calitics, david dayen on election reform

Ending The Special Election Merry Go-Round (+)

by: David Dayen

Wed Apr 01, 2009 at 16:19:55 PM PDT

Assemblyman Ted Lieu, who joined us at Calitics yesterday for an online town hall, has an op-ed with Gautam Dutta of the New America Foundation arguing for an election reform he will soon combine with a bill, to institute instant runoff voting for all special elections in California. 

Here’s the root of the problem. On March 24, 2009 barely 6 percent of registered voters showed up for a special election to fill a vacancy for California’s 26th Senate District. In an area with almost 1 million residents and 400,000 registered voters, only 23,000 civic-minded citizens decided who would replace former State Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas (newly elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors).How much did this special election cost? A whopping $2.2 million of our tax dollars – nearly $100 per voter – according to the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder / County Clerk.

Unfortunately, we’re not even close to being finished. Since no candidate won a majority, we must hold a second election that will cost even more money. Because this is a heavily Democratic district, it is certain the Democratic nominee, Assemblymember Curren Price, will win. Yet Mr. Price must wait two months for a second election before he can be sworn in as State Senator.

Far from being “special”, special runoff elections cost millions of tax dollars to administer – at a time when governments have been forced to lay off schoolteachers and workers.

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2 responses to “calitics, david dayen on election reform

  1. This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

  2. matt, thanks for stopping by. if you would like to join us, then please visit our facebook group and invite your friends.

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