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Clearwater City Council to appoint new city manager
wfla.com
Article
1577 chars
WFLA
Beth Rousseau
Newscatcher
The Clearwater City Council will meet Monday to address two topics that will affect the future of the city.
CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — The Clearwater City Council will meet Monday to address two topics that will affect the future of the city. According to the meeting’s agenda, councilmembers plan to appoint a new city manager and will also discuss adding ranked-choice voting to its elections. Jon Jennings is expected to step into the role that was previously held by city manager Bill Horne for more than two decades. Horne died unexpectedly on Sept. 3, weeks before his retirement. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack. “Bill led this city with incredible integrity, very responsible fiscally, responsible, the city is in marvelous shape,” Mayor Frank Hibbard told 8 On Your Side following news of his passing. Jennings was selected by councilmembers to fill the role. He had served as the city manager in Portland, Maine since 2015. Councilmembers will also discuss adding ranked-choice voting to its elections. The voting system was used in New York for elections in 2021. It lets voters list their most-preferred candidate to their least-preferred candidate. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the first choice spots, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Those ballots then go to the second-choice candidate. The process will repeat until there’s a clear winner. According to Ballotpedia, Sarasota has approved ranked-choice voting for their elections, but it’s not currently in use. MORE→
> 4 weeks
Sep 13, 2021

 
 
 
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Clear the Shelters, with Slime
wfla.com
Article
562 chars
WFLA
Wfla
BingNews
To adopt Slime, you can head to www.spcatampabay.org. For more information on Clear the Shelters, go to: www.wfla.com/cleartheshelters
Posted: Sep 13, 2021 / 09:56 AM EDT / Updated: Sep 13, 2021 / 09:56 AM EDT To adopt Slime, you can head to www.spcatampabay.org . For more information on Clear the Shelters, go to: www.wfla.com/cleartheshelters MORE→
> 4 weeks
Sep 13, 2021

 
 
 
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Close to home, a vote can make the difference
santafenewmexican.com
Article
253 chars
The Santa Fe New Mexican
BingNews
The city uses ranked-choice voting, so in all races with more than two candidates, voters can rank their choices, top to bottom. A winner emerges when one candidate gets a majority of the votes. Santa Fe Public Schools has two property tax issues to ... MORE→
5 weeks
Sep 12, 2021

 
 
 
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Politics and the City: Preliminary elections struggle to spark voter interest in key seats
telegram.com
Article
5693 chars
Telegram & Gazette
Steven H. Foskett Jr., Telegram & Gazette
BingNews
Politics And The City: Preliminary elections struggle to spark voter interest in important seats
and the City: Preliminary elections struggle to spark voter interest in key seats Among several interesting discussions at Thursday's District 5 candidate forum was a query about how to improve typically dismal turnout at preliminary elections in the city. It was a somewhat loaded question, but moderator and at-large Councilor Gary Rosen certainly wasn't wrong, and the four candidates vying for two seats heading into the Sept. 14 preliminary election certainly had some ideas. Yenni Desroches said the city should consider moving to a ranked-choice system that weighs voter preference, and should push for the voting age in local elections to be lowered to 16. Young people are engaged about their future in this city, she said. Etel Haxhiaj said voters feel disconnected from City Hall and need to be shown that their vote matters. Other initiatives, like early voting and her own campaign's outreach to voters in different languages, make a difference. Gregory Stratman said reaching people where they're at - on social media - is important, and Stephen Quist called ranked-choice voting a "solution in search of a problem" and said lackluster print media coverage has contributed to a lack of interest in the preliminary races. In addition to the District 5 contest, Tuesday's preliminary election will feature a runoff for the three-way District 1 race. District 1 incumbent Councilor Sean Rose is vying for a third term; he's on the ballot with city police sergeant and union leader Richard Cipro and Burncoat Street resident David Shea. In both races, voters will be asked to pick two candidates to move on to the November election. Early voting, so popular in the national election last year, is now a fixture of local elections, and was going on all last week for the the two seats in which the number of candidates - more than double the available seats - triggered the runoff. But did voters take advantage for the typically sleepy preliminary contests? Not in droves for this one, to be sure. City Clerk Nikolin Vangjeli said that as of around 1 p.m. Friday, the last day of early voting for the two council districts, around 300 people cast in-person ballots throughout the week. He said 152 absentee ballots had been returned as of Friday, out of 291 requested, and said 39 early voting by mail ballots were requested but not yet returned. Non-citywide preliminaries are a tough sell for casual voters and are inserted into the election cycle at an odd time at the end of the summer, just after school reopens and before a lot of people start paying attention to any sort of politics. Turnout numbers for recent elections don't exactly forecast a late night for election workers on Tuesday. In 2019, citywide preliminary contests for at-large City Council and School Committee involved 28 candidates and still only mustered an 8.7% turnout, with 8,736 votes cast. In 2017, District 1 and District 5 were also on the preliminary election ballot, with a total of eight candidates. Around 4,900 voters cast ballots in the two districts, for a turnout of around 10%. In 2015, another citywide preliminary mustered only 11.18% of registered voters. Tuesday will be the third non-citywide preliminary election since 2001. The Sept. 11, 2001, preliminary asked voters to whittle down the District 2 slate; despite the terrorist attacks that day, voting that had already started was not suspended. But only 1,890 people voted. Newcomer Philip Palmieri gobbled up 40% of the vote that day and went on to enjoy a 14-year stay in the District 2 seat. Whatever happens with turnout Tuesday, it won't be because of some tired old excuse that it doesn't matter who gets in there. The candidates offer different solutions for different problems, and they all have different visions for how they see Worcester moving forward. Perhaps reflecting the times we're in, the City Council has become divided on many issues in recent years. Depending on the outcome, Tuesday's results could certainly reshuffle some existing alliances and majorities on the council in very different directions. After Tuesday, all politically focused eyes will be on the November election. The next big date to keep an eye on is Sept. 21, which is the last day for at-large council candidates to withdraw their names from the mayoral contest. In Worcester, all at-large City Council candidates are automatically entered into the mayor's race, unless they withdraw. MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 11, 2021

