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Friday, February 27, 2015

What America Voters Will Look Like in 2060


The changing face of the typical American voter stands to make a transformative impact on future U.S. politics as the electorate shifts to “majority-minority.”  A new report from the Center for American Progress, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Brookings Institution predicts the makeup of states over the next 45 years, and what that means for the democratic process.

The report, entitled States of Change: The Demographic Evolution of the American Electorate, 1974-2060, examined population data to pinpoint the “tipping year” for states where the current minority population will become the majority.  The U.S. as a whole is expected to reach that tipping point in 2052.  Many states already have Caucasian minorities, including California, Texas, and Arizona.

10 Big Trends that are Transforming America

1: The rise of majority-minority and near-majority-minority states.

2: The diversification of eligible voters.

3: The lagged diversification of actual voters.

4: The rise of post-Baby Boom generations.

5: The super-diversification of America’s children.

6: The graying of America.

7: The diversification of the gray.

8: The decline of the white working class.

9: The rise of white college graduates.

10: The rise of the unmarried electorate.

CLICK HERE to read the entire report.











NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker Technorati talk bubble Technorati Tag in Del.icio.us Digg! StumbleUpon

Revised New York Voter Registration Form


New York revised their voter registration form to handle the new parties and the question of are your independence.

There is now two questions:

Political party - You must make 1 selection

Political party enrollment is optional but that, in order to vote in a primary election of a political party, a voter must enroll in that political party, unless state party rules allow otherwise.

I wish to enroll in a political party

☐ Democratic party
☐ Republican party
☐ Conservative party
☐ Green party
☐ Working Families party
☐ Independence party
☐ Women’s Equality party
☐ Reform party
☐ Other_________________

I do not wish to enroll in a political party

☐ No party

The other change that is waiting for the New York Board of Elections (BOE) to finalize, is requiring the maintenance of the write-in party names for the Other box by the Counties and the State.  This is needed when a party asks for its registration totals, which are not keep by all entities, currently.  The BOE has previously changed their system to accommodate this change, but did not make it mandatory.

I would like to see a mass mailing so voters could be notified about this change, so they could update their party preference or become an independent voter.

CLICK HERE to view the form.











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Secession Talk in New York State


New York lawmakers in income strapped fifteen towns across four counties in upstate New York are pondering the possibility of seceding from the Empire State and being adopted by Pennsylvania.  The fifteen towns have expressed interest in secession after the state banned fracking, according to an interest group researching the economic benefits of such a move.

The Upstate New York Towns Association declined to name specific towns involved in the effort, but the towns are located in Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan counties.  These counties are located in or near New York’s natural gas-rich Southern Tier, which borders Pennsylvania.

The Association will review the results from a survey and review the Association’s study comparing taxes and the cost of doing business in New York and Pennsylvania.  With all this information, the Association will decide what action should be taken.  Options such as seceding to Pennsylvania, partitioning the state, as well as other options that may come up will be looked at.

The gas resources available here are locked off from development, and many landowners have lived through years of frustration as they watched their neighbors just over the border to the south enjoy a resurgence in their economy and job prospects.  Jobs have bled off from the area with no new development to replace them, largely due to the state’s tax policies.

The problem with all of this is that it looks pretty much impossible.  The rules for changing state borders are clear, and the powers that be in Albany and Manhattan would never be on board with it.

Boundary changes between states require the approval of each state’s legislature and the approval of Congress.  The U.S. Supreme Court settles boundary disputes between states.

While Pennsylvania would no doubt love to expand their territory and gain access to the mineral resources, I can’t imagine the state government in Albany ever agreeing to let this happen.











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Staten Island Democrats Pick Vincent Gentile to Run in Special Election


In New York City last night, the Staten Island Democratic Party officially nominated Brooklyn Councilman Vincent Gentile to take on Staten Island Republican's selection, District Attorney Daniel Donovan, in the race to replace former Congressman Michael Grimm.

Just over two months away from the May 5 special election, Mr. Gentile accepted his party’s nod to run for the seat, which consists mostly of Staten Island with some smaller slices of Brooklyn.

The councilman–widely seen as the party’s third choice a Staten Island Assemblyman and a former Congressman opted not to run,, emphasizing his determination to defeat the heavily favored Mr. Donovan.

Some elected official present at the event, argued that Mr. Gentile has a strong chance of winning the election despite the abysmal history of Brooklyn candidates who have sought the seat.











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Thursday, February 26, 2015

England's Two-Party Political System Under Unprecedented Pressure


The distance between the front benches in Britain's House of Commons, the PIT, is said to be the distance of two drawn swords.

The pit is the product not just of Parliament's adversarial architecture, but of the electoral system that supports it.  The Members of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons, the elected and more powerful of Parliament's two chambers, are the individuals who won the largest share of the vote in each of 650 constituencies.  This winner-takes-all system, is know as "First Past The Post" (FPTP), took its current form in 1885.  By its nature, FPTP squashes small political parties; the dynamics of what political scientists call "Duverger's Law" doom them to irrelevance or merger, a process that will reliably lead to duopolies on power.

