Friday, August 27, 2010

Election Laws for the 21st Century

One of the great opportunities available to the State of Long Island is to set up our systems governing elections and political parties. While, we can't abrogate US Federal law, I think there is still a lot of power the State of Long Island could exercise.

Here are some ideas I'd like to see in our State Constitution:

1) A unicameral (one house) legislature with multiple member districts that is large enough to truly represent "we the people" and lean enough to get things done. An advantage to a unicameral legislature is that there would be no duplication of staff. With a bicameral legislature you have two of everything - lots of duplication. Also lots of cozy jobs for politicians and professional political operators and staffers.

2) Create ballot access laws that are fair, equal and equitable to all political parties. Whatever we do, we've got to attempt to ensure that we don't have a two-party duopoly controlled by one cabal as we do in New York City and New York State with the Republican and Democrat Parties. The threshold for ballot access should be relatively easy and simple. Yes, there will be some goof ball parties, but I think that is a small price to pay for political democracy and political choice.

3) Use Proportional Representation to fill seats in our State Legislature, which I will call the State Senate.

4) Use Instant-Runoff Voting for all elected positions in the State of Long Island.

5) In elections for President of the United States; use IRV to award our votes in the Electoral College according to the percentage of the popular vote in the State of Long Island.

6) Use IRV for elections for US House of Representatives and US Senate from the State of Long Island

I encourage us to consult with non-profit groups, academics and attorneys who have experience in electoral reform; among them are:

Fair Vote:

Free and Equal Elections Foundation:

Larry Sabato:

Professor Sabato is one of the leading experts on politics, elections and constitutions in the country. He is the Director at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Professor Rick Hasen of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles (CA)

 Professor Rick Hasen's Election Law BLOG

Professor Hasen has listed other sources on his BLOG as well.

I believe that one event we could plan for 2013 would be an event featuring these people and other experts to discuss the topic;

How to Create the 21st Century State - Promise and Hope for the 51st State of Long Island

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