 
 
 
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Lawmakers advance runoff election legislation
wyomingnews.com
Article
192 chars
Wyoming Tribune Eagle
Nick Reynolds Wyofile.Com Via Wyoming News Exchange
BingNews
Wyoming lawmakers advanced a proposal Thursday to shift the state’s elections to a runoff system. Conservative activists favor runoffs as a way to avoid the type of vote-splitting they believe
> 5 weeks
Sep 11, 2021

 
 
 
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Rank the Vote - Strengthening our democracy with ranked choice voting
youtube.com
Video
0:01:40
YouTube
Rank The Vote
BingVideo
RANK THE VOTE - Strengthening our democracy with ranked choice voting. We make it easy as 1-2-3 to build a statewide movement for RCV. Rank the Vote is a non-partisan, 501c3 non-profit organization formed to empower people across America to rapidly build grassroots movements for ranked choice voting in their own states, creating the ... MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 10, 2021

 
 
 
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How Would Yoda Vote? | Ranked Choice Voting Explained
youtube.com
Video
0:15:18
YouTube
Nerd Nite
BingVideo
Some U.S. cities and states are already using an alternative ballot that doesn't force voters to choose between their heads and their hearts. Could Ranked Choice Voting provide us more choices while turning down the temperature on our politics? The speaker, Eliza Harris Juliano, is a professional urban planner and has been active in nonprofit ... MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 10, 2021

 
 
 
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Do California Elections Need Ranked Choice Voting?
ivn.us
Article
1048 chars
IVN News
Shawn Griffiths
Newscatcher
At a time when ranked choice voting is having a moment, the group is set to officially launch on September 21 during an online Zoom event that is open to the public. Charron explains why more California cities and the state as a whole need ranked choice voting for their elections and the benefits it would bring to bolstering representation across sociopolitical demographics. The goal is twofold: (1) Work toward a statewide ballot initiative, but also to (2) help local RCV efforts in cities across the Golden State. Charron further explains the nonpartisan nature of ranked choice voting, which now has broad support across the political spectrum. Shawn is an election reform expert and National Editor of IVN. us. He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas. He joined the IVN team in 2012. Get our exclusive Nonpartisan Reform Report delivered to your inbox twice a month. MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 10, 2021

 
 
 
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Report: Trump to endorse GOP challenger to Cheney
whas11.com
Article
152 chars
WHAS11 News
BingNews
The endorsement marks Trump’s most significant to date as he works to maintain his status as GOP kingmaker and make good on his threat to exact revenge.
> 5 weeks
Sep 9, 2021

 
 
 
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Ranked choice public comment -city hall 9/8/21
youtube.com
Video
0:02:14
YouTube
Aidan Berg
BingVideo
My first public comment, I wanted to respond to some previous comments regarding ranked choice voting. Transcript: The past two meetings I have been to, there has been at least one person to speak against ranked choice voting. I found that interesting, and wanted to go home and get a coherent train of thought together to advocate in support of ... MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 9, 2021