Defenders of FPTP argue that by giving voters two broad parties to choice between, instead of a plethora of more focused ones, it delivers durable single-party governments rather than flimsy coalitions.  This allows governments to do more and lets voters hold parties to account for either doing or not doing in office what they promise to do at elections.

The system's detractors say that disenfranchising people who vote for small parties is a price that outweighs these purported benefits.  And this problem has recently been getting worse.  The general election to be held on May 7th will see some widely popular parties winning very few seats, but it is quite unlikely to produce a strong single-party government.  If increasing costs in fairness offer fewer compensating benefits, both Britain's people and its politicians may decide it is time for a change.

The most two-party election held since FPTP took its modern form was in 1951.  Labour received 49% and Conservatives received 48%.  it was a time when class loyalty trumped almost all other concerns.  A study of Labour supporters found only a third held political views vaguely resembling the party's; the rest voted for it because their families, neighbors and work related friends did.  At the other end of the scale the Conservatives was the only game in town.

Now voters do not feel so constrained.  There is the UK Independence Party (UKIP), left-nationalist Scottish National Party (SNP), and the left-some-what-libertarian Greens.  All told, UKIP, the SNP, and the Greens, got one in 18 voters in the 2010 election.  Some polls put the figure today at 1 in 3 voters.

Party activist are redesigning their canvassing sheets to accommodate newly nuanced voting intentions.  A number of previously safe seats are up for grabs, not because they will be lost to the new parties, but because the new parties will eat into past margins of victories.  Some predict a "lottery election" in which small shifts in the vote will make big differences in the Commons.  The complexity is in part a reaction to Britain's first coalition government in 70 years, which has left its members with, weakened flanks.

The Conservatives have lost right-wing voters to UKIP.  The Lib Dems have lost some more left-wing voters to the Greens and Labour.  Labour, for its part, has seen its support in Scotland plummet after campaigning against independence in last September's referendum.  Stagnant living standards, blamed by each of the major parties on the other, have fueled a "stuff the pair of them" attitude which benefits the minor parties.

A related trend is that voters expect more from politics.  They are more used to "shopping around" in their everyday lives.  But where supermarkets offer wider choices and better value, politics does not.  The differences between parties seem to many be harder to see.  FPTP means that many politicians hardly even need to try and sell themselves.  In 69% of seats the incumbent has a majority of 10 percentage points or more; in those seats only half the voters had any contact with a politician in 2010.  Voters paid no heed and the big parties returned the favor.

The most significant trend is a change in the shape of politics.  A two-party system works best when debates can be collapsed on to a single axis, say from command-and-control economics to free markets.  Such a one-dimensional scheme does ever less justice to how people think.  But class has lost salience, cultural issues have increasingly taken its place as a way to defining people's politics.  This has been helped along by the unusually large gulf in the experiences of younger voters and older ones that has come with the huge expansion of higher education over the past decades.

James Tilley, an Oxford academic, has argued for a while that Britain's political maps are increasingly in need of a libertarian-authoritarian axis to supplement the old left-right economics axis.

Will the three parties make that change possible on May 7, 2015, to elect the 56th Parliament of the United Kingdom?











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Chicago Voters Endorse Campaign Finance Reform


Chicago voters endorsed by a wide margin Tuesday a plan to institute public campaign financing and limit outside contributions.

The ballot measure, though non-binding, begins a process that will now move to city and state government, where legislation would be drafted.

The Ballot Referendum asked whether the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois should “reduce the influence of special interest money in elections by financing campaigns using small contributions from individuals and a limited amount of public money,” and voters signaled yes by a 58-point margin, 79 percent to 21 percent.

The “small donor matching” system proposes to provide public money to match small contributions by individual donors — a plan proponents say will weaken the power of special interest money, open the pool of candidates to average citizens and restore faith in an election process seen by voters as controlled by a wealthy few.











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A New Reason for Alternatives to Runoff Elections


One of the most disruptive features of the 2014 election cycle was a result of a court ruling that in order to allow overseas soldiers enough time to vote in congressional and presidential primaries, and if needed runoff elections, absentee ballots would need to be provided 45 days prior to these elections (UOCAVA).

Following the judge’s ruling, legislature passed bills to move primary elections and if needed runoff elections.  But it turns out some runoff elections are so late, that overseas voters miss out.

On Tuesday, a district court in Georgia ruled that the 45-day transmittal requirement applies to runoff elections for federal office, and that the runoff election schemes violated UOCAVA.  After the district court had issued its ruling and after the briefs in this appeal were filed, the Georgia Legislature passed H.B. 310, which in relevant part amends Georgia’s election calendar and voting procedures to comply with the 45-day transmittal requirement.

We will have to see how other states handle this problem.

What I find interesting, is states that follow the congressional law to the letter, and will not change their state election dates to accommodate the UOCAVA law.

Rank-Choice voting will eliminate the need for run-offs as well as reduce a states cost to run elections.











NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker Technorati talk bubble Technorati Tag in Del.icio.us Digg! StumbleUpon