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For Governors in G.O.P. Slots, a Liberal Turn

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/20/us/politics/20centrists.html?ei=5065&en=d83dbd2467aeac2e&ex=1159416000&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print September 20, 2006 For
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 20, 2006
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      http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/20/us/politics/20centrists.html?ei=5065&en=d83dbd2467aeac2e&ex=1159416000&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print

      September 20, 2006
      For Governors in G.O.P. Slots, a Liberal Turn
      By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

      LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19 — Here are the things that Gov.
      Arnold Schwarzenegger will be bragging about on the
      campaign trail: an initiative to lower greenhouse
      gases with the onus on big companies, a $1 increase in
      the state’s minimum wage and a program to open up
      access to prescription drugs.

      Mr. Schwarzenegger, who six months ago fashioned
      himself a Republican reformer bent on hobbling
      entrenched Democratic institutions, is not just
      tolerating positions generally associated with liberal
      candidates. Rather, he is using them as the
      centerpiece of his re-election campaign, marking the
      first time in a generation that a Republican governor
      here has clung to the left during a re-election fight.

      The strategy is not unique to Mr. Schwarzenegger’s
      campaign. Across the nation’s 36 races for governor,
      Republican candidates in states heavy with moderate or
      Democratic voters are playing up their liberal
      positions on issues including stem cell research,
      abortion and the environment, while remaining true to
      their party’s platform on taxes and streamlining
      government.

      In Massachusetts, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who is
      seeking to fill the seat that will be vacated by Gov.
      Mitt Romney, has openly split with Mr. Romney on
      abortion rights and stem cell research; her views are
      shared by the Republican candidate for governor in
      Illinois, Judy Baar Topinka, who also supports civil
      unions for same-sex couples.

      In Maryland, the Republican incumbent, Robert L.
      Ehrlich Jr., is pushing for increasing state aid for
      programs for the disabled and imposing tighter
      restrictions on coal-fired plants; the Republican
      governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, opposes the death
      penalty. In Connecticut, Gov. M. Jodi Rell also parts
      ways with the Republican Party on civil unions and
      financing for stem cell research.

      Governing Republican and campaigning Democratic is not
      a new technique; George E. Pataki, the New York
      governor, has made a career winning elections as a
      Republican in a mostly Democratic state. But political
      experts say that the strategy is particularly
      pervasive this year, as Republicans seek to distance
      themselves from an unpopular president and to respond
      to what is widely recognized as polarization fatigue
      among many voters.

      “The conservative side of Republican party has been so
      dominant in recent years that we haven’t seen a lot of
      this phenomenon at work until this year,” said Bruce
      E. Cain, the director of the Institute of Governmental
      Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

      Now, Mr. Cain said, the easiest way for Republicans to
      “stay competitive is to take deviations from the
      standard G.O.P. lines.”

      In many ways, the strategy reflects the dynamics of
      local contests, in which voters are willing to
      overlook the party affiliation of a candidate if they
      believe he stands with them on one or two important
      issues, or pushes through policies that are inherently
      nonpartisan and that will improve their daily lives.

      “The ideology that binds Republican governors is
      getting things done for their constituents,” said
      Philip A. Musser, the executive director of the
      Republican Governors Association. “From the broadest
      perspective, voters in these races go into the booth
      caring less if governor is pro life or pro choice and
      more about whether he is going to reduce their
      property taxes or make their life easier at the
      D.M.V.”

      Unlike other campaign seasons, when a popular
      president has been an asset to local politicians, many
      candidates this year are trying to distance themselves
      from President Bush, either by staking out ground in
      contrast to him or, as is the case with Mr.
      Schwarzenegger, treating the president like a
      communicable disease.

      Democratic candidates across the country have
      responded by constantly reminding voters of their
      opponents’ conservative leanings, wherever they exist,
      and trying to tie them as much as possible to the
      White House.

      In recent months, Mr. Schwarzenegger has gone out of
      his way to point out where he differs with the
      president — stem cell research and the role of large
      companies in creating heat-trapping gases like carbon
      dioxide — and to openly criticize the White House
      order to police the Mexican border with National Guard
      troops.

      When Mr. Bush visited California last spring, the
      governor made sure they were scarcely seen together.

      On the legislative front, after a humiliating defeat
      last year of his ballot initiatives designed to take
      power from nurses and teachers, Mr. Schwarzenegger
      leapt in the opposite direction this summer.

