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Returning Democracy to Ohio Politics

Ohio’s electoral problem is based on the bipartisan collusion of a two-party system that makes it difficult for third parties, like the Libertarians and Greens, to get on the ballot.  The problem also stems from gerrymandered, uncompetitive legislative districts that favor incumbents and the party in power – whether Republicans or Democrats. I have fought to change this system for many years.  In fact, I was a plaintiff and sued the state of Ohio to try to get more competitive congressional districts after my 1992 Congressional race.

Another problem with Ohio’s electoral system is that while major party candidates are immediately certified for the ballot in Ohio, third party candidates are forced to turn their signatures in on May 1, and then wait for the Secretary of State to certify them.  In this case, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell is himself a candidate for Governor, and he does not have to certify the signatures I submitted on May 1 until July 15.   This waiting period is designed to make it difficult for any alternative voices or ideas to arise in the stagnant political cesspool of Ohio politics.

To clean up this mess in Ohio, we should have Instant Run-off Voting (IRV), where people can vote for a first choice and a second choice. If your first choice isn’t one of the top two candidates, then your vote would go to your second choice. This guarantees that the winner has support from more than 50% of the voters, and works well with a larger number of candidates.

Even better, Ohio needs a Parliament with proportional representation, like most democracies in the world. If the Greens get 10% of the vote, they get 10% of representation in the government.

Democratic Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland correctly criticized HJR 13, the Republican-sponsored re-districting proposal. Strickland took the right approach by insisting that competitiveness of the district should be first priority. It’s easy for him to say this now, since he’s running for a statewide office. I’m not sure he would feel that way if he was still running for Congress.

Democracy (with a small “d”) should always be the first priority, and should offer real alternative candidates and policies.

6 replies
  1. 48thRonin
    48thRonin says:

    The ironies are almost too much… Blackwell is deciding on whether Bob can be a candidate?!?

    Fellini should make this whole 2006 campaign into a movie.

  2. dael4
    dael4 says:

    What was/is the evolution of the existing parties and would there be too much change for the constitution if these things were made to happen?

  3. Dave Kovacs
    Dave Kovacs says:

    Since states have nearly power over their own elections, enacting things like Instant Run Off Voting would have virtually no effect on the US Constitution, at least if enacted on a local level first.

    The Constitution makes no mention of political parties, so increasing the number of viable parties (or getting rid of them all together!) would also require no constitutional action.


  4. Fidela
    Fidela says:

    Yeah, Blackwell gets to decide if Bob is allowed to ba candidate. Like he gets to decide who is going to be governor next, and, as I imagine, he decided who won the primary.

  5. General Rokoruta
    General Rokoruta says:

    I agree with everything being said here but would hasten to add that the proliferation of additional parties is no guarantee that there will be WORTHY candidates and parties for the voters to rally behind. Bob’s platform and that of the Green Party are generally the best thing we have going but the party itself is no less a manifestation of class myopia than either of the beligerant … er, uh “dominant” two. Well, on second thought that’s not quite true. The “leaders” of the Green Party are, indeed regular working folks – but then why doesn’t the party resonate with the African American, Latino/a, and labor constituencies? At a union rally not long ago I heard union leaders and rank-and-file activists talking about forming their own “Labor” party and on MLK day at the Bryden Rd. AME church there were Black activists talking about forming an African American party and at the recent immigrant rights rally in Phoenix, Arizona Latino/a leaders werte talking about resurrecting la Partida de La Raza Unida.
    The difference, at first glance it would seem is that there was no Green presence visable at either the Labor event or the immigrant rights event (despite the fact that the Greens positions on labor and immigrant rights issues are sterling). There were Greens at the MLK event but they were gathering ballot signatures. That’s a start, I guess.

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