IVN Daily Digest — July 31, 2014

1. Sacramento Bee Editorial Board says top-two primaries are the best hope for politics in California and nationwide.

“The real change is being felt in legislative and congressional races in districts that are reliably red or blue, but have enough voters from the other side that a moderate has a shot at beating an extremist from the same party. That’s what’s happening to Democratic Rep. Mike Honda in San Jose and Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, who lives in Elk Grove but represents part of Placer County and the Sierra from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite.”

The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board responded to Chuck Schumer’s recent endorsement of the top-two primary system and ending party primaries. Though Schumer confuses some terms concerning open primaries and a top-two primary, his remarks have resulted in a much larger discussion nationwide over top-two.

2. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board says Missouri should adopt a top-two primary.

“Neither major political party likes these ideas. Why? It takes the primaries out of their hands and puts the power where it belongs, with the people.”

The movement to adopt nonpartisan election systems just continues to grow.

3. The Economist publishes an argument for having a national primary election day.

“The [Bipartisan Policy Center] is proposing America do away with its pointilliste timetable for primaries and hold them all on the same day. It thinks that the change would create a media event—a pre-election election—thereby attracting more voters to the polls and giving more power to moderates.”

Nonpartisan election reform will better protect the voting rights of all voters and is the first step in the right direction to improving voter turnout, but election reform alone will not increase voter turnout. BPC argues that the media event created from all 50 states holding their primary elections on the same day would entice more voters to participate. However, the only way to maximize the amount of voters who do participate is to adopt nonpartisan election systems that protect the rights of all voters to have equal and meaningful participation.

An IVN article published in 2012 examines a Harvard study, in which researchers suggest that there is a correlation between increased media coverage and higher voter turnouts. The study looks at early presidential primary states that always have the most media coverage and always have higher voter turnouts.

4. The inspector general of the CIA has confirmed that agency staff inappropriately accessed Senate investigators’ computers.

“Director [John O.] Brennan was briefed on the CIA OIG’s findings, which include a judgment that some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between SSCI and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to [a secure network],” Boyd said. “The Director subsequently informed the SSCI Chairman and Vice Chairman of the findings and apologized to them for such actions by CIA officers as described in the OIG report.”

The irony, of course, is that many of the senators who have raised the biggest fuss about this also adamantly support current NSA data collection and surveillance programs that have accessed information from Americans who pose no threat to national security.

What news stories have you been following?