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AZ redistricting will be coming soon

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  • Dr Barbara Klein
    Consider this if you will. As folks around our nation will be discussing redistricting in the next couple of years (after the census is completed), one of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2009

      Consider this if you will.  As folks around our nation will be discussing redistricting in the next couple of years (after the census is completed), one of the only ways to overcome the MAJOR problems of this 'art' is to use proportional representation (PR).  Evidently the current scandals in UK are focusing attention on this (and with the use of a ranked voting systems and multi-member districts).  It is getting LOTS of attention right now.  I have included here a linked article from the Guardian and many responses below.  Personally, I feel this should be important to all of us who believe that each vote should actually be counted AND count.  Most of you in the 'third parties' (sorry Korky) are caught more in the situation of not having a vote that counts than even the two 'major' parties.   Ranked Choice Voting in single districts (aka Instant Runoff Voting) is great and a step in the right direction.  BUT it is only PR accomplished by redistricting that can produce a real democracy.   You might like to see what those in UK are currently saying. (Below)


      Barbara Klein

      Chairman, FairVote AZ


      http://www.guardian .co.uk/politics/ 2009/jun/ 02/letters- democracy- electoral- reform

      Finding the best route to better democracy
      The Guardian, Tuesday 2 June 2009
      Faced with a growing demand for electoral reform, it was inevitable that the old guard of small "c" conservatism would be stirred to action. Peter Hain (It's as easy as 1,2,3, 29 May) and David Blunkett (PR is a recipe for feebleness, horse-trading and stitch-ups, 29 May) have joined David Cameron in talking reform, but opposing the one reform that could make a real difference.

      Hain offers his same old arguments, ignoring the evidence of experience. His preferred system, the alternative vote, would undoubtedly be better than our first-past-the- post system, but it could easily lead to an even less representative Commons. It would not get rid of safe seats and so would do little to improve the accountability of MPs or make the Commons more effective in holding the government to account.

      As Hain argues, list PR systems shift the accountability of politicians from electors to parties: that is why the Electoral Reform Society, unlike Hain, opposed the choice of such a system for the Euro elections in 1998. But no serious reformer is seeking a list system for Commons elections. Single transferable vote, as acknowledged by the government's own review of systems, does most to improve proportionality and voter choice; but even AV-plus, as recommended by the Jenkins commission, offers voters choice among the regional list candidates.

      "PR is a recipe for weak government," claims David Blunkett. The right reform would give us strong government - not one with the dubious strength of an undeserved majority of seats, but a government with a strong democratic mandate.
      Ken Ritchie
      Chief executive, Electoral Reform Society

      David Blunkett's rhapsody about the value of single-member constituencies reflects the role they play in rooting MPs to their electorate. But they don't do much to link voters to MPs. I doubt if many people in Sheffield Brightside could trace the boundaries with the Hillsborough or Central seats, regularly redrawn between elections; it's hardly logical that the Hillsborough stadium is in the Brightside constituency. They know that Blunkett is a Sheffield MP, and one of its most effective representatives in parliament. So why not elect the city's MPs from a city-wide constituency?
      William Wallace
      House of Lords

      In all this talk of change, no one has mentioned the elephant in the room. Under our unwritten constitution, no parliament can bind its successor. No matter what laws this parliament decrees the next one can change them.

      That is why Nick Clegg is right to say that parliamentary and electoral reform must precede the next election. Can anyone seriously believe that a victorious Conservative party, elected under first-past-the- post, is going to take any notice of a referendum on electoral reform, that it will in any event have campaigned against? It is only if the next election produces a government that is seen as representative of the people and legitimate that we will see confidence restored in the political process. MPs going a little late for their holidays is a small price to pay to restore faith in our democracy.
      Dr Michael Taylor
      Senior lecturer in Politics, Leeds Trinity and All Saints

      Peter Hain must know very well that the "AV-plus system of PR devised by the Jenkins commission does not have any of the disadvantages he attributes to PR generally. It is simple and clear, and around 85% of MPs would be elected by constituency. In fact, it's based on his beloved alternative vote system - it just has the vital extra advantage that the result isn't a gross distortion of the electorate's wishes as both simple AV and first-past-the- post are.

      Both the 1997 promise to hold a referendum and the Jenkins plan are still on the table. This is the moment to bring them forward and transform both Labour's prospects and our politics.
      Professor Ron Glatter
      Hemel Hempstead , Hertfordshire

      With all the recent demands for a referendum on changing the voting system for Westminster elections, it is interesting to note that evidence from British Social Attitudes surveys conducted in recent years show that a greater proportion of respondents agree - at least in principle - with the idea that seats in the House of Commons should be matched more closely to parties' vote shares.

      In 2005, around 45% supported PR, a fifth were neutral, and about 17% were opposed to the idea. The remainder could not choose either way. Much information would need to be provided in any wider debate about the implications of PR for how Britain is governed. It remains to be seen whether future polling data show similar proportions in favour of PR, especially in the context of mainstream politicians' fears over the chances for fringe parties to gain greater representation under any new voting system.
      Ben Clements
      Research associate, University of Birmingham

      I come from Dublin , and grew up and voted under PR, which was bequeathed to Ireland by the British when they left in the hope that it would produce weak government. This was not the case as the two main parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, remained and have been in government or opposition for many years. If they did not win a sufficient majority, inevitably deals had to be made with smaller parties. Despite evidence to the contrary David Cameron also refuses to consider PR as a viable voting system. PR does need a literate electorate as more choices are involved.
      Valerie Brayden

      The Scandinavian countries, which are consistently doing better than the UK , all have PR in some form or another.
      Inger Mehlsen
      Lowestoft, Suffolk

      ############ #####
      http://www.ft. com/cms/s/ 0/7bceaf34- 4f0c-11de- 8c10-00144feabdc 0.html

      Not so complicated

      Published: June 2 2009, Financial TImes

      From Lord Wallace of Saltaire

      Sir, The suggestion that Alan Johnson’s preference for voting reform is “a complicated version called Alternative Vote Plus” might usefully have added that this is the current German voting system (May 26). If it’s not too complicated for Germans to understand, it should not be too difficult for the British.

      William Wallace,
      House of Lords






      Dr. Barbara Klein

      The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works....President Obama 




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