AP: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to Florida’s Amendment 6, added to the state constitution by voters to curb so-called gerrymandering of congressional districts that historically protected incumbents or gave advantage to the political party in power. the three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rebuffed claims by U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican, and Corrine Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat, that the power to change congressional redistricting rules resides solely with the Legislature and not the voters through a referendum.”
here, at HuffPo. Worth revisiting throughout the day.
There are countless ways the existing system of campaign finance should be reformed, but cleaning up Super PACs is an obvious first step. Congress should adopt common-sense rules that make terms like independence and coordination mean something. Super PACs that function as adjunct campaigns should be treated like what they are — and they should be subject to the same contribution limits as candidates. Putting candidates in charge of their own campaigns is the first step toward putting the public back in charge of democracy.
From an FEC filing for Colbert’s PAC:
January 31, 2012 Federal Election Commission 999 E Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20463 Re: Supplemental Memo To Disclosure Report Dear Sirs and Sirettes, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow (ABTT) would like it entered into the record that as of January 30th, 2012, the sum total of our donations was $1,023,121.24. Stephen Colbert, President of ABTT, has asked that I quote him as saying , ''Yeah! How you like me now, F.E.C? I'm rolling seven digits deep! I got 99 problems but a non-connected independent-expenditure only committee ain't one!'' I would like it noted for the record that I advised Mr. Colbert against including that quote. Sincerely, Shauna Polk Treasurer Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Inc. (via Brian Svoboda)
This item appears on the CLC Blog.
Martha Kropf and David Kimball have written this new book. Here is the description:
A repeat of the Florida debacle in the 2000 presidential election is the fear of every election administrator. Despite the relatively complication-free 2008 election, we are working with fairly new federal legislation designed to ease election administration problems. The implementation of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) raises the question, how effective have reforms been? Could another Florida happen?
Helping America Vote is focused on the conflict between values of access and integrity in U.S. election administration. Kropf and Kimball examine both what was included in HAVA and what was not. Widespread agreement that voting equipment was a problem made technology the centerpiece of the legislation, and it has remedied a number of pressing concerns. But there is still reason to be concerned about key aspects of electronic voting, ballot design, and the politics of partisan administrators. It takes a legitimacy crisis for serious election reforms to happen at the federal level, and seemingly, the crisis has passed. However, the risk is still very much present for the electoral process to fail. What are the implications for democracy when we attempt reform?
Can’t wait to read this!
The American Prospect reports.
NYT: “More than 40 years after the federal government enacted fair-housing legislation and the Great Migration of blacks from the South began to ebb, residential segregation in metropolitan America has been significantly curtailed, according to a study released Monday.”
As a reader pointed out to me, these trends could have important implications for redistricting under the Voting Rights Act.
The Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group has questions and answers.
Colbert raised some big bucks for his Super PAC.
The Guardian reports.