Saturday, March 28, 2015

Legislature adjourns without passing any election related bills

As expected, last Saturday when the legislature adjourned, they did so without sending any electoral reforms to the governor.

Frankly, there was little hope that anything good would come of the session from the get-go.

A couple of good bills were introduced, like Carl Trujillo's Resolution to create an independent redistricting commission, and Peter Wirth's attempt to expand the public campaign financing system to include legislative candidates. but neither of these even made it out of its first committee.

Bills to allow election day voter registration and permitting parties to invite independents to vote in primaries also both failed. Only a bill cleaning up voter registration procedures made it through.

Noticeably absent this year were bills clarifying new minor party and candidate filing deadlines (currently a new party and all of its candidates must file on the same day). Nor did the legislature address municipalities who want to use Ranked Choice Voting but cannot get compatible voting machines and software.

And we are probably waiting in vain for the state legislature to look into moving to a truly representative democracy by switching to proportional representation, or to enfranchise every citizen through a system of universal representation, as Oregon just moved towards doing.

With the legislature adjourned, the next few posts will look specifically at low voter turnout, and ways that our country could reclaim the mantle of world's greatest democracy by turning these abyssmal figures around.

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