GOP Scheming to Rig Future Elections

Every-Vote-CountsWe haven’t even inaugurated President Obama for his second term and the GOP is already concocting schemes to rig the next Presidential election.

Imagine that when President Obama won Ohio in 2012, instead of getting all the state’s electoral votes, he only got six of them, while Mitt Romney, who lost, got 12 … that each candidate was awarded electoral votes based on how many congressional districts they won in the state. Now, imagine this didn’t happen just in Ohio, but also in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and other “blue states” that right now happen to have state governments completely controlled by Republicans.

This isn’t just some thought experiment. Just like their push in 2010 (ahead of the Census and the subsequent redistricting), it’s the latest Republican scheme to rig America’s elections in their favor, and it could work … unless we can create a public backlash against it.

We need to begin speaking out now to tell Republicans that basing the election for President on legislative districts in which GOP candidates are overwhelmingly favored and creating a proportional system based on the results by congressional district would be fundamentally unfair.  We simply cannot sit back and do nothing especially since these tactics would create a a system specifically designed to help one political party achieve a total take-over of ‘our’ country. It’s fundamentally unacceptable.

We need to take actions via petitions, protests, emails, tweets and other social media posts to let the GOP know that we will not tolerate their electioneering efforts to take over America.  Already, such a bill has been introduced in Pennsylvania and most likely will also be introduced in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan where Republican leaders have already begun discussing such actions.

People for the American Way has a petition up that you can sign on to.  They plan to use the petition to lobby lawmakers in the states and make sure the media is giving attention to how unpopular this vote rigging scheme is.

Sign-the-Petition-blu.fw

If the scheme is enacted, the will of the people would mean nothing in those states. And, nationally, the playing field would be dramatically shifted towards Republican presidential candidates. That’s because one of the results of the Tea Party wave election of 2010 was that right-wing Republicans controlled the redistricting process in these states, and congressional districts there were gerrymandered within an inch of their lives, ensuring more “safe” Republican districts. It’s the same reason that Republicans maintained a healthy majority in the House of Representatives in 2012 despite losing the congressional popular vote nationally to Democrats by 1.4 million votes — more than a whole percentage point.

In states like Ohio, where Republicans have a super majority in the legislature, they have the power to move this affront to democracy through unilaterally, bulldozing any opposition!

Proposals for proportional apportionment of electoral votes based on percentage of the vote are also severely problematic, even a secondary idea being floated by Republicans in these states. That proposal would apportion electoral votes based on percentage of vote, instead of by congressional district.  This could theoretically be a fair system, but only if EVERY state did it. With only blue, Democratic-leaning states splitting their electoral votes and definitively red, Republican states remaining winner-take-all, the national field would still shift dramatically to the Republicans favor — and AWAY from the will of the people. To put it bluntly: election rigged Candidates who clearly amassed a significantly lower  percentage of the popular vote nationwide would be elected in the Electoral College as our next President.

THAT is not what the framers of our U.S. Constitution intended.  Clearly, it’s time we looked at taking redistricting away from partisans as well as whether we need to continue the practice of using an “Electoral College” to select our next President.  Technology has come a long way and usually within hours after the polls close (with the exception of maybe Florida) within days) it’s clear which candidate has won the popular vote.  Maybe it’s time to finally push for a National Popular Vote Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and eliminate the Electoral College middlemen.

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2012-11-25: What I’ve Been Reading

