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Tag: Referendum (page 1 of 2)

Something Fishy in South Carolina Referendum

By: Chandler Crenshaw

Fish Sandwich

Picture Source Credit: Here

Concern of voter intimidation is not a novelty in politics. When elections may be close, supporters of a proposition may sometimes attempt to influence the election by giving voters an incentive to go to the ballot box for their cause. When these types of allegations occur, they often cause the people to view election results as “fishy”. In South Carolina, a recent school board referendum in Laurens County, situated in the northwest corridor of the state, was fishy. Rather, while the election results were not close, opponents of a failed tax referendum were accused of influencing voters by offering free fish sandwiches to those who voted. Continue reading

MD: Online Petitions and E-Signatures

The rapid rise and evolution of the internet has fundamentally altered many aspects of our modern life.  The way we interact with each other, the way business is conducted, and even the way we get our news and information has been changed by the internet and social media’s ability to instantly connect us to almost anyone in the world.  Ideas can be shared, opinions voiced, and issues discussed with both friends and strangers alike through the stroke of a key.  We now have the ability to connect with others and find common cause over issues and ideals that once would be barred by geographic limitations on communication.  Computers are being made smaller, faster, and even being integrated into wearable objects like watches and glasses so we never have to be too far from the internet.  The ability to reach millions of people instantly is being utilized in new and different ways by groups trying to disseminate their ideas and promote their agendas.  How far should the amazing new ability for every individual to voice his or her opinion on the internet stretch into the realm of election law?

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District of Cannabis: Legislative Tampering in the Nation’s Capital

By: Randolph Critzer

The nation watched last November as the District of Columbia passed an ordinance legalizing marijuana for private use. The ordinance, passed by referendum, was voted into effect on November 4th, 2014, and went into effect this past February. This creates a bit of a confusing situation for D.C., which, unlike the other 4 jurisdictions that have legalized the drug, still sits at the end of Congress’s leash.

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Nebraska’s Death Penalty Saga: Referendum on the Plains

By: Eric Sutton

Background and the Referendum Process

            On Wednesday, May 27th, 2015, the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature eliminated capital punishment through LB 268. The bill was approved over a veto by Governor Pete Ricketts, by a no-votes-to-spare 30-19 margin, and marked the end of State Senator Ernie Chambers’ 39-year effort to end the death penalty in Nebraska. The repeal made Nebraska the first conservative state to eliminate capital punishment in more than 40 years. However, immediately after the repeal, State Senator Beau McCoy, a conservative, expressed his frustration over the vote and announced his intent to pursue a ballot initiative to reinstate the death penalty. Less than one week after the repeal and Sen. McCoy’s statements, a group named Nebraskan’s for the Death Penalty (“NFDP”) filed the appropriate paperwork with the Secretary of State to reinstate the death penalty by referendum.

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MD Court: Dream Act Referendum Appropriate, Not Appropriation

by Anna Killius

In the 97 years since Maryland amended its constitution to allow for referendums, citizens have successfully put legislation to a popular vote only 13 times. Often, petitions failed to collect the necessary number of validated signatures, but the modern use of online petitions has facilitated the collection of signatures, accounting for up to 40% of those validated by the state Board of Elections. Consequently, Maryland citizens will soon have the opportunity to vote on three referendums, an unprecedented number, targeted at defeating the expansion of in-state tuition coverage, gay marriage equality, and a congressional redistricting plan. Proponents of the challenged measures have turned to the courts in an effort to prevent the referendums from reaching the November ballot. Continue reading

Montana to vote on Supreme Court justice elections

by Elderidge Nichols

On April 18, 2011, the Montana state legislature passed SB 268 which calls for a referendum vote to determine the future of elections for the Montana Supreme Court.  On June 5, 2012, on the 2012 Primary Election Ballot, voters in Montana will determine whether Montana will begin to elect Supreme Court justices by districts.

