may be eligible to vote in an election year primary.  Our nation's youngest voters have every right to see that they are fully prepared to vote once they enter the voting booth.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Broader political representation through more party and independent candidacies is needed for vibrant democracy

In the November 2010 election, eleven states elected people to federal or state office who were not nominees of either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.  This is the largest number of such states since 1922, when there were fourteen such states. 
 ~ Ballot Access News

Our present winner-take-all, two major party dominated political system has experienced a deterioration in democracy.  There are very suitable electoral reforms available, such as Instant Runoff Voting, re-districting reform and Proportional Representation.  A vibrant democracy encourages good competition among a widely-representative group of candidates; electoral reforms such as ballot access reform and other improved third party competition are presently needed in some capacity in most states.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Call your congress members and say you want to pass the DISCLOSE Act

Public Citizen President Robert Weissman turned and faced  the U.S. Capitol building this morning.
“Whose side are you on?” he shouted at the massive building.
Weissman's nonprofit organization, along with the leaders of five others, met in a grassy area outside the Capitol to advocate that a stripped down version of the DISCLOSE Act be put back on the Senate floor during the 111th Congress' lame duck session. The DISCLOSE Act, which passed the House but stalled in the Senate, would in part require most organizations that engage in political advertising to identify their donors.
 ~ OpenSecretsblog

The above article states that 92 percent of Americans feel “campaigns should be required to disclose how much money they raised, where the money came from and how they have spent the money.”  I concur.  In fact, it's such an ethical issue that the DISCLOSE Act should be passed even if a majority of Americans do not agree with the bill.


Leave voters' election season deliberations to within their own district

Five out-of-state special interest groups pumped $948,000 over a two-month period into the successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices.

 ~ Gavel Grab

Those outside-of-state campaigners/ campaign monies violates the statewide vote for these statewide court justices.  Voters are only concerned about their own district's candidates, not campaigns from outside it.  Leave the election season deliberating to the people of the district.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Top Twitter updates for topic "voting":

  1. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] NY Mag Q&A: Why Vote Tuesday? #voting #election 
  2. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] Weekend Voting Coming To San Fran #voting #election
  3. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] 2010 Voter Turnout: Not Good #voting #election
  4. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] On Civil Rights and Weekend Voting #voting #election
  5. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] Election results pour in #voting #election
  6. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] Updates from the field #voting #election
  7. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] Voting Fearlessly in Ohio #voting #election
  8. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] Election 2010 an important one for Ranked Choice Voting #politics
  9. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] "Murkowski: No Merit to Miller's Vote Fraud Claims" #elections
  10. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] "The Winning Strategy in Oakland: Concentrate on Being 2nd or 3rd Choice" #elections
  11. David Weller, O.S.L. poetspirit [feed] Engaging Young Voters #voting #election 
  12. ABE G. SALEN Salenlaw #Voting #Elections - Has a candidate ever conceded, only to be elected by a full counting of ballots? Anyone?
  13. W Craig Henry henrywc Do not disallow #Write-in votes . write ins Can elect a "dark horse/Favorite Son" See: #voting #elections
  14. Benjamin Rice benrice23 Anyone else out there vote RCV? How do you feel about it? #election #voting #RCV #Oakland
  15. 60-Second Civics 60SecondCivics What #Greek and #Roman ideas about #voting #rights did many early Americans adhere to? #education
  16. Tarik Moody RadioMilwaukee RT @MidwestPhoto: Great resources here! MT @RadioMilwaukee #Voting is only one part of your duty. Keep your elected officials accountabl ...

Friday, November 05, 2010

  • Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group: New GOP wave could slow the pace of healthcare reform #gov20 #opengov
  • Just How Much Did the Public Hear About Issues Related to Anonymous Donations and Voter Registrat... #elections
  • Sunlight Foundation: The Citizens United Effect: 40 percent of outside money made possible b... #gov20 #opengov
  • "Corrupting Committees: Sen. Jim DeMint's cynical advice to incoming Tea Partiers." #elections
  • "Former Coleman attorney, law experts: Emmer has steep hill to climb" #elections
  • Texas Governor Perry Calls Voting Rights Act Section 5 Extension in 2006 "Unconstitutional" #elections
  • Nicholas Stephanopoulos on the Florida and California Redistricting Initiatives #elections
  • Sunlight Foundation: Tools for Transparency: Note Taking with Twitter and Google Docs #gov20 #opengov
  • Bizarre: San Francisco Poll Inspector Arrested After Stealing Ballots, Memory Card, Poll Book #voting
  • Will Emmer Not Concede in Minnesota in an Effort to Keep a Republican Governor in Office Longer? #elections