Why Is the Obama FCC Plotting a Massive Giveaway to Rupert Murdoch?
Craig Aaron, Op-Ed: “We can still stop this terrible plan from moving forward. The other members of the FCC can dissent and send this thing back to the drawing board. The dozens of senators who voted against this very policy less than five years ago can speak up again. The Obama administration can think about cross-examining Rupert Murdoch instead of appeasing him. None of that will happen unless millions of people make some noise.”
Hostess: Challenges Facing Unions When PE Doesn’t Deliver
Eileen Appelbaum, News Analysis: Looking at the Hostess situation a union could conclude that negotiations over further concessions by workers to keep the company functioning were fruitless. The union could continue to bargain to try to limit concessions and stand up against the greed and mismanagement of the company’s owners and managers. It could refuse to make further concessions to a company It thinks is asking too much. If its demands on behalf of its members were rejected, it might consider striking.
Poor management, not union intransigence, killed Hostess
LA Times | Michael Hiltzik: Let’s get a few things clear. Hostess didn’t fail for any of the reasons you’ve been fed. It didn’t fail because Americans demanded more healthful food than its Twinkies and Ho-Hos snack cakes. It didn’t fail because its unions wanted it to die.  It failed because the people that ran it had no idea what they were doing. Every other excuse is just an attempt by the guilty to blame someone else.
Boeing Won’t Offer Pension Benefits to Same-Sex Couples Igor Volsky, News Report: Since Slog published its report, Boeing issued a statement promising to reassess the impact of Washington State’s marriage equality referendum on company policy. “Boeing is taking a closer look at how R-74 might impact company policies once it takes effect in December,” the statement said. “Nothing is ever final in negotiations until they’re over,” a company spokesperson told the Slog. “What we said today is that [these pension benefits] are not currently addressed in the contract.”
Fracking the Great Lakes
Lois Gibbs, News Analysis: “My sister and brother-in-law were active in advocating the cleanup of the lakes in the 1970’s. Our family vacationed on the lakes. It was exciting back then to hear that a serious effort from both sides of the boarder would advance to make the lakes swimmable, the fish safe enough to eat and so many other promises. Now more than 35 years later reports are praising the cleanup of historical chemical deposits while at the same time new chemicals are allowed to enter the lakes without protest.”
Many Pro-GMO Corporate Biologists Own GMO Patents, in Bed with Monsanto
Anthony Gucciardi, News Report: “Very few scientists around the globe actually dare speak about these dangers due to the overwhelming political influence Monsanto and other biotech companies have over nations around the globe. We know thanks to 2007 WikiLeaks cables that not only are most if not all U.S. ambassadors on Monsanto payroll, but that prominent U.S. political figures have threatened nations who oppose Monsanto with ‘military-style trade wars’. A threat that has managed to strike fear into many nations who would not risk massive retaliation from the United States.”
Solidarity for Tar Sands Blockade and Climate Justice Spreads Worldwide
Melanie Jae Martin, News Report: Hundreds marched to the U.S. embassy in Manilla last Wednesday to demand immediate climate action, while large numbers of peasants, organized by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, demanded the protection of natural resources in Jamshoro. The Rwandan Climate Change Network helped spread climate awareness to Rwanda’s rural populations. Meanwhile, in Texas, over 100 people stopped construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Monday, with four locking down and others setting up a new tree-sit blockade.
The Age of Financial Repression
Edin Mujagic and Sylvester Eijffinger, Op-Ed: Meanwhile, Western central banks are using another kind of financial repression by maintaining negative real interest rates (yielding less than the rate of inflation), which enables them to service their debt for free. The European Central Bank’s policy rate stands at 0.75%, while the eurozone’s annual inflation rate is 2.5%. Likewise, the Bank of England keeps its policy rate at only 0.5%, despite an inflation rate that hovers above 2%. And, in the United States, where inflation exceeds 2%, the Federal Reserve’s benchmark federal funds rate remains at an historic low of 0-0.25%.
Americans Want Leadership Now on Real Cliffs: Jobs and Human Survival
Truthout | Paul Street Op-Ed: "What Americans really want is the truth. They want leadership that says here’s what we need to do no matter how difficult it is, personal accountability on the part of Washington to get something done and then a level of transparency about what’s being done so that people can see progress along the way. That’s the way we do it in business. That’s the way we need to do it in Washington."
How Renewable Energy Is Rescuing Schools from Budget Cuts
Richardsville classroom-SCB-555.jpgYes! Magazine | Erin L McCoy, Report:  When Richardsville opened its doors in fall 2010, it was the first “net zero” school in the nation, meaning that the school produces more energy on-site than it uses in a year. Actual innovations incorporated into it’s design make Richardsville better than net zero. It actually earns about $2,000 a month selling excess energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Why We Need Redistricting Reform
Brennan Center for Justice | Keesha Gaskins & Sundeep Iyer:  On November 7, Americans woke up again to a Republican-controlled House of Representatives. And whether they like it or not, Americans should get used to this leadership. Republican control of the lower chamber could extend well past the 113th Congress, thanks in part to the once-a-decade process of redistricting.  You see, when Republicans won big in the 2010 elections across the country — they had the power to redraw district lines to assure Republican victory after victory for the decade to come.
 