Although the Montana state senate passed SB 268 the Attorney General’s office and Secretary of State are statutorily obligated to approve of the language of the Statement of Purpose designed to explain the purpose of the referendum.  Andrew Huff, Assistant Attorney General of the state of Montana, passed along a copy of the accepted language. The Statement of Purpose reads:

The Montana Supreme Court is composed of seven justices, one of whom is Chief Justice. Under current law, the justices are elected statewide and each Montanan votes for all seven positions. LR-119 would change existing law so that each justice is elected from one of seven districts of approximately equal population, with the Chief Justice then chosen from the seven by majority vote of the justices. Only Montanans living in each district would vote for their district’s justice. Justices must reside in their district when initially elected. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

Emanuel got the green light for candidacy: Rahm Emanuel can run for Chicago mayor, after a unanimous decision by the Illinois Supreme Court. The Court found that he meets the residency requirements because he paid taxes and maintained a residence he planned to use as his permanent residence–even though he rented it out–in Chicago while working in the White House.

Every vote counts in Ohio: A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on January 27 that ballots improperly cast because of errors by poll workers must be counted in the judicial election in Hamilton County. Although the exact number of ballots that must now be counted is unknown, Democrats claim it could be in the hundreds. Republican John Williams currently leads by 23 votes.

Is there a fight brewing over Fair Districts in Florida?: In one of his first acts as governor, Rick Scott withdrew the request to the Justice Department to approve the redistricting amendments passed by voters in November. The amendments are also currently being challenged in court in a lawsuit filed by two U.S. Representatives from Florida.

Can a Tempest, a Tea Party Make?

The teapot is still boiling briskly in the City of Falls Church, a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., over recent changes in the regulations governing municipal elections. By a 4-3 vote in January 2010, the then Mayor and City Council was successful in changing city elections from even-numbered years in May to odd-numbered years in November. Appropriately, the City submitted the change to the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, for review and clearance as required by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Department subsequently reviewed and approved the change. The result is that, during the transition years, Council-Member terms will be shortened by six months. Then, in the May 2010 election, a major shakeup in the government occurred. The new Mayor, Nader Baroukh, a former City Council member who opposed the change, along with re-elected City-Council-members who were also opponents, is making efforts to “undo” the changes and to submit the matter to the citizens of the City in a referendum. Predictably, many residents of the City are hopping mad.  Continue reading

Getting Carded: The Debate over Voter ID Law in Oklahoma

On November 2, Oklahoma voters will confront a long list of state referendum items on which they may vote “yes” or “no.”  Second on the list—tucked between per-student educational spending and revised term limits—is State Question 746, which proposes to amend the state’s voter identification requirements.  Supporters tout the measure as a necessary and low-maintenance way to keep state elections honest.  After all, we require a photo ID for any number of mundane daily transactions, like writing a check or boarding an airplane.  However, a small but impassioned group of opponents argues that while seemingly harmless, in reality the voter ID requirement is the partisan enactment of a runaway legislature, and it threatens the most basic of Oklahomans’ constitutional protections.

If Oklahomans vote “yes” on State Question 746, then effective on July 1, 2011, every person appearing to vote in Oklahoma must first present (1) a state, tribal, or federal government-issued photo ID or (2) a voter identification card issued by the County Election Board.  All government-issued photo IDs must have expiration dates, and must not be expired on the date of the election, except for some identity cards issued to people over 65.  These requirements would apply to all in-person voting, including in-person absentee voting. Continue reading

Yes/No, No/Yes: Two California Redistricting Bills Compete for Votes

Source: California Voter Foundation

Last Sunday, two competing editorials were published in the San Francisco Chronicle discussing two proposed redistricting bills in California, Proposition 20 and Proposition 27.  Both propositions focus on changing the Congressional redistricting process.  Proposition 20 would give the task to the Citizen Redistricting Commission, which already draws the lines for the legislative districts.  Proposition 27 would have the Legislature do it, but impose public oversight and strict guidelines on the process.  The editorials dealing with these propositions took opposite views: Daniel Lowenstein of UCLA supported Proposition 27, saying it would reduce the cost and create equal districts; Alice Huffman, president of the NAACP, argued that Proposition 20 would prevent districts from being drawn for the benefit of politicians.  Both disagreed strongly with the claims in the other.

So who’s right and who’s wrong?  As is usually the case, the answer is not black and white.

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