Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

The Election Sabotage Commission

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Election Reform Donate to DU
groovedaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-21-09 12:25 PM
Original message
The Election Sabotage Commission
No one is in charge these days at the Federal Election Commission, the agency that is supposed to enforce campaign law. Repeated stalemates engineered by Republican members raise the potential for runaway abuses in next years Congressional elections.

The six-member commission, shared evenly by the two parties, needs a majority for any enforcement action. For months, Republican members have cynically withheld their votes, rejecting staff investigators sound recommendations for citations and fines in current cases of obvious abuse. They seem to have completely forgotten why they are there: they are supposed to be enforcing the law, not sabotaging it.

The F.E.C. was hardly ever a paragon of effective enforcement, weighted as it has been with appointees favoring their party machines fondness for easy campaign money. But the latest Republican members are blazing a Paleolithic path of regression.

In the latest example, they neutralized long-standing restrictions on a candidates use of funds from family members to keep a campaign afloat. Staff specialists found a knowing and willful violation by a candidate boosted with $75,000 of his mothers money. There is plenty of precedent for the finding, but Republicans contended the regulation was suddenly too unclear to be enforced. Democratic members properly disputed this but were powerless to act without the requisite votes.
Refresh | +9 Recommendations Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-21-09 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. Republicans are there to stop any real investigation into abuses...
They have not forgotten.

They know exactly what they are doing.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
zacherystaylor Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-12-10 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. Election reform
We need election reform that enables the public to control the interview process and includes instant run off elections.

Both parties are rotten to the core with instant run off elections third parties can have a much better chance. There also needs to be a better way to let the public know about third party candidates. The Mass Media has virtual veto powers under the current system if they don't tell the public about a candidate only a small fraction of the public knows about him. We need alternative media in order to make election reform work and it has to reach a much larger audiance.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-12-10 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Instant runoff voting is a recipe for disaster.
I would no more trust a computer to conduct a runoff election than to conduct a simple 2-candidate contest.

If you want to reform either or both of the 2 major parties, the way to do it is in the Primaries. That's where many general elections are decided.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
zacherystaylor Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-14-10 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Media reform too
The election should include paper ballots that can be confirmed. This may not be simple but there needs to be a better way to give independents that are not indebted to the corporate interests. There may be more details that need to be worked out but the basics idea is a good one if it leads to a majority vote and gives more attention to independent candidates.
We also need Media reform that enables the public to hear more from credible unbiased experts and average members of the public. This may be more important than IRVs
If the public doesnt have access to accurate information they cant make rational choices.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-12-10 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Hey, Zachery - some information about IRV from a state that has tried it
I hope you will study IRV some more and possibly reconsider your support for it.
Most people do not know that IRV is terribly complex to count.

I am writing from a state that has legislated 2 different IRV pilots, with 2 cities participating
in 2007, and only 1 in 2009. Hendersonville, the city participating twice - did not ask its citizens either time,
the officials just did it.

Many people who've supported Instant Runoff Voting have changed their
minds about it once they find out about the problems in counting the votes

Many people do not realize that *IRV is not additive*.
There is no such thing as a "subtotal" in IRV. In IRV every single vote may have to be sent
individually to the central agency. IRV requires central counting of
votes. That means that votes cast at the polling place on election
night have to be hauled off to a central office to be counted later.
This opens elections up to risk of tampering.

Things tend to happen to ballots when they are not counted where cast, and when
they go for a little drive before they get to some storage place or closet.

We know our voting machines can barely count regular plain old vanilla votes.
We also saw how hard it was to count just 3,000 IRV ballots in Cary North Carolina in 2007,.

Cary NC chose not to do IRV again after giving it a try in 2007 and
after having the IRV votes counted in one contest:

Instant runoff voting - counting by hand a nightmare? tallying IRV
in Cary NC in 2007.
Optical Scan Ballots
It was difficult to count just 3,000 ballots correctly. Officials
had to manually tally the IRV results for the Cary, NC instant
runoff. There was confusion during the counting and ballots were
miscounted and not properly allocated to the candidates. Friday, the
day after the "runoff" or count of the 2nd round, the election
director performed an audit, according to the media. Errors were
discovered and the audit extended into a full blown recount...

