SC

Letter: Palmetto State Electoral Alternatives

LIFETIME POLITICIANS IN ULTRA-SAFE DISTRICTS = “ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY” Dear Editor, I am writing in response to your jungle primary entry.  Your article said that you were looking for voting reform research, so I thought I would provide you with some. One way to achieve the end of a jungle primary…

LIFETIME POLITICIANS IN ULTRA-SAFE DISTRICTS = “ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY”

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to your jungle primary entry.  Your article said that you were looking for voting reform research, so I thought I would provide you with some.

One way to achieve the end of a jungle primary with only one election is instant run-off voting. Here is a link explaining the process.

As to ending the duopoly, another voting reform to consider is multi-member districts rather than single member districts. For example, instead of having of having small, gerrymandered districts which yield one representative each, districts could be combined to yield multiple representatives. If an election district were to yield six representatives, then a district containing 17 percent Tea Party and 17 percent Libertarian would yield at least one tea party representative and at least one Libertarian.

This would be a far more suitable outcome than people masquerading as one party just to get elected only to reveal their true nature after the fact. An excellent discussion of this can be found here.

While these alternate voting methods have their issues, one thing is for sure, it would 100 times better than what we are currently doing.

I believe if you research the topic further and felt so compelled, you would be an excellent advocate for election reform.  Our current system only makes for lifelong politicians in ultra-safe districts.  This leads to zero accountability.  Take a look at the election results for the House in 2014.  There may be a handful that were actual elections.  The result is zero examination of the candidates during the election process.  Rather, we have to see what their true colors are after they are elected.

Now imagine a situation where we cut four representatives to get to 120 members of the House.  Take those 120 and divide that into 20 election districts with six representative from each one.  This would put these “lifetime” politicians on tenuous ground.  They might actually have to be accountable to the people that elected them as voting them out would be a lot easier.

The other issue it would help is legitimatize third party candidates.  A good 20 percent of my friends tell me their Libertarian.  Yet there are zero in the House.  Naturally, they have no shot under the current system.  Tea party, green party, working family, socialists, whoever – form a party and run a candidate.  And maybe of the 120 members of the House, you might actually see one get elected.

Lastly, we could just have one election – no primaries, no runoffs.  Come one, come all.  Then the dodo bird that is an actual campaign where candidates have to answer questions on policy might appear.  Currently, the biggest decision some of the House members have to make is what design to put on their bumper sticker – literally.

I can tell you that the biggest critique against voting reform is cost.  I fail to see how having three elections is more cost effective than one, but whatever.  Also, we are probably due some new voting machines anyway so why not fix it all at once?

There are other issues with these alternate forms of voting (they involve some pretty high level election theory), but the bottom line is it is still ten times better than what we currently utilize, even with the flaws. The Model T wasn’t perfect either, but everybody couldn’t wait to get off of their horse to have one. In South Carolina, we ride a horse, and a lame one at that.

Unless we are going to continue to plod along looking at the same people make the same decisions over and over again, we need to empower the people to put a government into office that reflects their wishes – everybody’s wishes – in the correct proportions.  The current high retention rate is not helping us move forward.

-Anon

SIC SEZ

cigar

Anon: You wrote that FITS “would be an excellent advocate for election reform.” Don’t look now, but you are an excellent advocate for reform!  This is great stuff.  Really worthwhile.  You’ve hit the nail on the head regarding the total lack of electoral competition and accountability, and propose some solid alternatives.  Thank you for submitting this.

***

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11 comments

flip July 12, 2015 at 7:33 pm

‘jungle primary entry’ is code for elect Democrats. Libertarian candidates elect Democrats.

Fits and Co. knows despite Obama shredding the Constitution and using E/O’s to make law-Democrats are LOSING elections from the dog catcher to the senate.Democrats can’t win elections unless they run as Republicans.