      With the Legislature, he signed off on laws imposing
      the country’s most stringent controls on
      carbon-dioxide emissions, raising the minimum wage $1
      — after vetoing a similar measure twice before — and
      helping low-income Medicare beneficiaries to pay for
      prescriptions.

      His campaign tour bus is painted green, along with the
      vaguely preservationist phrase “Protecting the
      California Dream,” as his slogan.

      His campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, suggested that
      this was business as usual for Mr. Schwarzenegger,
      who, he said, “doesn’t rule out ideas just because
      they came from someone from another party.’’

      “In every poll across the country what voters say they
      yearn for is politicians in both parties to stop
      fighting,’’ Mr. Schmidt said, “The one person in the
      country who is doing that is Governor Schwarzenegger.”

      The Democrat who wants to unseat the governor, Phil
      Angelides, has spent the better part of the last few
      months trying to remind voters that Mr. Schwarzenegger
      is a Republican through and through, who supported the
      war in Iraq, the president who ordered it and many
      right-of-center policies.

      “Two months of pretending to be a Democrat doesn’t
      make him a Democrat,” said Amanda Crumley, the
      communications director for the Angelides campaign,
      with a certain amount of fury in her voice. “Just like
      he has done for the last three years, if he is
      re-elected, which he won’t be, he will continue to
      govern like the Bush Republican that he is.”

      While Mr. Schwarzenegger’s behavior may seem like pure
      survival tactics in the deep woods of one of the
      nation’s bluest states, other recent Republican
      governors in California have sought to accentuate
      their conservative leanings.

      Pete Wilson, who was governor for most of the 1990’s,
      supported a ban barring state services for illegal
      immigrants, capitalizing on anger over illegal
      immigration to win re-election, and his predecessor,
      George Deukmejian, won the ardor of suburban voters by
      presenting himself as tough as nails on crime.

      Each state race has its own quirks and circumstances,
      but the song remains the same in many of them. In the
      Republican primary in Illinois, Ms. Baar Topinka, the
      state treasurer, was criticized by opponents for her
      support of same-sex unions. She nonetheless prevailed
      in that race.

      In some states, however, it is a matter of survival.

      Mr. Ehrlich of Maryland has not had much success with
      his legislature, and he talks openly about his more
      liberal positions.

      “He is a centrist Republican running in a state with
      heavy Democratic majority,” said James G. Gimpel, a
      professor at the University of Maryland. “So the
      reality of re-election suggests that he has to do
      that. There aren’t enough Republicans to elect him in
      this state even if they all turned out.”
    • THOMAS JOHNSON
      History has taught us that all great nations decline at some point, and I can think of nothing that would help usher in America s descent than the loss of
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 24, 2006
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        History has taught us that all great nations decline
        at some point, and I can think of nothing that would
        help usher in America's descent than the loss of voter
        confidence in the integrity of their vote. I am one of
        the 20%, who felt that the 2000 and 2004 elections did
        not reflect the intent of the voters, and I am
        somewhat heartened that the press is beginning to
        report on the issue:

        From this morning's NY Times:

        WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A growing number of state and
        local officials are getting cold feet about electronic
        voting technology, and many are making last-minute
        efforts to limit or reverse the rollout of new
        machines in the November elections.

        Less than two months before voters head to the polls,
        Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. of Maryland this week
        became the most recent official to raise concerns
        publicly. Mr. Ehrlich, a Republican, said he lacked
        confidence in the state’s new $106 million electronic
        voting system and suggested a return to paper ballots.

        Dozens of states have adopted electronic voting
        technology to comply with federal legislation in 2002
        intended to phase out old-fashioned lever and
        punch-card machines after the “hanging chads”
        confusion of the 2000 presidential election.

        But some election officials and voting experts say
        they fear that the new technology may have only
        swapped old problems for newer, more complicated ones.
        Their concerns became more urgent after widespread
        problems with the new technology were reported this
        year in primaries in Ohio, Arkansas, Illinois,
        Maryland and elsewhere.

        This year, about one-third of all precincts nationwide
        are using the electronic voting technology for the
        first time, raising the chance of problems at the
        polls as workers struggle to adjust to the new system.

        “I think there is good reason for concern headed into
        the midterm elections,” said Richard F. Celeste, a
        Democrat and former Ohio governor who was co-chairman
        of a study of new machines for the National Research
        Council with Richard L. Thornburgh, a Republican and
        former governor of Pennsylvania.