....According to Chris Telesca who observed the IRV counting in Wake
County, NC, to hand-process a little over 3000 paper ballots (after
the first choice votes were counted on the op-scan machines) when
there were only 3 candidates plus a few write-ins for the Cary
district B, single member town council seat, and the counting went
only two rounds

it took 6 sorting stacks for each of 12 ballot groupings or
precincts (8 precincts plus absentee by mail in Cary, board of
elections one-stop site, the Cary one-stop site, provisional
ballots- Cary, and possibly some transfer votes from another county
which were eligible to vote in the Cary IRV contest) or 12 times 6
stacks = 72 stacks.

Wake County officials decided to put each stack in a separate
plastic bag to keep track. This would not be possible if there were
more than one IRV contest because each contest requires independent
sorting and stacking to count.

The procedure was very complicated, but it was there in print. Even
so, the Wake Board of Elections (BOE) didnt follow it. There was no
overhead projector so that observers could follow the process. Non
Board members were sorting the ballots into stacks which was hard to
follow. Nonetheless, observers and the Board came up with different
totals at the end of the day. The next day, the different totals
were determined to be caused by a calculator error that was
discovered in an audit that also discovered a few missing votes...

Just 3,000 ballots!

If IRV is that complex to count by hand, imagine the risk for error or fraud when using
programming complicated by the complex IRV algorithm?

Also see Cary NC tries IRV, then says no more

Add to this the fact that IRV has been around for over a hundred years but has not yet
strengthened any third parties.
(But Fusion Voting HAS strengthened third parties)

Studies of IRV in jurisdictions where it has been used a long time show that IRV leads to two party domination

"The three IRV countries: Ireland (mandated in their 1937
constitution), Australia and Malta (and more recently Fiji for a
brief period of IRV democracy before its coup) all are 2-party
dominated (in IRV seats) despite having many other features in
their governments which would seem much more multiparty-genic than
the USA with IRV added will ever have. So you can be sure the USA
with IRV would be 2-party dominated too." - from the Center for
Range Voting's report "Why does IRV lead to 2-party domination?

Want to see an powerful election method that is PROVEN to work,
without harming election transparency and without the need for
special machinary to count the votes?

Take a look at Fusion's role in New York politics.Here's an excerpt of a recent NY Times article

As Clout Grows, Working Families Party Faces a Question: Has It Reached Too Far?
Published: January 5, 2010 ...
Unabashedly left-leaning, the Working Families Party is the latest
in a line of little-known but powerful third parties in New York.
The party, whose leaders hail from unions and liberal corners of the
Democratic Party, rarely runs its own candidates. Leaders recruit
and cross-endorse Democrats and put savvy field operatives to work
in primaries and general elections.
Third-party politics offer a cottage industry in New York, and the
practical goal is to draw enough votes to retain the political gold
that is a ballot line. Most parties practice fusion politics, which
is to say they cross-endorse candidates from bigger parties.

IRV is not new, it has been around for a really long time, and the reason it isn't
widespread is that once a community adopts it and uses it for a bit, they ditch it.

Some videos about IRV to watch:

Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
zacherystaylor Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-14-10 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Thanks
I'll take a closer look at your sites when I have the chance. I think they may help indicate ways to improve the idea Instant runoffs which I still suport although if it doesn't work and a better idea comes along I may reconsider. The first attempt may not work if the deatails aren't handled right but the basic principle sounds good.

As I said we also need media reform too which is more important.

If the public doesn't know what is going on it isn't democracy.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-15-10 08:42 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. the one flaw in IRV
that cannot be removed is the fact that it is not additive.
You cant tally the IRV vote at the polls.

The IRV votes have to be centrally tallied because of the process of elimination
and the reallocating of votes.

Thats inherent in the IRV process.
Printer Friendly | Permalink | Reply | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Tue Jan 16th 2018, 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Election Reform Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC