Electoral Reform

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Electoral reform became a priority for Democrats and progressives after the 2004 Voting Irregularities. In 2005 several groups launched efforts at the state end federal levels to ensure voters that their ballots would count in future elections.

Contents

Federal initiatives

Democratic Senator John Kerry has made electoral reform a personal priority. [1] In February 2005 he co-sponsored a bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit certain State election administration officials from actively participating in electoral campaigns.

State initiatives

In There are groups attempting to amend flaws in the current electoral system by proposing new regulations at the state level, most notably in Ohio.

Ohio

In the Summer of 2005 a group called Reform Ohio Now gathered over 450,000 signatures from Ohio voters to propose a series of state constituitional amendments through a referendum in November 2005. The coalition's web site describes the amendments thusly:

  • Putting Ohio's process of determining legislative seats in the hands of an independent, non-partisan commission. Currently, politicians bicker over where seats should be based on their own political interests, creating districts that are uncompetitive and where the issues facing Ohio are rarely debated in elections.
  • Campaign finance reform for Ohio. The saturation of money into political campaigns is at an all time high. We propose reducing the maximum individual contribution to $2000 for statewide candidates and $1000 for General Assembly candidates. Corporate contributions would be prohibited, and loopholes allowing minors to make contributions would be tightened. This amendment also places overall limits on total contributions by an individual to all candidates and parties while limiting the amount parties can contribute.
  • Modernizing Ohio's election system. Ohioans deserve easy access to the polls, but often have difficulty finding it. This amendment would allow all Ohioans to vote by mail, if they choose to do so. An independent Board of Supervisors would oversee the conduct and administration of elections, ensuring access and fairness in elections.

On July 30, 2005, majority Republicans in the Ohio House attempted to pass legislation sponsored by Rep. Kevin DeWine blocking redistricting reforms before the 2008 elections. House leaders delayed the vote.

On August 4, 2005, a conservative group called Ohio First -- fronted by former Republican State Senate president and now lobbyist Richard H. Finan -- sued to block election reforms from reaching the November ballot. Don McTigue, legal counsel for Reform Ohio Now, called the lawsuit "nothing more than a shot in the dark hoping to hit a target." [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Foreign electoral reform

Activists on both the right and left sides of the Canadian political spectrum have united strategically on the issue of Electoral Reform. They advocate that the "First Past The Post" (FPTP) system be scrapped in favour of some version of Proportional Representation.

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