From the media blackout of a DNC lawsuit to open primaries to term limits and more, here are 5 things you may have missed in nonpartisan political and election news.
1. Media Blackout of DNC Lawsuit
Go to CNN or MSNBC or NBC News or the New York Times or Washington Post and you won’t find much on an ongoing lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for showing favoritism toward Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary.
Here’s the story. Bernie Sanders supporters filed a class action lawsuit in June 2016 against the DNC and Wasserman Schultz for violating its own rules to be neutral in the presidential primary process. Plaintiffs in the case argue that they were denied a fair and impartial election, and had given money to a campaign on the belief that the election was fair and impartial.
The lawsuit was heard in federal court two weeks ago and a ruling is still pending, yet there has largely been a media blackout on the lawsuit. With the news focused on Russia, Russia, Russia, and Trump, Trump, Trump, traditional and mainstream media outlets have devoted no time to any other news, and have ignored the DNC lawsuit.
2. SCOTUS Rejects Major Party Challenges to Open Primaries
On Monday, it was reported that the Supreme Court of the United States rejected two cases on open primary elections in Hawaii and Montana. The cases were brought by the majority parties in both states, claiming that open partisan primaries violate their First Amendment right to association. SCOTUS’s decision leaves in place lower court rulings that neither the Democratic Party of Hawaii nor Republican committees in Montana provided sufficient evidence that their constitutional rights were severely burdened by open primaries.
Read the full article here.
3. US Rep. Ro Khanna: European Monarchs Have Faster Turnover Rates than Members of Congress
U.S. Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced a constitutional amendment Thursday to impose 12-year term limits on members of Congress.
“I don’t think term limits are a partisan issue. The Economist had an article that the turnover rate in the People’s House is less than European monarchies; European nobility turnover at a faster rate,” Rep. Khanna said on the House floor.
Khanna later added, “This is not what our Founders intended. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton agreed, ‘The security intended for the general liberty consists of the frequent election and in the rotation of the members of Congress.'”
Watch Khanna’s floor statement and read the full resolution here.
4. Colorado Governor Signs Primary Reform Bill
On Thursday, May 18, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law a bill that instructs county clerks on how to implement the state’s new primary system, which opens partisan primary elections to independent voters. Proposition 108, which was approved by a majority of voters in November 2016, called on the state to open its primary elections to independent voters.
Of note, SB 305, the bill signed by Gov. Hickenlooper, stipulates that when an independent voter does choose between a Republican or Democratic primary ballot, a record will be kept of their choice, and they will be considered a member of that party for one year. Similar election procedures are in place in states like Texas, where any voter can participate in either party primary.
5. Momentum Builds for Independent Redistricting Reform in Penn.
Nearly half of the state House has signed on to co-sponsor a state constitutional amendment that would create an independent citizens commission to bring an end to partisan gerrymandering. Because of Pennsylvania’s constitutional referendum rules, supporters say it is now or never for redistricting reform.
“This is a constitutional amendment that has to go through two sessions, so it has to pass the 2017-2018 session, and again in the 2019-2020 session to go to referendum in 2020. So it has to pass now. Our pitch is that if it does not pass now it’s another whole decade before we can fix this and we can’t afford that; every decade it has gotten worse.” – Carol Kuniholm of Fair District PA