Since Obama was elected the Democrats have lost 75 house seats,11 senate seats, only hold 14 governorships and the Republicans control 69 of the 98 chambers in state legislatures.Conservatives control city councils and school boards (outside of major urban cities like Detroit, Baltimore etc…

DON”T trust libertarians on this issue-RINO”s and closet Democrats-trying to elect Democrats.American isolationism, legalized drugs and a perverted culture under the guise of personal freedoms.

Reply
nitrat July 13, 2015 at 8:07 am

” ‘jungle primary entry’ is code for elect Democrats. Libertarian candidates elect Democrats. ”
I guess that’s why Louisiana has them and the Republicans are in charge there.

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Tom July 13, 2015 at 9:58 am

I think what flip is trying to say is in SC the Repugs have gerrymandered the districts so they are virtually guaranteed to win; and have made it as difficult as possible for poor people and minorities to vote. So why mess with a good thing.

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flip July 13, 2015 at 10:37 am

Name ONE minority that has not been allowed to vote! Give me the NAME and I will contact the DOJ.

Liar.

Reply
Elfego July 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm

What about those of us who are Independent and have to vote. Party Politics is corrupt and money always wins even in small precincts. We need to have to prove citizen ship,residency and the ability to read and write. If you can not read and write you do not know if the vote you cast was right or not.
I have worked at the polls and I have seen corruption.

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tomstickler July 12, 2015 at 8:43 pm

Multi-member districts would probably need some sort of primary to limit the number for a general ballot, otherwise, so many might decide to run that no ballot would have room — electronic or paper.

The author’s contention that a hypothetical district with 1/6 Libertarian voters would elect at least one Libertarian would only be sure if voters could only vote for one candidate and there were only six on the ballot.

The usual process is to winnow the field to a final ballot that has twice as many candidates as “seats” and each voter can vote for as many candidates as there are offices to fill. Then, if all the Libertarians in the above hypothetical district have the good discipline to vote only for one particular Libertarian (assuming one survived the winnowing) they might send one to Columbia.

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Victorious Secret July 12, 2015 at 10:59 pm

Sure…there’s plenty of holes in the author’s hypothesis. I don’t love it….but I damn sure love the idea of bucking the trend and telling the status quo where to “shove it,” regardless of party, Dem, Rhino, Libertarian, Tea, you name it.

Get rid of the “lifetime” tenure and I think we all improve our individual position, regardless of what side of the “aisle” you want to sit upon.

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Victorious Secret July 12, 2015 at 10:55 pm

“This would put these “lifetime” politicians on tenuous ground.”

……And you now have my undivided attention. Please proceed further, sir.

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euwe max July 12, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Throw them all out.

Elect someone who really represents you, and let us see how fucked up you *really* are!

Let us see what your idea of a “Republican” vs a Republican is.

Reply
Hervé Villechaize July 13, 2015 at 11:36 am

“I can tell you that the biggest critique against voting reform is cost. I fail to see how having three elections is more cost effective than one, but whatever. Also, we are probably due some new voting machines anyway so why not fix it all at once?”

Well, that’s easily solved- voting costs could be substantially reduced by simply allowing for voting online. SSL & other security infrastructure already handles everything in the private sector fairly well, including identification.

I don’t think our masters want that, but since we are discussing things on “Fantasy Island” I figured I’d note it.

Awarding the masses their inner desires might be something you don’t want…but don’t let that stop you either I suppose. A fuller representation of what “Democracy” is might be enough for some within it to rethink allowing the masses full sway.

Reply
erneba July 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm

I think the “Jungle Primary” has some appeal to some people. I am not completely sold on the idea.
Some people have suggested combining several districts into one voting district to determine the top “vote getters” over these several districts. So you combine six districts, take the top six out of the total six districts and declare them the overall winners? On the surface, that sounds fine, but what if you have three homogenous political districts and three heterogeneous political districts? The three homogeneous districts would have an overwhelming impact on the final results. Fair or Unfair?

Reply

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