 
 
 
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Learn about ranked choice voting at 'Rank Your Beer!' fundraiser Sept. 20
dailyherald.com
Article
2337 chars
Chicago Daily Herald
Letters To The Editor
Newscatcher
The League of Women Voters of Roselle-Bloomingdale will host the annual membership kickoff at the "Rank Your Beer!" fundraising event on Monday, Sept. 20, from 6 to 9 p. m. in the outdoor beer garden at Pollyanna Brewing Co., 245 E. Main St. in Roselle. The evening will include a presentation entitled, "Ranked Choice Voting -- What It Is and Why It Works." Gary Schotz, Speakers Bureau FairVote Illinois, will share his thoughts about why voters like Ranked Choice Voting in the states that have tried it. His brief presentation will be followed by an informal question-and-answer session with League members and guests. Andrew Szilva, president of FairVote Illinois, also will join for the evening. As part of the event, the League will conduct a "mock election" using a flight of four Pollyanna craft beers. Attendees will taste their beers and use FairVote's rankit. vote to tabulate the voting rounds and publish results of the ranked choice beers. New York City is the 22nd jurisdiction to use Ranked Choice Voting and the learning curve is flattening quickly as more states, counties, and municipalities implement it around the country. FairVote is currently working to bring Ranked Choice Voting to Evanston, Illinois. Set aside Monday, Sept. 20, to join the League for the Fall Membership Kickoff and learn how Ranked Choice Voting works in a unique and fun way! The cost for this Fall League fundraising event is $25 and it includes one flight of four different beers and appetizers. Formed in 2012, the League of Women Voters of Roselle/Bloomingdale provides information on topics that impact our local, state, and federal government. The League works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. With over 100 years of experience and having grown to more than 800 local and state affiliations, the League is one of America's most trusted grassroots organizations. The League does not support, endorse or oppose political candidates. Membership in the League is open to people ages 16 and older. For more information on the League of Women Voters of the United States, visit www. lwv. org, or the League of Women Voters of Illinois, visit www. lwvil. org. Learn more about rank choice voting by visiting FairVote Illinois at www. fairvoteillinois. org. MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 9, 2021

 
 
