#ICYMI: A Roundup of Nonpartisan Voting Rights News – July 24, 2015
This week’s offerings are from California, New Jersey, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. Different topics all tied together. Thanks for reading!
Source: Associated Press, AsburyParkPress.com
A piece from the Asbury Park Press about how New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s negative views on election reforms authored by Democrats -- designed to increase voter turnout -- may play with Republican presidential primary voters.
My Take: I just find this all so amusing. In New Jersey, increasing the rolls should help the Democrats with numbers but it does NOTHING to address actual turnout. In fact, because of a larger universe, I’d bet their pathetic 5% turnout in last month’s statewide primary election would drop to 3%. Increase voter turnout? How about letting the state’s nearly 2.6 million independents have a say in the primary process. How about somebody at the Asbury Press ask Gov. Christie his thoughts on that?
Source: Jacqueline Salit, Waco Tribune
A guest column by Jacqueline Salit, president of IndependentVoting.org, which appeared in the Waco (Texas) Tribune. Ms. Salit praises Mrs. Clinton for expressing concern about voter suppression and her advocation for basic reforms protecting African-American and Latino voters. However, she then goes after the Clinton “democracy rhetoric” criticizing her failure to discuss the rights of the tens of millions of America’s independent voters, labeling that omission another type of voter fraud.
My Take: If the media starts paying attention, I believe it could be as important a voting rights issue as any other during the 2016 election cycle. The piece includes some interesting statistics about new, young and minority voters who appear to only be of concern if they belong to a political party. Ms. Salit also extends the challenge of this issue to all presidential candidates, mentioning many of them by name.
Source: Sharon Bernstein, Reuters
An interesting piece from Reuters News Service highlighting the frustration liberal Democrats are having with the tight fiscal ship Gov. Brown has been steering.
My Take: This is one of those in-the-weeds, political junkie articles I’ve included this week as it includes some commentary on the effect of the top-two nonpartisan primary relative to a number of more moderate Democrats being elected from strong or Democrat-leaning districts. They have the numbers, but not necessarily the votes.
Source: Mary Ellen Klas, Miami Herald
An article from the Miami Herald discussing efforts by a bipartisan group of activists supporting a constitutional amendment to open up Florida’s primary elections to all voters.
My Take: If imitation is indeed the most sincere form of flattery, then California should be flattered. While the proposal is a little different from our top-two, such as 50%+1 of the vote in the primary electing a candidate, it is very similar and the various rationales are nearly identical. But then again, that’s because in the real world, they are.
Source: Oklahoma Editorial Board, The Oklahoman
An editorial from The Oklahoman addressing the issue of low turnout and what some there are seeking to do about it. A state senator has made it his priority to reform the voting system and he’s having some success.
My Take: This looks like a state -- and editorial board -- that understands turnout is a total package -- increase access and opportunity and then VOTE. Top-two is one of the proposals, and while both major parties not surprisingly like the status quo, Democrats seem more open to it. However, it’s a Republican carrying the bill.