        “You have to train the poll workers,” Mr. Celeste
        said, “especially since many of them are of a
        generation for whom this technology is a particular
        challenge. You need to have plans in place to relocate
        voters to another precinct if machines don’t work, and
        I just don’t know whether these steps have been
        taken.”

        Paperless touch-screen machines have been the biggest
        source of consternation, and with about 40 percent of
        registered voters nationally expected to cast their
        ballots on these machines in the midterm elections,
        many local officials fear that the lack of a paper
        trail will leave no way to verify votes in case of
        fraud or computer failure.

        As a result, states are scrambling to make last-minute
        fixes before the technology has its biggest test in
        November, when voter turnout will be higher than in
        the primaries, many races will be close and the threat
        of litigation will be ever-present.

        “We have the real chance of recounts in the coming
        elections, and if you have differences between the
        paper trail and the electronic record, which number
        prevails?” said Richard L. Hasen, a professor at
        Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and the author of the
        Election Law blog, www.electionlawblog.org.

        Professor Hasen found that election challenges filed
        in court grew to 361 in 2004, up from 197 in 2000.
        “What you have coming up is the intersection of new
        technology and an unclear legal regime,” he said.

        Like Mr. Ehrlich, other state officials have decided
        on a late-hour change of course. In January, Gov. Bill
        Richardson of New Mexico decided to reverse plans to
        use the touch-screen machines, opting instead to
        return to paper ballots with optical scanners. Last
        month, the Connecticut secretary of state, Susan
        Bysiewicz, decided to do the same.

        “I didn’t want my state to continue being an
        embarrassment like Ohio and Florida every four years,”
        said Mr. Richardson, a Democrat, adding, “I also
        thought we needed to restore voter confidence, and
        that wasn’t going to happen with the touch-screen
        machines.”

        In Pennsylvania, a state senator introduced a bill
        last week that would require every precinct to provide
        voters with the option to use paper ballots, which
        would involve printing extra absentee ballots and
        having them on site. A similar measure is being
        considered on the federal level.

        In the last year or so, at least 27 states have
        adopted measures requiring a paper trail, which has
        often involved replacing paperless touch-screen
        machines with ones that have a printer attached.

        But even the systems backed up by paper have problems.
        In a study released this month, the nonpartisan
        Election Science Institute found that about 10 percent
        of the paper ballots sampled from the May primary in
        Cuyahoga County, Ohio, were uncountable because
        printers had jammed and poll workers had loaded the
        paper in backward.

        Lawsuits have been filed in Colorado, Arizona,
        California, Pennsylvania and Georgia seeking to
        prohibit the use of touch-screen machines.

        Deborah L. Markowitz, the Vermont secretary of state
        and the president of the National Association of
        Secretaries of State, said that while there might be
        some problems in November, she expected them to be
        limited and isolated.


        “The real story of the recent primary races was how
        few problems there were, considering how new this
        technology is,” said Ms. Markowitz, a Democrat. “The
        failures we did see, like in Maryland, Ohio and
        Missouri, were small and most often from poll workers
        not being prepared.”

        Many states have installed the machines in the past
        year because of a federal deadline. If states wanted
        to take advantage of federal incentives offered by the
        Help America Vote Act, they had to upgrade their
        voting machines by 2006.

        In the primary last week in Maryland, several counties
        reported machine-related problems, including computers
        that misidentified the party affiliations of voters,
        electronic voter registration lists that froze and
        voting-machine memory cards whose contents could not
        be electronically transmitted. In Montgomery County,
        election workers did not receive access cards to
        voting machines for the county’s 238 precincts on
        time, forcing as many as 12,000 voters to use
        provisional paper ballots until they ran out.

        “We had a bad experience in the primary that led to
        very long lines, which means people get discouraged
        and leave the polls without voting,” said Governor
        Ehrlich, who is in a tight re-election race and has
        been accused by his critics of trying to use the
        voting issue to motivate his base. “We have hot races
        coming up in November and turnout will be high, so we
        can expect lines to be two or three times longer. If
        even a couple of these machines break down, we could
        be in serious trouble.”

        Problems during primaries elsewhere have been equally
        severe.

        In the Illinois primary in March, Cook County
        officials delayed the results of the county board
        elections for a week because of human and mechanical
        problems at hundreds of sites with new voting machines
        made by Sequoia Voting Systems.