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

  • The Midmorning Refill: Time to speak up and vote or forever hold your peace #reform
  • Join us Wednesday for a webinar breaking down corporate spending in the midterm elections #reform
  • Federal District Court, in Rejecting Tea Party-Requested Restraining Order, Finds that Polling Pl... #elections
  • "High campaign spending during midterm elections could affect 2012 race" #elections
  • "Exclusive: Business groups poised to turn judges into 'politicians in robes'" #elections
  • FairVote on Election 2010 fairvote-on-election-201 #politics
  • "Kansas Voters Report Callers Telling Them They Need Proof Of Home Ownership To Vote" #elections
  • Will Early Voting Results in Nevada Signal the Outcome of Reid-Angle? #elections
  • Sunlight Foundation: Sunlight's Election Watch Party: Come by Tonight to Drink In Demo... #gov20 #opengov
  • NOW HAPPENING: Join Tonight for Virtual Election Night Party #elections
  • "Reports of voter intimidation, voter fraud scarce on election day" #elections
  • What I'm Watching Especially Tonight Beyond the House, Senate, Governors #elections
  • "Some complaints surface amid stepped-up efforts to monitor voting fraud" #elections
  • Election Law Prof, and Democratic Michigan SOS Candidate, Jocelyn Benson Trailing to GOP's Johnson #elections
  • Indiana GOP SOS Candidate White Wins, Despite Democratic Allegations of Voter Fraud #elections

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

  • Will the Supreme Court Grant Cert. in Regarding the Disclosure/Political Committee ... #elections
  • Evan Bayh Says It Will Take Another Scandal for More Campaign Finance Reform to Pass Out of Congress #elections
  • "The Battle of Harris County: A firsthand look at early voting in Houston" #elections
  • "Law and lobbying firms pump millions of dollars into midterm campaigns" #elections
  • Michele Bachmann's Massive War Chest, Top Leadership PACs and More in Capital Eye Opener: November 1 #elections
  • "Handbook on Corporate Political Activity: Emerging Corporate Governance Issues" #elections
  • Sunlight Foundation: Swing State Confidential: Colorado The Day Before #gov20 #opengov
  • Federal District Court in Minnesota Rejects Request for TRO in Tea Party Garb /"Please ID Me" But... #elections
  • "The voter fraud & intimidation stories you won't hear about on Fox" #elections
  • "CPA finds solid business leader support for corporate political disclosure and accountability in... #elections
  • On NY's WBAI This Morning on 'Citizens United' and the Ensuing 'Bastardization of Our Democracy'... #voting
  • Will Federal Court Tonight Issue Injunction Barring Provision of Write-in List in Alaska Senate Race? #elections
  • "The Propositioners: How a small number of legal specialists make their clients' cases to voters" #elections
  • WSJ Editorial: We'll Give Reformers Disclosure if they Give Up on Limits and Abolish the FEC #elections

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Monday, November 01, 2010

  • Federal Judge Rules in Favor of NC GOP in Touch-Screen Vote Flipping Complaint #voting
  • Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity – Oct. 30, 2010 – A photo gallery #reform
  • "In 2012, campaign finance trends expected to grow; Heavy, unregulated spending has helped the GO... #elections
  • von Spakovsky on Section 5 (and other VRA) Litigation Over Alaska's Write-in Change #elections
  • "North Carolina Counties Using iVotronic Vote-Counting Machines Must Tell Each Voter to Double-Ch... #elections
  • Will the Ohio Gubernatorial Race Be Decided by Provisional Ballots? #elections
  • Aprill: Section 501(c)(4) Organizations, the Gift Tax, and the Disclosure Rules #elections\

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

  • "House Committee Overseeing Elections Could See Big Shift in Agenda After Nov. 2" #elections
  • Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity was BIG but does size really matter? #reform

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

  • Sunlight Foundation: Sunlight’s Politiwidgets Makes Your Reporting Brighter. One Widget at a... #gov20 #opengov
  • Going to D.C. for Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity? Then follow these tips #reform
  • The Midmorning Refill: Crazy for Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity #reform
  • "Third Party U.S. House Candidates Spike to Largest Midterm Election Mark Since 1934" #elections
  • Will "Lisa M. Lackey" Ruin Sen. Murkowski's Chances of a Successful Write-In Vote #elections
  • "Instant Runoff Voting as a 'Game Changing' Alternative Voting System?" #elections
  • "Essential Research Needed to Support UOCAVA-MOVE Act: Implementation at the State and Local Levels" #elections
  • Sunlight Foundation: Join Sunlight on Election Night for Live Reporting of the Money Behind ... #gov20 #opengov
  • "Roberts Court rulings on campaign finance reveal shifting makeup, forceful role" #elections
  • USA Today: A Decade After Florida Fiasco, Voting Remains a Hodgepodge #elections
  • Federal District Court in Maryland Rules that Rights of Military Voters to Have Their Votes Count... #elections
  • "Dem Prevents Civil Rights Panel Vote On New Black Panther Report (VIDEO)" #elections
  • Audio of ACS Event on Legal Issues to Watch in the 2010 Elections Now Available #elections
  • Sunlight Foundation: Operation Transbearency: Coming to a Rally for Sanity Near You #gov20 #opengov
  • Sunlight Labs: Influence Explorer Gets New Election Tools and More #gov20 #opengov
  • Another Bopp Loss at the Supreme Court on a Request for Emergency Relief #elections
  • iVotronic Expert Offers Insights on North Carolina “Vote-Flipping” #elections
  • Alaska Supreme Court, Relying in Part on the Democracy Canon, Orders Election Officials to Provid... #elections

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