January 16, 2016 |
Since the Supreme Court's infamous Citizens United decision in 2010, several hundred million dollars in fingerprints-free contributions have helped elect candidates favored by the superrich and special interests. Safely hidden from the public, these transactions have bought influence without risking blowback from voters. The secret money flows through a clandestine pipeline known as "social welfare" groups. A bizarre provision in U.S. law allows these grossly misnamed groups to accept secret donations and use the money to sway elections.
November 17, 2015 |
In apparent desperation after winding up at the kids' table in the last Republican presidential debate, Gov. Christie doubled down on his campaign to shamelessly pander to the radical right by adding to New Jersey voters' frustration. In a rare visit to Trenton, Christie vetoed a bill that would expand early voting and allow online and automatic registration, saying it would upend the current early-voting system and cost the state $25 million. Maybe his presidential campaign's troubles inspired Christie to kick up his misleading rhetoric.
September 6, 2013 |
Ellen Kaplan delivered a blunt message Wednesday to members of a presidential blue-ribbon panel on election reform. The 2012 vote in Philadelphia was a "national embarrassment" spoiled by massive confusion, partisanship, and mismanagement, said Kaplan, policy director of the watchdog group Committee of Seventy. She pointed to numbers such as the 26,986 provisional ballots cast, more than 12,000 of them by registered voters who should have been allowed to use voting machines, and almost 100 Republican poll inspectors who "were not permitted to sit" by their Democratic counterparts and had to get court orders.
May 10, 2013 |
TRENTON - Saying the measure would overwhelm local election workers, Gov. Christie vetoed Thursday a bill that would have required polls to open two weeks before Election Day. The bill won final passage in the Assembly on March 21. It would have required that each county open a limited number of polling places in advance of the election. Democrats touted the measure as a way to increase voter participation; Republicans panned it as a costly initiative that would add little in the way of expanded access for voters.
December 3, 2012 |
ON ELECTION DAY, millions of Americans stood in long lines at crowded polling stations to exercise their right to vote. Although most were ultimately able to cast a ballot, the long lines were a disgrace. As President Obama said that night, "We have to fix that. " I spent Election Day helping to field calls from voters across the country on behalf of the Election Protection Coalition, which runs the nation's largest non-partisan voter-protection hotline. I also monitored the election process and its problems throughout the lead-up to Nov. 6. These are the key takeaways.
August 8, 2012
By Jonathan Zimmerman Once upon a time, American elections were rife with corruption. Party bosses bought votes with strong drink and cold cash, or stuffed ballot boxes with bogus names. Then along came the good-government reformers who cleaned up our democracy with new election laws and regulations. That's the story we all learned in high school. And it's true, up to a point. But it leaves out a crucial fact: Those measures also sought to bar certain people from the polls. The goal of election reform wasn't simply a clean vote; it was also to keep out the "wrong" kind of voter.
November 3, 2010
DID YOU VOTE YESTERDAY? Did you want to? There's no reason that any citizen should answer "No" to the first question and "Yes" to the second. A democratic society should make voting as easy and accessible as possible. The last time we checked, Pennsylvania was still a democratic society. And yet the state seems less than fully invested in making the levers of democracy available to its citizens. Some people don't vote because they don't care, or they think voting makes no difference, or they don't like any of their options.
September 23, 2008
WE NEED election reform, and we need it fast! Not tomorrow, not the next day, but right now. We need laws that have teeth. We want to know what you are going to do for us, not what the other guy did or didn't do. Talk about yourself, and your plans, not what your opponent does (or what you'd have us believe he or she did). Let him or her tell us what their plans are, not what you think they are. Tell us what your agenda is, and don't tell us what your opponent is going to do or not do. Anyone who talks trash about his or her opponent should be immediately banned from further campaigning.
May 14, 2007 |
AS CONCERNED citizens, we believe that the recent developments in this primary election call for a thorough and comprehensive review. Some of the very initiatives and institutions established to reform the election process and ensure an open and fair election have in effect altered and manipulated the process, resulting in an election that continues to disappoint concerned citizens and voters. Philadelphians passed campaign-finance laws that targeted pay-to-play. The goal was well-intentioned - but, in actuality, these laws have not adequately addressed all situations.
May 3, 2007 |
Mayoral candidate Tom Knox yesterday unveiled his "reform ticket" in partnership with Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell - the only City Council member to vote against ethics reform. Knox - a businessman who has fashioned himself as an anti-corruption, anti-nepotism outsider - saw nothing incongruous in joining forces with Blackwell, an insider who inherited her political power from her spouse and stood alone in City Council two years ago to oppose campaign-finance limits. "We want to reform city government, and she's the best one to do it," said Knox, who said he would support a Blackwell bid to become president of City Council.