Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jerome Block and our broken electoral system

The untold story of the Jerome Block scandal is how he came to be elected in the first place. While the major media focuses on his immaturity and dereliction of duty, you won't see much mention of our broken electoral system.

First, Jerome won his Democratic Party primary with a mere 20% of the vote. That is right, four out of five Democrats voted for someone other than Jerome in June 2008. Whatever happened to majority rules?

Then, it comes to light that Jerome had illegally spent public campaign funds, in two instances--one, by donating public money to another candidate (Hillary Clinton), and two, by giving money to San Miguel County Clerk Paul Maes for a supposed performance by a band at a rally that never took place. A small fine was imposed, but no further repercussions.

Finally, the sraight party ballot option put him over the top in the general election. Its defenders say it is a convenience to voters, but the fact is that 5 out of 13 county clerks (all Democrats) misinformed the press (and presumably voters) about whether a voter could vote straight party in general but change votes in certain races, when asked about it by the SF Reporter.

Voting Matters has been out in front on all three of these issues for years--by advocating for Ranked Choice Voting in party primaries and all elections with more than two candidates, by advocating for Public Campaign Financing and strict enforcement of violations, and by advocating for the elimination of the straight party ticket in general elections.

Our elections are broken, and as a result, our democracy is broken too. Let's hope the powers that be feel the pressure from we the people so that we can create the government and democracy that is our birthright.

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