 
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County Board Candidates Talk Ranked-Choice Voting
arlnow.com
Article
8532 chars
ARLnow
Newscatcher
Ranked-choice voting is supported by all four candidates for County Board, according to their comments at an Arlington Committee of 100 candidate forum held last night (Wednesday). The event was the first candidate forum of the fall general election season. Support is strong among the three independent candidates — Audrey Clement, Mike Cantwell and Adam Theo — who want to unseat Democrat incumbent Takis Karantonis. He won a special election in 2020 and his seat is now up for a full four-year term. Theo, a Libertarian, is the most recent addition to the ballot after officially launching his campaign this week. While all four support ranked choice voting, the reform would not be ready for the upcoming Nov. 2 election, as the county is still hammering out the logistics of the system. Dismayed at the pace of implementation, the independents said the reform would reveal public support for candidates like them and add political diversity to the County Board. "I've spent a lot of my free time promoting ranked choice voting in Virginia," said Cantwell, who became the vice president of Fair Vote Virginia, which advocates for ranked choice voting in Virginia, in 2019. "I went to Richmond in February 2020 and lobbied to bring it to Virginia. At that time, to the surprise of many, the legislature passed bills 506 and 1103, which allowed it in [Arlington] and the rest of Virginia. Since that time, [the county has] taken very little action to implement that new law." Theo also criticized the lack of movement on implementing the new voting system and educating voters about it. "It would've been awesome to have the logo-picking determined by ranked choice voting," he said. "That would've been a great way to educate the public. Here we are, waiting for the county to proceed and provide results. I have a lot of skepticism for the County Board's real willingness to push forward real reform. It puts their own positions, jobs, in jeopardy." Karantonis said he is on the record supporting ranked-choice voting and voted to fund an initiative to test it out. "I put money where my mouth is," he said. "I think this is a great improvement in democracy." During the forum the four candidates articulated their positions housing and on Arlington County's goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Both Karantonis and Theo said "affordable housing" is the biggest issue facing Arlington. "I've been a housing advocate from day one," Karantonis said. "The first thing my wife and I experienced [when moving here] was not being able to find housing, not having choices… Arlington is a community that looks back to a solid record of planning carefully for housing, of matching development with assets like transportation, schools and natural resources. We need to bundle these to support the creation of new housing choices because displacement is a real thing." "[Housing affordability] poses the problem of pricing out the elderly, low-income, immigrant and disabled people who are clinging on as it is already," he said. "The number of housing units built in this county is horrifyingly low." But he took a jab at the County Board for talking about affordable housing and posing for photos at new developments, while not doing more to prioritize affordability. He spoke favorably of the Missing Middle Housing Study, a county-led effort to see if single-family home areas should be rezoned for more types of moderate-density homes, as a means to increase housing options for the middle-class. Cantwell said he worries about affordability both in terms of housing and taxes. "I think the biggest problem facing Arlington is runaway spending and taxes and lack of accountability in county government, [which] stems from lack of political competition," Cantwell said. "I'm for affordable housing, but I question the outcomes of $300 million spent on a government-run affordable housing program… I think most Arlingtonians are interested in finding a market rate affordable housing place to live in, but not that many are interested in being part of government run program, where they have to submit tax returns, W-2s [and other] bureaucracy." "A far better solution is to repurpose unrented luxury units in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor to moderate income housing," she said. (A subsequent NYU study found little link between neighborhood gentrification and displacement of low-income residents, at least in New York City.) Another point of agreement? Skepticism that Arlington will be carbon neutral by 2050, a goal outlined in the 2019 Community Energy Plan. "I don't think we're in a place where we will achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050," Karantonis said. "For me, it's very important to make it a whole-government action item… I do believe all new construction should be benchmarked to actually be compliant in a reasonable time horizon. It's very frustrating, site plan after site plan, to extract benefits from developers at a pace that I'm not very satisfied with." Cantwell said he wants to see high school students using public transit, which would increase ridership and teach the next generation to use transit. He also reiterated his support for expanding the county auditor's office. "Part of the reasoning is to see if the money that they spend is actually resulting in outcomes they desire. Many programs sound good but don't produce results they're aimed at," he said. Clement said the goals of the CEP are "prescriptive rather than pragmatic," and won't come to pass as long as Arlington is powered mostly by Dominion Energy and Washington Gas, and as long as Virginia isn't passing stringent mandates requiring the utility companies increase their production of renewable energy, also known as a renewable energy portfolio standard. "I will stop misleading the public about the potential of being net zero by 2050, and instead lobby legislature to adopt a mandatory renewable energy portfolio standard and authorize municipalities to enter into power-purchase agreements with third parties," she said. Theo emphasized switching the county's vehicle fleet over to electric vehicles and using public-private partnerships, such as the program that the county uses to match businesses looking to go solar with private funds willing to support the investment. He also lauded the joint Arlington-Amazon solar farm. School Board candidate Mary Kadera, meanwhile, fielded questions from committee members about ways Arlington Public Schools can collaborate with county government, ways APS can improve outreach to non-English-speaking families, as well as systemic racism and special education. Her opponent, Major Mike Webb, was not present. Kadera, who received the Democratic endorsement, offered a slew of ideas, from having middle and high school students ride public transit and co-locating county and school facilities to accommodate growth, to using text messages and holding forums at churches and other community hubs to reach non-English speaking families. When it came to special education, she said APS has the right tools but isn't implementing them in every school equally: "We have to standardize this, and hold school leaders accountable." To combat systemic racism, she urged the use research-based curricula to reduce academic gaps along racial and ethnic lines while incorporating culturally-relevant teachings to keep kids engaged. "I hope that what you appreciate is that I live and breathe for public education," she said. "I'm excited to bring fresh thinking to the School Board and share my ideas with fellow members and district leadership." Nov. 2 is Election Day, with polls in Virginia open from 6 a. m. to 7 p. m. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Click to share on Print (Opens in new window) Celtic House Irish Pub on Columbia Pike says it "does not wish to embroil itself" in the ongoing saga involving a local TikTok personality. The bar released a statement on… Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Click to share on Print (Opens in new window) Mark your calendar for Sunday, Nov. 7. The annual PNC Parkway Classic, hosted by Pacers Running, is back. Run the streets of Old Town and enjoy views of the Potomac. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Click to share on Print (Opens in new window) A now-former Arlington elections official is facing charges after police say she improperly removed someone from the voter roll. Tyra Baker turned herself in on August 26, according to Arlington… Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 9, 2021

 
 
 
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Arlington board members to confab on proposed change in voting method
insidenova.com
Article
370 chars
INSIDENOVA.COM
Scott Mccaffrey, Sun Gazette Newspapers
BingNews
Arlington County Board members next month will take a closer look at the proposal to impose ranked-choice voting on County Board elections.
Real-time social media posts from local businesses and organizations across Northern Virginia, powered by Friends2Follow. To add your business to the stream, email cfields@insidenova.com or click on the green button below. MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 9, 2021

