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zacherystaylor Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-18-11 11:35 AM
Original message
What is your ballot question?
This is a follow up on a previous string I wrote a few months ago about Election reform; it is part of an effort to enable the voters to take more control over the way decisions are made in a sincere democracy. I would like to have your opinion about what ballot questions should be asked directly from the voters. I would also like to know what questions you think the candidates should be asked.

I have followed this up with a new request for more ideas from other voters in a new blog post, What is your ballot or candidate question? One of the issues that I began to address in this blog is the fact that we don't even have ballot access in many states yet and therefore I think that is why it should be one of the demands for the occupy Wall Street movement. I think that some of the ballot initiatives should include addressing improvements on education and election reform but Im hoping to hear some more ideas from others before I post too many of my own. It may be necessary to go through some rough drafts before coming up with the best initiatives.

For additional information see the Initiative & Referendum Institute, which provides some history on past which states have ballot initiatives and how they established them; this has often required help from the electorate in the past and certainly will in the future since many of the politicians clearly dont want to hand their power over to the voters. And Project Vote Smart also contributes to the issue by asking candidates for their position on the issues. Unfortunately many candidates refuse to fill this out so I hope some of you will check them out at Vote Smart and send them an E-mail letting them know you want them to fill it out and consider boycotting those that refuse in favor of those that fill them out, within reason; I dont expect people to vote for nuts just because theyre the only ones to fill out the questionnaire. For those of you who are interested in more about my comments see the blog about What is your ballot or candidate question?, unless you prefer to write your own questions first. I havent put too much effort into it yet but I can and will come up with some of my own after a couple of weeks.
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mojowork_n Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-11 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. Somebody please explain Kathy Nicklaus, the County Clerk
Edited on Fri Oct-21-11 12:03 PM by mojowork_n
...who used to work for David Prosser. She has been running
the elections in Honky-shaw County (WI) the last dozen years or so:

Waukesha, WI Follies: 97.63 Percent Turnout in 2004? 20,000 More Votes Than "Ballots Cast" in 2006?


Brad Friedman on TruthOut.

Were there ever any answers to those two questions?

How can we begin to find out what might have happened?
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zacherystaylor Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-24-11 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I can't explain Kathy Nicklaus but
This article and other reports that I have heard about Wisconsin clearly indicates that they should have more openness. Apparently according to the Initiative & Referendum Institute, they don't even have the option of putting ballot questions before the public yet. Clearly they're one of the states that should be calling for one which gives them the opportunity to implement one that is good which may be better than many others which might be designed for the benefit of those that like to manipulate them.

This should be one of the demands for Occupy Wisconsin even if it is a conservative district that doesn't mean they should be able to hide the methods they used especially when it appears as if the initial results would have given victory to JoAnne Kloppenburg. Clearly this should justify a verified recount. I don't know what they've done since then but hopefully those at the protests will bring it up again when they go through the recall process again next January when Scott Walker and the other Republicans are eligible.

Just a couple links worth checking Initiative & Referendum Institute history of Wisconsin ballot

Occupy Wisconsin
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zacherystaylor Donating Member (97 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-06-11 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
3. I had hoped for more feedback but
I had hoped for more feedback but as a semi-regular at DU it's not too surprising.

Nevertheless, I have come up with ten of my own ballot questions which are yea or no and would welcome any feedback to it or additional questions from others. these are yes or no questions so they phrased in the form of statements. for more of my views on these questions see">Ten ballot questions.

1.The right to free speech shall not be determined primarily based on how much money the speaker can afford to spend; if some regulation is necessary then additional considerations should be given to equal rights for all to speak and those with the academic credentials on any given subject shall be allowed to speak also. Broadcasting licenses shall no longer be given to a small percentage of the public that does not share the decision making process with the rest of the public. Any private or public organization that accepts a broadcasting license shall be required to provide no less than twenty percent of prime time TV or radio to educational purposes. Private corporations may not be required to pay high prices for these slots but educational organizations that make educational material available to them shall not be rejected or censored. This educational material shall include full political coverage of all eligible candidates for public office in any given area. Decisions about priorities shall be made by elected citizens groups in any given area.