        In the April primary in Tarrant County, Tex., machines
        made by Hart InterCivic counted some ballots as many
        as six times, recording 100,000 more votes than were
        cast. The problem was attributed to programming
        errors, not hacking.

        In the past year, the Government Accountability
        Office, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York
        University and the Congressional Research Service have
        released reports raising concerns about the security
        of electronic machines.

        Advocates of the new technology dispute the
        conclusions.

        “Many of these are exaggerated accusations by a
        handful of vocal activists,” said Mark Radke, director
        of marketing for Diebold Election Systems, one of the
        largest sellers of touch-screen machines. “But if you
        want to talk about fraud and tabulation error, the
        newer technology is far more accurate.”

        Mr. Radke cited a study from the California Institute
        of Technology that found that between the 2000
        election, when touch-screen machines were not used,
        and the 2004 election, when they were, there was a 40
        percent reduction in voter error in Maryland, making
        the vote there the most accurate in the country.

        “There is always the potential for human error,” Mr.
        Radke said, “but that is easily correctible.”

        But critics say bugs and hackers could corrupt the
        machines.

        A Princeton University study released this month on
        one of Diebold’s machines — a model that Diebold says
        it no longer uses — found that hackers could easily
        tamper with electronic voting machines by installing a
        virus to disable the machines and change the vote
        totals.

        Mr. Radke dismissed the concerns about hackers and
        bugs as most often based on unrealistic scenarios.

        “We don’t leave these machines sitting on a street
        corner,” he said. “But in one of these cases, they
        gave the hackers complete and unfettered access to the
        machines.”

        Warren Stewart, legislative director for VoteTrustUSA,
        an advocacy group that has criticized electronic
        voting, said that after poll workers are trained to
        use the machines in the days before an election, many
        counties send the machines home with the workers.
        “That seems like pretty unfettered access to me,” Mr.
        Stewart said.

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        --- Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...> wrote:

        >
        http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/20/us/politics/20centrists.html?ei=5065&en=d83dbd2467aeac2e&ex=1159416000&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print
        >
        > September 20, 2006
        > For Governors in G.O.P. Slots, a Liberal Turn
        > By JENNIFER STEINHAUER
        >
        > LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19 — Here are the things that
        > Gov.
        > Arnold Schwarzenegger will be bragging about on the
        > campaign trail: an initiative to lower greenhouse
        > gases with the onus on big companies, a $1 increase
        > in
        > the state’s minimum wage and a program to open up
        > access to prescription drugs.
        >
        > Mr. Schwarzenegger, who six months ago fashioned
        > himself a Republican reformer bent on hobbling
        > entrenched Democratic institutions, is not just
        > tolerating positions generally associated with
        > liberal
        > candidates. Rather, he is using them as the
        > centerpiece of his re-election campaign, marking the
        > first time in a generation that a Republican
        > governor
        > here has clung to the left during a re-election
        > fight.
        >
        > The strategy is not unique to Mr. Schwarzenegger’s
        > campaign. Across the nation’s 36 races for governor,
        > Republican candidates in states heavy with moderate
        > or
        > Democratic voters are playing up their liberal
        > positions on issues including stem cell research,
        > abortion and the environment, while remaining true
        > to
        > their party’s platform on taxes and streamlining
        > government.
        >
        > In Massachusetts, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who is
        > seeking to fill the seat that will be vacated by
        > Gov.
        > Mitt Romney, has openly split with Mr. Romney on
        > abortion rights and stem cell research; her views
        > are
        > shared by the Republican candidate for governor in
        > Illinois, Judy Baar Topinka, who also supports civil
        > unions for same-sex couples.
        >
        > In Maryland, the Republican incumbent, Robert L.
        > Ehrlich Jr., is pushing for increasing state aid for
        > programs for the disabled and imposing tighter
        > restrictions on coal-fired plants; the Republican
        > governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, opposes the death
        > penalty. In Connecticut, Gov. M. Jodi Rell also
        > parts
        > ways with the Republican Party on civil unions and
        > financing for stem cell research.
        >
        > Governing Republican and campaigning Democratic is
        > not
        > a new technique; George E. Pataki, the New York
        > governor, has made a career winning elections as a
        > Republican in a mostly Democratic state. But
        > political
        > experts say that the strategy is particularly
        > pervasive this year, as Republicans seek to distance
        > themselves from an unpopular president and to
        > respond
        > to what is widely recognized as polarization fatigue
        > among many voters.
        >
        > “The conservative side of Republican party has been
        > so
        > dominant in recent years that we haven’t seen a lot
        > of
        > this phenomenon at work until this year,” said Bruce
        > E. Cain, the director of the Institute of
        > Governmental
        > Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
        >
        > Now, Mr. Cain said, the easiest way for Republicans
        > to
        > “stay competitive is to take deviations from the
        > standard G.O.P. lines.”
        >
        > In many ways, the strategy reflects the dynamics of
        > local contests, in which voters are willing to
        > overlook the party affiliation of a candidate if
        > they
        > believe he stands with them on one or two important
        > issues, or pushes through policies that are
        > inherently
        > nonpartisan and that will improve their daily lives.
        >
        > “The ideology that binds Republican governors is
        > getting things done for their constituents,” said
        > Philip A. Musser, the executive director of the
        > Republican Governors Association. “From the broadest
        > perspective, voters in these races go into the booth
        > caring less if governor is pro life or pro choice
        > and
        > more about whether he is going to reduce their
        > property taxes or make their life easier at the
        > D.M.V.”
        >
        > Unlike other campaign seasons, when a popular
        > president has been an asset to local politicians,
        > many
        > candidates this year are trying to distance
        > themselves
        > from President Bush, either by staking out ground in
        > contrast to him or, as is the case with Mr.
        > Schwarzenegger, treating the president like a
        > communicable disease.
        >
        > Democratic candidates across the country have
        > responded by constantly reminding voters of their
        > opponents’ conservative leanings, wherever they
        > exist,
        > and trying to tie them as much as possible to the
        > White House.
        >
        > In recent months, Mr. Schwarzenegger has gone out of
        > his way to point out where he differs with the
        > president — stem cell research and the role of large
        > companies in creating heat-trapping gases like
        > carbon
        > dioxide — and to openly criticize the White House
        > order to police the Mexican border with National
        > Guard
        > troops.
        >
        > When Mr. Bush visited California last spring, the
        > governor made sure they were scarcely seen together.
        >
        > On the legislative front, after a humiliating defeat
        > last year of his ballot initiatives designed to take
        > power from nurses and teachers, Mr. Schwarzenegger
        > leapt in the opposite direction this summer.
        >
        > With the Legislature, he signed off on laws imposing
        > the country’s most stringent controls on
        > carbon-dioxide emissions, raising the minimum wage
        > $1
        > — after vetoing a similar measure twice before — and
        > helping low-income Medicare beneficiaries to pay for
        > prescriptions.
        >
        > His campaign tour bus is painted green, along with
        > the
        > vaguely preservationist phrase “Protecting the
        > California Dream,” as his slogan.
        >
        > His campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, suggested that
        > this was business as usual for Mr. Schwarzenegger,
        > who, he said, “doesn’t rule out ideas just because
        > they came from someone from another party.’’
        >
        > “In every poll across the country what voters say
        > they
        > yearn for is politicians in both parties to stop
        > fighting,’’ Mr. Schmidt said, “The one person in the
        > country who is doing that is Governor
        > Schwarzenegger.”
        >
        > The Democrat who wants to unseat the governor, Phil
        > Angelides, has spent the better part of the last few
        > months trying to remind voters that Mr.
        > Schwarzenegger
        > is a Republican through and through, who supported
        > the
        > war in Iraq, the president who ordered it and many
        > right-of-center policies.
        >
        > “Two months of pretending to be a Democrat doesn’t
        > make him a Democrat,” said Amanda Crumley, the
        > communications director for the Angelides campaign,
        > with a certain amount of fury in her voice. “Just
        > like
        > he has done for the last three years, if he is
        > re-elected, which he won’t be, he will continue to
        > govern like the Bush Republican that he is.”
        >
        > While Mr. Schwarzenegger’s behavior may seem like
        > pure
        > survival tactics in the deep woods of one of the
        > nation’s bluest states, other recent Republican
        > governors in California have sought to accentuate
        > their conservative leanings.
        >
        > Pete Wilson, who was governor for most of the
        > 1990’s,
        > supported a ban barring state services for illegal
        > immigrants, capitalizing on anger over illegal
        > immigration to win re-election, and his predecessor,
        > George Deukmejian, won the ardor of suburban voters
        > by
        > presenting himself as tough as nails on crime.
        >
        > Each state race has its own quirks and
        > circumstances,
        >
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