Saturday, January 04, 2014

Election Day in Iowa City

Most of the civilized world, other than America, votes on the weekend. The good news is Iowa City made an exception today and had an election. The bad news is only seven people got to vote for mayor - because Iowa City, perhaps unique in the state, has the council and not the voters choose the mayor. The worse news is Matt Hayek got re-elected.

And only six voters actually voted because Jim Throgmorton, bless him, abstained and said the voters should choose the mayor instead. Iowa City is getting ready for its every ten years charter review and I am absolutely serious about applying for the charter review commission. If appointed, at the first meeting I pledge to tear up a copy of the old charter.

So how do we increase voter turnout, other than letting voters actually vote? The Brennan Center For Justice has a long read, a 44 pager, on improving the voting system. For the record, I REALLY hate reading documents in little Scribd windows. especially pdfs. At least this one isn't scanned. In my perfect universe everything's in plain ASCII text. Anyway, the tl'dr version:
  • Modernizing voter registration;
  • Expanding early voting;
  • Improving management of polling place resources; and
  • Improving the simplicity and usability of ballots and voting machines, and publishing data on machine performance.
Of course, all these assume that your goal is increasing turnout and participation - and in this political climate, that's not a given. Mr. Schultz, should we increase the debt ceiling? "Voter ID."

Brian Beutler has the most important take yet on the Duck Dynasty flap:
Robertson isn’t a politician. He’s not a mouthpiece for a political party that needs to maintain a national brand identity. Rather, his remarks reflect the views of an American cultural subset the GOP depends on for its survival.

You won’t hear a lot of Republicans saying these things so plainly. But a lot of Republicans believe them. The GOP’s key dilemma right now is that it has to be a party for people like Robertson without letting people like Robertson speak for them.
And Which President Had the Worst Year 5? Tough call but I'd have to say Lincoln and McKinley.

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