Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election Day

Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians.
~Chester Bowles

'Tis true. It never ceases to amaze me how many Americans take voting for granted, especially after seeing the great lengths the Iraqi and Afghanistan people have gone to in order to vote.

There aren't any "big" elections being decided in my district today, but there are five VERY interesting state-wide election reform issues.

1. Jobs and Roads.
It would authorize spending $2 billion on rebuilding roads, expanding scientific research, and attracting new employers. The money will be raised by issuing bonds, not by raising taxes. Those for the issue believe it will attract new jobs, which will pay off the bonds. Those against it point to the fact that there is already $240 million in unused, yet allocated, funds aimed at rebuilding Ohio's infrastructure.

My stance: It authorizes the issuance of bonds- it does not mandate their issuance. This means that if the money is needed to attract employers and improve roads, the state can raise the money by selling bonds. I see no problem with this.
My vote: YES

2. Absentee voting.
It would allow any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot by mail or in person up to 35 days before the election. It also allows "An elector to whom a ballot has been mailed, but which has not been received by the issuing county board of elections prior to the election, may cast a provisional ballot on election day. If the elector’s first ballot is received by the tenth day following the election, the provisional ballot shall not be counted."

My stance: It opens the door to voter fraud. They are saying that you can cast an absentee ballot early, BUT if your absentee ballot hasn't been received by election day, you can ALSO cast a provisional ballot on election day? Holy smoke. How in the helk do the plan on regulating that?
My vote: NO WAY

3. Campaign finance reform.
Issue three will lower individual contributions to local, state, and national political campaigns, AND ban corporate contributions to political parties.

My stance: Opponents of this issue claim that it will allow wealthy candidates to move unlimited personal funds to their campaign, giving them an unfair advantage over those with less personal wealth. Proponents believe it will limit the amount of influence large contributors have over the politicians. I am a proponent of this issue. By lowering the amount individuals can contribute to campaigns, and eliminating corporate donations, we are putting the campaign back in the hands of the candidates.
My vote: YES

4. Redistricting
Right now, the Ohio General Assembly draws up congressional districts. The state legislative districts are drawn up by a board which includes the governor, the secretary of state, the state auditor and one additional Democrat and Republican. This issue would change who decided upon districts by changing the members of the commissions. The new commission would include a Democrat and a Republican chosen by a judge from each party. The other three members of the commission would be chosen by those two representatives.

My stance: What this will do is allow a judge from each major party to appoint their own representatives to the commission. I understand that the current system would include three publically elected officials, and two who aren't necessarily publically elected. It would appear to me that by allowing judges to choose the initial members of the commission, and then those two members get to select the remaining three, we are opening the door for favoritism. The current system seems much more equitable to me.
My vote: NO

5. Who runs elections.
This was a HUGE issue during the last presidential election in Ohio. Currently the secretary of state is ultimately responsible for running the elections in Ohio- including settling any disputes that arise in local county boards of elections. The new system would eliminate this responsibility from the secretary of state's duties, and would place this job in the hands of a nine-person nonpartisan commission. Four members would be appointed by the governor, four by members of the state Legislature who are not of the same party as the governor, and the final member would be chosen by unanimous vote of the Ohio Supreme Court. This board would then hire someone to supervise elections.

My stance: Being a democracy has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage being an equal voice. One disadvantage being too many equal voices. By allowing a 9-member nonpartisan (yeah, RIGHT) commission to hire someone to run the elections, we are just adding unnecessary steps (and salaries) into the election process.
My vote: NO


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