Anna Sale is the host and managing editor of Death, Sex & Money, WNYC’s interview show about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation.
The Process is Political: Obama Campaign Opposes Ohio Early Voting Changes
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Our daily look at the details that can change everything.
Obama Campaign Mobilizes Against Ohio Election Changes: Obama's campaign staff is bolstering a petition effort in Ohio to block enforcement of a law that shortens Ohio's early voting period, moves Ohio's primary up from May to March, and eliminates "the so-called 'golden week' during which people could register to vote and cast ballots on the same day," reports and moved next year's presidential primary to May from March," reports Ohio political reporter Marc Kovac. Republicans backed the bill and Governor John Kasich signed it, arguing that it was needed to make rules more uniform across counties.
"If even one eligible Ohio voter can't cast a ballot in November, 2012, because of these new rules, because the lines were too long or they couldn't get off work to make it to the polls in time, we'll be asking ourselves if we did enough to prevent it from happening," Obama's state director in Ohio Greg Schultz wrote in an email to supporters.
Ohio Republican Party chairman Kevin DeWine countered that the campaign's opposition has have more to do with preserving Obama's political advantage.
"The Obama re-election machine sees an opportunity to suppress the votes of suburban and rural counties where Republicans typically fare better than Democrats," DeWine told the Toledo Blade. Thirty percent of Ohio's votes in 2008 were cast early. If opponents to the law don't collect more than 230,000 signatures, the law is set to go into effect on September 30. (Toledo Blade)
We Did Redistricting Right in California!: So says the Democratic commissioner of the new California Citizens Redistricting Commission in an op-ed in the LA Times. The commission was made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and four who weren't members of either party.
"We were 14 strangers united only by a desire for good government," writes Cynthia Dai, who is also CEO of a San Francisco high-tech consulting firm. "When we didn't get it quite right in our first draft maps, we heard about it from the public," she says, but they adjusted course. "In the end, Californians spoke up for their communities, and we commissioners listened, balanced disparate needs and followed the law. While outsiders were astonished at our collegiality, I was not surprised that in the end we achieved consensus around the vast majority of our decisions. Our commitment to a fair process trumped partisan allegiances."
Of course, not everyone agrees with Dai's assessment. The California Republican Party immediately challenged the new legislative and Congressional districts after the commission approved its plan earlier this month, and others have criticized the districts' "overrepresentation of whites." (LA Times)
Showing Us the (Local) Money: The National Institute on Money in State Politics has four new reports out this month on the amount of independent campaign spending in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and Alaska. Colorado, for example, had banned unions and corporations from direct spending on elections before the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision upended the money playing field.
After that decision, there was three times more independent spending in the state in the 2010 midterms than in 2008, when Colorado was a key presidential swing state. And it was up by 20 times since the 2006 midterms. The biggest independent spender was a group called, "Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government," a 527 group funded by oil and gas interests, pro-tort reform groups, the Republican State Leadership Committee. That group was only active in 2010, but still accounted for 35 percent of the independent spending in Colorado from 2006-2010. (National Institute on Money in State Politics)