 

Special Masters Redistricting Minutes Available

The minutes for the first and second meetings of the Public Hearing by Special Masters to Receive Testimony Concerning Redistricting of Legislative and Congressional  Districts can be viewed at the following link:  http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Division/Research/Districts/Reapp/2011/Masters.cfm.

If you have any questions, please contact the Director’s office at 775/684-6800.


Sandoval Vetoed Redistricting Plan

SB497 was approved on an 11-10 party-line vote Tuesday in the Senate and immediately sent to the Assembly, where it was approved 25-17.  The floor vote came three days after both the Senate and Assembly committees on Legislative Operations and Elections approved the redistricting plan developed by Democratic strategists. The Democratic plan contained in SB497 was passed by the committee before the Republican proposal was even drafted into bill form.

Governor Sandoval, in an overt act of partisanship designed to appease his Republican base, vetoed the common sense redistricting plan passed by the State Legislature. The plan adopted by the Legislature is supported by community advocates representing Hispanic, Asian American and African American communities, as well as cities and neighborhoods throughout Nevada. SB497 was based on neutral and traditional districting principles designed to ensure that all Nevadans have a fair and equal opportunity to participate in the electoral process and to elect candidates of their choice.

Well before the legislature had passed a reapportionment bill, before public hearings had been held, indeed before the legislative session had begun, the governor made clear he would use his office to advance his party’s political interests. Shortly after being elected, Governor Sandoval told the Las Vegas Review Journal, “in addition to my duties on the behalf of all Nevadans” that he had GOP job with responsibilities including reapportionment.

“Governor, all of your duties should be on the behalf of all Nevadans,” said Assembly Majority Leader Marcus Conklin. “How can the governor have the audacity to say he wants a ‘fair’ plan, when his own words and actions show an unambiguous motivation to promote the interests of his own party?”

The Committees on Legislative Operations and Elections, charged with redistricting, held numerous hearings throughout the state to receive public input. The committees held hearings in Fallon, Reno and Las Vegas along with one video-conference hearing in Elko. The plan adopted by the Legislature was presented in Committees of the Whole, received two public hearings and a third day in which it was passed out of committee.

“It is disingenuous for the governor to complain about this proposal now,” said Assemblyman Tick Segerblom. “In over half a dozen hearings, neither the governor nor a member of his staff attended a single hearing or gave any comment whatsoever on-the-record regarding this plan.” Segerblom continued, “Clearly, the governor never intended to consider any plan passed by the Legislature and has always intended to pursue a partisan approach of gerrymandering by veto.”

One of the most consistent complaints raised by Republicans has been a legally absurd claim that the proposal passed by the State Legislature violated the Voting Rights Act. This claim has been thoroughly debunked by established legal precedent and numerous legal scholars. It is nothing but a smokescreen in an attempt to obscure the partisan ambitions of a party that has a pathetic record on issues of minority rights.

“There is a difference between protecting a community of interest and using one for your own political purpose. The Republican Party’s record on Hispanic issues borders between ambivalent and atrocious, so their sudden interest in taking up the mantle of minority voting rights must be examined,” said Hispanic Caucus Chairman Senator Mo Denis. “History matters. Motive matters. Simply put, you don’t let the fox guard the hen house.”

Denis continued, “Our community will not be used by the Republican Party in a transparent attempt to pack Hispanic voters into as few districts as possible in hope of winning more Republican seats.”

The State Constitution makes clear that redistricting is a mandatory duty of the State Legislature,” said Speaker John Oceguera and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford in a joint statement. “This is a duty that all legislators take seriously, and we will continue to meet our obligation under the law regardless of this governor’s unprecedented attempt to gerrymander by veto and use his office for the sole benefit of his party.”

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