04 November 2005

State Issue Endorsements

Issue 1: NO

The goals of Issue 1 are worthwhile: high-tech job creation, economic development and university R&D. So how did it end up as mostly another corporate welfare program? Probably because it has some of Taft’s genes.

Issue 2: NO

This bill is not the answer to long voting lines; better (and fairer) election management is (see Issue 5). Furthermore, I share the concern that expanding early voting concomitantly expands opportunities for fraud and error. It might be a case of one step forward and two steps back.

I also don’t understand why this requires a constitutional amendment and not just a law.

Issue 3: YES

Of course Ohio needs campaign finance reform. After passing last year’s insulting House Bill 1 that blatantly skewed campaign rules to favor one party and their special interests (see this article), reform is badly needed to level the playing field. The special interests’ campaign to defeat Issue 3 ignores its background and grabs at air with moot talking points about out-of-state money.

Again, I don’t understand why it has to be a constitutional amendment instead of a law, but the need for campaign finance reform is so critical that this just has to be done. It’s been one corruption story after another this entire year. It’s ridiculous and embarrassing that Ohio’s government is characterized by corruption, and we should take this opportunity to change that.

Issue 4: NO

This was a tough one. The benefit is that this issue will take redistricting out of the hands of politicians and into those of an independent commission’s. Politicians should not be in charge of drawing their district lines because they have a conflict of interest. The formula authorized by this issue to create more competitive districts is a better system.

But the disadvantage is that the formula only takes into account the two major parties. I view this as a serious disadvantage because the two-party duopoly stifles the marketplace of ideas and produces worse government than is otherwise possible. It is critical that third parties and independents acquire a greater presence in government, and this bill does not allow that.

Once again, if this issue were a law, then I would probably vote ‘yes’ because I think it would be easier to diversify the political marketplace under a competitive-districting system than the current "self preservation-" districting system, and it would be easier in the future to amend legislation than to amend (again) the constitution. But making it an amendment is too much.

Issue 5: YES

The Secretary of State is in charge of election oversight, and that means there is a clear conflict of interest for him to also be in charge of a campaign. I would never have expected that anyone would actually have the sass and/or poor judgment to actually do this, but that was before Ken Blackwell. Let’s not have any more of that nonsense.


E Goods said...

In regards to Issue 4, 2 parties are better than 1. Right now, every congressional district is a one-party monopoly where the elected officials do not have to be responsive to the voters. The real race is in the primary, which results in part diehards picking the candidates and basically pushes the 2 parties further apart from each other while in reality most voters are moderates.

Issue 4 would create better races and result in a better democracy.

How would one draw lines that would benefit 3 parties? Instant runoff voting is the only thing i can think of.

I say YES of Issue 4

Anonymous said...

My wife picked up an absentee ballot last week in Franklin County. No ID required- just name & address and she walked out with an absentee ballot. Because all voter registration information is conducted at the county level (and probably should be), there simply aren't enough checks in the system to capture the type of fraud that would occur if Issue 2 passes.

WestEnder said...

RE: Issue 4

As I understand it, the formula maps districts on the basis of competitiveness, which it defines as 50/50 Dem/Repub.

The formula does not need to use party affiliation to determine competitiveness. It can use geographic and socioeconomic factors, for example. In fact, it might be preferable to use something other than a political characteristic.

I don't buy the point of 2 parties vs. 1 party. I think if districts became close to 50/50, you'd just see the two parties become more similar. It would turn into Coke vs. Pepsi. Both companies have similar market share but spend billions so you'll buy their product, even though it's 99% the same as the other one.

Issue 4 may increase competition in the short term, but in the long term it would prevent it. And constitutional amendments are intended for the long term. That's why I'd vote for it as a law but not as an amendment.

E Goods said...

So if both parties to driven to the center and become very similar to each other, as you say would happen if Issue 4 passed, doesnt this make it more likely for a 3rd party to emerge as a constrast to the 2 centrist parties?

WestEnder said...

I did not say they'd be driven to the center. I said they'd become similar, and the way in which they would become similar is that both parties would essentially serve corporate special interests. I think this is inevitable because campaign finance laws (Ohio House Bill 1, e.g.) were written by corporate lobbyists. So naturally, the rules favor their clients.

The campaign finance system is specifically designed to favor well-funded candidates, and those are the ones backed by corporate money. Once elected, they certainly aren't going to bite the hand the feeds them-- quite the opposite. It doesn't take much perspicacity to see that most of our politicians suckle at the corporate teat.

Campaign finance reform (Issue 3) will do more to increase competition than Issue 4, which is why I'm voting YES on 3.

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