Monthly Archives: May 2005

“Ending the Gerrymander Wars”

The NY Times offers this editorial. A snippet: “National standards are needed that would require every state to draw Congressional districts in a way that put the voters’ interests first. Representative John Tanner, a Tennessee Democrat, introduced a bill last week that would do just that. His bill would create nonpartisan redistricting commissions in every state. The commissions would be prohibited from taking the voters’ party affiliations or voting history into account when drawing lines. Instead, the bill would emphasize continuity of counties, municipalities and neighborhoods. The bill would also limit Congressional redistricting to once every 10 years.”

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Will Miami Get Rid of Its DRE Voting Machines?

A.P. offers this report, which begins: “Miami-Dade County’s elections chief has recommended ditching its ATM-style voting machines, just three years after buying them for $24.5 million to avoid a repeat of the hanging and dimpled chads from the 2000 election. Elections supervisor Lester Sola said in a memo Friday that the county should switch to optical scanners that use paper ballots, based on declining voter confidence in the paperless touch-screen machines and quadrupled election day labor costs.” Meanwhile, Cook County Illinois is going from punch cards to optical scans. See here.

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“Subtle product plugs seen in governor’s TV ad”

John Marelius writes in the San Diego Union Tribune that in Gov. Schwarzenegger’s recent television commercial on his ballot measure agenda, “Prominently displayed on the table are bottles of Arrowhead water and Diet Pepsi. In the background are packages of Cheetos, Sun Chips and Ruffles, all Pepsi products and potential targets of Schwarzenegger’s call to ban the sale of “junk food” on school campuses.” Check out the picture accompanying the article.

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Treglia Responds

In a letter to the editor to the journal, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Sean Treglia responds to an article by William A. Schambra (of the Hudson Institute), In a World of Bloggers, Foundations Can Expect More Scrutiny on the so-called “Pewgate” incident. Anyone interested in this issue really must read both pieces. Here is a snippet from Treglia: “Some will continue to argue that the bloggers promoting the theories of conspiracy and cover-up are journalists. In my opinion they are not. They remind me of the lonely misanthropic men I see on the beach where I live each morning with metal detectors and headphones combing for hidden treasure buried just beneath the surface of the sand. Occasionally they raise their voice to interact with civilized society by shaking around a bag full of dented old cans and worthless rusted slugs claiming in some incoherent manner that they found treasure that no one else was crafty enough to locate. Of course, we all know the bag is filled with garbage. Just like the noise being made by some bloggers about my remarks.”
Responses to Treglia at the Democracy Project and Ryan Sager. Link via Mike Krempasky.

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“Clinton Fund-Raiser Acquitted of Concealing Costs”

The Los Angeles Times offers this report, which begins: “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s former national campaign finance chief was acquitted today of charges that he concealed the costs of a glitzy Brentwood fundraiser from the Federal Election Commission. Jurors found David Rosen not guilty of failing to report more than $700,000 in costs for the fundraiser, attended by President Clinton, his wife and an A-list of Hollywood stars on the eve of the 2000 Democratic National Convention.”

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“Campaign Limit Advances”

The Sacramento Bee offers this report, which begins: “The Assembly passed legislation Thursday to limit the sums that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other state politicians can raise for ballot-measure committees they control. AB 709, by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis, would not take effect unless it passes the Senate, is signed by the governor and is approved by state voters.” In somewhat related news, A.P. reports Arnold Raises $2 Million Out of State.

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Experiment in Enabling Comments

In the last two posts, you will see that I have enabled comments. By clicking on comments at the bottom of the post, you can add your own thoughts on one of my posts. I plan to do this from time to time, if I find that the comments are being used productively and that the discussion remains civil. (I reserve the right to delete comments I believe are unproductive or uncivil.)
For those who read my blog posts on the election law listserv, it will be necessary to visit the blog to post a comment.

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Election Law Cases I Am Watching for Possible Eventual Decision by the Supreme Court

With the Supreme Court having issued its decision in Clingman v. Beaver, I thought it would be useful to list election law cases I’m watching for eventual resolution by the Supreme Court:
Landell v. Sorell This is the Second Circuit case that strongly suggests candidate expenditure limits may be consistitutional, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Buckley v. Valeo. Plaintiffs recently filed a cert. petition. My earlier coverage is here.
Wisconsin Right to Life This is the “as-applied” challenge to the corporate expenditure limits in BCRA. This case is on appeal to the Supreme Court, so the Court eventually will have to rule, either summarily or by setting the case for argument. I predict a summary affirmance, with some dissents. My earlier coverage is here.
The Florida felon disenfranchisement case There is a split between the circuits over whether a ban on felon disenfranchisement violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act given a racially discriminatory effect. I had wrongly predicted the Supreme Court would take either the case from the Second or Ninth Circuits. Now the Eleventh Circuit has sided with the second in Johnson v. Bush in holding there is no VRA violation. You can find my earlier coverage of on the Florida case here. I don’t believe a petition for cert has been filed yet.
The Texas Re-redistricting cases A three judge court in Texas heard arguments in the Texas re-redistricting case on January 21. The delay likely means there will be more than one opinion. This case will eventually be appealed to the Supreme Court, where we might then learn whether there will be a standard that a Court majority will embrace to judge when partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional. How might that happen? Justice Kennedy might make up his mind, or one of the members of the plurality (Rehnquist, O’Connor, Scalia, and Thomas) could retire, to be replaced by a Justice who would take a different position on these issues. My earlier coverage is here.
Any other cases we in the election law field should watch closely? I have enabled comments.

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