Sunday, November 07, 2004

More on Ballot initiatives

A great link for ballot initiatives - http://www.iandrinstitute.org/ - you can click on "Statewide I and R" from the top menu, and then choose a state from the dropdown on the left. For example I looked at Nevada and found that their rules on ballot initiatives are that you need to gather a number of signatures equalling 10% of the registered voters (or maybe it's registered voters who voted in the last election), and you cannot start gathering until September of the year prior to the initiative (e.g. Sep 2004 for the Nov 2005 ballot). All those gathering signatures must be Nevada residents. If an iniative with enough signatures is presented to the Secretary of State, then the SoS notifies the legislature which has an up or down vote on the initiative. If it passes then it's done. If it fails, then it goes to the ballot.

I do think that we can come up with 2 or 3 initiatives that would pass in most states and would make the process more inherently fair. First is gerrymandering, Second is paper trails. The third that I've heard mentioned is a requirement that the number of voting machines per precinct be proportionate to the population in that precinct and the time it takes the average voter in that precinct to vote. This due to the Ohioisms where machines in Democratic areas registered on order of 60 votes per machine per day, and machines in Republican areas registered on order of 150 votes per machine per day - with 40+ questions and races on the ballot it took slower readers more time to vote. Hence 10-hour long lines. Didn't help that they opened polls late, "ran out of pencils" and closed polls for random reasons throughout the day in Ohio in the Democratic districts.

Point being that we need to get fairness written into law in order to blunt the inevitable cheating by the Republican party.

-Fred

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