Larry Bradley’s Ezine #396 Maine Approves Ranked Choice Voting

Weekly Ezine Number 396

What Is Happening with Election Reform?
Did the Supreme Court Just Rule in Favor of Voter Suppression?

What Is Happening with Election Reform?

Before we get into this week’s news, we want to call your attention to our web site. If you haven’t been there for a while, we recently made some changes you should find both interesting and useful. We updated our message on the home page, provided a page of recommended reading and other resources, and added a new page summarizing the three prime proposals we advocate for election reform. We invite you both to take a look for yourself and make others aware of what we offer by forwarding today’s Ezine.

Maine both approved and used Ranked Choice Voting in its recent election. Thanks to all who supported this successful effort. One state down, 49 plus D.C. to go. Here’s an article with more details about RCV’s passage and examples of office races impacted by RCV. We also suggest you look at the variety of articles on’s web site. Here’s a link to one.

David Brooks recently endorsed not only RCV, but Proportional Representation through multi-member Districts. Read his excellent article at this link.

The decision to allow Time Warner and ATT to merge is very much worth your attention. The announcement caused us to go looking for what anti-monopolist Barry C. Lynn had to say. Lynn didn’t have an announcement (yet) on the merger, but he has already commented on the prospect. We include it in this section about Election Reform because Lynn’s commentary offers perspective on both our economics and our elections.

And, in a related anti-consumer move, Net Neutrality died this week. Here’s what that means to you.

We have even more articles about Election Reform on our Facebook page.

Did the Supreme Court Just Rule in Favor of Voter Suppression?

Among the significant events of the past week is the Supreme Court’s decision in Husted v A. Phillip Randolph Institute. This is a case from Ohio where Ohio law for cleaning up its voter registration lists was being challenged. The issue was whether Ohio’s process was a means of voter suppression intended to keep certain kinds of voters from voting. The 5-4 decision determined Ohio was not using their process for voter suppression.

For detail, you can look at this news report.

Or you can read the actual decision with both the majority decision and the dissent at this link.

We see the merits of both arguments, so let us offer our thoughts on those merits.

We think the individual States have both the right and the obligation to keep its voter registration lists as up to date as possible. The difficulty in accounting for a mobile human population who changes jobs, moves, dies and does other things that alters their registration status is immense. These dynamics are why you will sometimes see hyper ventilated claims that the number of people registered to vote exceeds the number of people actually living in a given location.

So, when citizens fail to meet their obligations to update their registration and/or return postage paid return post cards validating they still reside at a given address, then that is the citizens’ fault, not the States’. Failure to vote, thereby prompting the post cards, is also the citizens’ fault.

We are reminded of one of Jim Rohn’s stories. Someone came upon a bird crying with its eye poked out. That someone inquired, “Are you crying little bird because the bigger bird poked your eye out?” “No,” replied the little bird. “I’m crying because I let him.”

The evidence is in these matters that those who fail to return the cards (and are then surprised when they discover they are no longer registered to vote) are also those who are more likely to vote for Democrats/Liberals/Progressives. (One of the other groups likely to be purged, by the way, is not based on political affiliation. That group is military people. And, given my 20 years in the Army, that angers me.) But instead of blaming Ohio for its purging programs, why aren’t Democrats/Liberals/Progressives (and the military) doing a better job of keeping purging programs from succeeding/being necessary? Why aren’t the D/L/P’s educating those who lean to the D/L/P’s views to vote like their Conservative brethren do? Which is to say Conservatives seem to vote every time the polls are open. They show up and weigh in for every electoral fight. And if some conservatives are the exception and do have legitimate reasons not to vote and somehow end up getting a postcard, then they return the postcard.

We’re all for trying to keep a clean roster of voters. At the same time, if you’re a state doing purges, then isn’t it fair to compensate for the purges by allowing people to register the same day and vote if they have been erroneously purged? And in a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week working society, why doesn’t every state (especially the ones doing purging) allow early voting to avoid long lines and conflict with work hours? These are topics not addressed in the legal opinion, but the Court’s opinion begs the question to be asked.

Our prime focus here is and will continue to be on the structure and process of our elections. We thing our proposed changes will incent voting. Structure and process, however, doesn’t matter as much if voters are not participating in elections. Those things especially don’t matter if voters from one side are either being kept from the polls or are not motivated to go to the polls by the ineptitude of those whose job it is to do the motivating.

See you next time.



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