Sunday, February 12, 2006

Let's talk about election reform

Are you in favor of it? What would you like to see changed?


Blogger LCNdiva said...

I _was_ all excited about the clean elections (public campaign financing) bill (HR 4694) being put forward on the Hill.

Let me just start by saying please do not take this as an attack on Dems by any means. I am just saying this is not the best way to pursue Clean Elections. We have them here in Maine and they are one of the main reasons a Green was able to be elected to our State legislature. They are also the reason why a lot of regular people rather than just the moneyed and well-connected have been able to run and win seats in the House here. This is _very_ important when it comes to our policy-making because it means our Reps do not have to feel beholden to campaign contributors. So if you have an interest in helping Congress truly reflect our nation's population by lessening the number of millionaires and CEOs on the Hill please contact the sponsors of this Bill and let them know you appreciate their efforts but would like to see some changes.


"Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin and Sen. Chris Dodd, the ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee, said yesterday that they will push for public financing of federal elections.

The revelations follow public financing proposals that two senior House Democrats unveiled late last month.

Rep. David Obey (Wis.), the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Barney Frank (Mass.), the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, announced Jan. 25 plans to reform dramatically the funding of House campaigns. Under their proposal, taxpayers would be asked to contribute voluntarily to a national campaign fund."

"The bill would effectively eliminate virtually all congressional campaigns by independent and third-party candidates.

The bill, HR 4694, would provide public financing for both Democrats and Republicans in most districts. But Ballot Access News reports that candidates not qualifying for funding would not only receive no government funds, but would also be barred from spending any privately raised money. No government money and no private money means that a non-qualifying candidate would be prohibited from spending any money at all, not one red cent. Not even a business card with the candidate’s name and office sought would be legal under the bill!

Requirements for qualifying for funding would be relatively easy for the major parties but almost impossible for independent and third-party candidates. The bill would provide public funding for nominees of parties that had averaged 25% of the vote for U.S. House in that district over the last two elections. Independent candidates who had averaged 25% would also get full public funding, but unlike party candidates, only the specific individual who previously got those votes would qualify. All others would be required to submit petitions signed by 20% of the last vote cast for full funding, and 10% for partial funding. For example, in Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, a candidate with a party that won less than 25% of the vote in the last two elections would need nearly 70,000 signatures to qualify for the public funding that her/his Democratic and Republican opponents would get automatically, and only signatures from the 2nd District would count. Nearly 35,000 signatures would be required in order to allow the candidate to spend anything at all on the campaign.

In certain districts where a single party is dominant, the bill would eliminate campaigns by the district’s second party as well. Not surprisingly, Democrats (who propose this bill) hold Republican opponents to below 25% in more districts than Republicans do the same to Democrats. If the bill were law today, a Republican campaign in Lacy Clay’s 1st District would be illegal without a massive petition drive. In Roy Blunt’s 7th District, Democrats would be less than a percentage point away from the same fate."

5:58 AM  

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