2.Universal health care shall be available to all. This shall be paid for by a series of taxes that include those that apply to activities that are detrimental to the health of the public and cause health care costs to go up. These taxes shall be collected in the most efficient manner possible. For example when tolls for low traffic areas cost a lot to collect this method shall not be used when it could be done more easily by collecting taxes on gas or coal which contributes to air pollution and negative health effects. A review period to develop this new system will begin immediately and it shall include a review of all the current systems that are being used around the world to enable the public to recognize which works best. The insurance industry shall no longer be allowed to dominate the debate.

3.All candidates for public office shall be required to fill out applications that are controlled by a citizens commission that solicits input from the public to decide what questions to ask. These questions shall include answers on how they stand on any given ballot question that is pending at any time. Candidates shall also be required to answer questions during several job interviews that are controlled by the citizens commission with the help of academic scholars with background in several different subjects. These interviews shall be made available free on-line and they shall be aired free of charge to the public on TV in exchange for allowing any TV or radio station to have broadcasting licenses.

4.All legislation shall be done in the open; all votes shall be recorded and published for the public to see. All meetings on public time shall be recorded and disclosed to the public; this shall be available on-line and a portion of them can be made available on TV. Any legislation that is opposed by the public can be overturned through a ballot initiative; the number of signatures necessary for this shall be no more than 80% of the amount necessary for other ballot initiatives. Leadership positions within the congress or state legislatures shall all be temporary lasting no more than three months so that different leaders with different priorities can help chose the agenda at different times. No legislature shall be allowed to hold the same position more than twice in five years nor shall they be allowed to hold more than five different leadership positions in that same five year term. All votes for leaders from the legislature shall be disclosed.

5.No increases in prison building shall be made unless it is accompanied by increases in education budgets that are three times as large.

6.Education funds shall be made equally available to all on a national level. The National Educational department can continue setting the criteria for recommended policies but the final decision shall be made at the local level. Any educational intellectual property that is produced using public funds shall be entered into the public domain for all to use without charge. Any Educational intellectual property that is donated to the public domain by volunteers around the country shall be available to all. No copyrights for additional material shall exceed 50 years or 20 years after the authors death, whichever is shorter.

7.All proprietary information laws shall be overturned unless justifiable cause is presented. When justifiable cause is presented the information shall be subject to review to ensure that it meets the criteria assuming that there is any justifiable criterion.

No exceptions shall be made for cases where proprietary information has been used to conduct consumer fraud or any other fraud on the public.

No exceptions shall be made where the health and safety of the public is at stake.

No exceptions shall be made when it comes to human research projects that involve studying the public. This shall include any marketing research projects or psychological obedience to authority projects done by either the corporations or the military.

No exceptions shall be made by any research that is financed by the public.

8.Any military activities abroad shall be subject to approval by the public if they extend for more than six months and they dont involve a direct threat to the security of the country. All bases around the world more than one hundred miles from the borders of the USA shall be closed unless theyre approved by the voters.

9.Representatives to any international trade organizations including the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Health Organization shall be elected directly by the public. All globalization treaties shall include equal right to protect the environment, free speech, human rights, and workers rights. Competitions between some countries that obtain advantages by suppressing the rights of their own people shall no longer be off limits when it comes to tariffs.

10.All gambling licenses shall be distributed equally. Those that accept them must provide full disclosure to inform the customer how much they return to the players. All advertisements for gambling must include this disclosure and it should include no less than 15 % of any ads and the disclosure in audio or video ads shall be as loud as any promotions. 5 % of all profits shall be paid to a public relations campaign to inform the public about the detrimental effects of gambling and the fact that it does nothing to improve the quality of life for the public despite the hype; this fund shall be controlled by a board that includes members chosen by gambling education groups not sympathetic to the gambling industry.


Potential amendments are also welcome as well as any opinions on the recommended answers, although it shouldn't be considered statistically representative.
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