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IVN Daily Digest -- August 18, 2014

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

1. Ralph Nader criticizes the use of "spoiler" to describe independent and third-party candidates and how the major parties treat these candidates to maintain their dominance in elections.

"Remember that the words "political parties," "corporation" and "company" are not even mentioned in our Constitution, raising the central question of why they are ruling "we the people" today."

While Nader does not raise the issue, the above quote should also be considered when we talk about all aspects of the election system, including who has access to all integral stages of the process.

2. Independent U.S. Senator Angus King (ME) endorsed Maine independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler.

"The two independents emphasized Cutler’s business pedigree, and the advantages they said an independent can have as the top elected official in the state, such as the ability to draw from the best both parties have to offer without having to swear allegiance to either."

King encourages voters not to base their decision on strategy, but who they really think would best represent Maine. Cutler currently trails far behind the other candidates in statewide polls.

3. The Center for Data Innovation released a study ranking states on open data policies.

"Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah scored the highest in an assessment of state open data policies and portals by the Center for Data Innovation."

The report says that open data portals can easily be distinguished from transparency websites. It says transparency websites "tend to offer only financial and expenditure information, provide fewer if any machine readability options, and offer other state agency information only through links if at all."

4. Ron Paul called for the elimination of the defense department program that has militarized local and state law enforcement agencies.

“Police are supposed to be local people, and they’re supposed to be peace officers,” he added. “They’re not supposed to be warriors.”

Paul's comments come after his son, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also commented on Ferguson, saying it resembled more of a war than a police response.

What news stories have you been following?

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