 
 
 
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Xogmaal Media - Ranked Choice Voting Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis Park, Bloomington and Minnetonka
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> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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September 7, 2021 Charter Review Subcommittee- Ranked Choice Voting
youtube.com
Video
0:24:33
YouTube
Clarkcowa
BingVideo
> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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Ranked Choice Voting In Salt Lake City and Sandy - Ask Me Anything in Spanish
youtube.com
Video
0:29:50
YouTube
Salt Lake City Television - Slctv
BingVideo
> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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Maine's 'Trump Before Trump' Launches a Comeback Bid
usnews.com
Article
135 chars
U.S. News & World Report
BingNews
Paul LePage, a pugnacious Republican, says he hopes to clean up his act. But will it get him back in the governor's mansion?
Paul LePage
> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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Lower-income areas of NYC had a harder time with ranked-choice voting
politico.com
Article
270 chars
subscriber.politicopro.com
BingNews
Ranked-choice voting premiered on its biggest American stage during New York City's June primary — and while 90 percent of Democratic voters used it to pick a nominee for mayor, an economic divide emerged between those who adopted the practice fully and ... MORE→
New York City
> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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Long Division
sfreporter.com
Article
24119 chars
Santa Fe Reporter
BingNews
SFR helps Santa Feans do the math ahead of the 2021 municipal elections
Question : In Santa Fe’s upcoming mayoral election, candidate A receives 560 votes, candidate B earns 680 and candidate C gets 265. Which candidate won? Answer : It depends on how the voters ranked the candidates. With the final voting day two months away, city residents are still getting to know the numbers and faces of the city’s Nov. 2 mayoral and City Council contests. There are plenty of options and, with another shot at ranked-choice voting, Santa Feans don’t have to choose just one. Much ink has been spilled already; recriminations have followed accusations, especially at the top of the ticket. The angst and anger fall into the city’s longstanding fault lines. Call them divisions—that’s what the politicians’ and would-be office-holders’ campaign staffs and vocal supporters call them. The toppling of the Plaza obelisk on Indigenous Peoples Day last year, what preceded it and what’s followed have created ample opportunity to toss mud. And there are plenty of disagreements over what else is important and what Santa Fe needs to become a better, more unified city. Speaking of those divisions, you’re in luck, Dear Reader: SFR passed high school math and offers here a refresher on the voting system, how to participate, sketches of the candidates in the handful of contested 2021 municipal races and where they stand on the issues. (Absent is District 2 Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth, who is running unopposed.) The 2018 municipal election marked Santa Fe’s first foray into ranked-choice voting. There were some hurdles, and confusion remains about how it works, despite SFR’s sincere efforts to explain it and debunk the various wild-eyed court challenges against using it. Let’s try it one more time: Consider the election math problem we posed above: Candidate A earned 37% of the votes, B won 45% and C received 18%. Without a clear winner who earns more than half of the votes, the candidate with the lowest percentage of votes is eliminated and those votes are distributed to candidates A and B, based on the voters’ second choices. In this scenario, 225 of those votes go to candidate A and the other 40 go to candidate B. The new percentages for round 2 show that candidate A is the winner. Ranked choice voting kicks in for the seats with at least three candidates in the race: the mayor and District 1 councilor for this election. It’s not required to rank more than one candidate for each race, but doing so gives voters more of a voice in the final outcome. Mayor Alan Webber Education: Bachelor in English, Amherst College Occupation: Incumbent mayor of Santa Fe Alan Webber often carries a quote in his back pocket. At the height of this year’s campaign, he shared one with SFR. He figures it speaks to his take on the divisions that have marked the election season. “I have friends on both sides of this issue, and I always stand with my friends.” Webber attributes the phrase to the long-dead US Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois—who both championed the Civil Rights Act and defended the Vietnam War to the bitter end—aligning his own political strategizing to the well-known senator’s. Webber adds: “I have friends who disagree with me on policy issues, but we talk about our disagreements and we work them out.” With his first, mixed bag term coming to a close, Webber—the city’s first full-time mayor and a Canyon Road resident—has encountered plenty of disagreements. He prefers to discuss his accomplishments, dividing them into two categories: pre- and post-COVID. “The first two years we were building city government; we were hiring a great team, we were putting investments into place,” Webber says, pointing also to significant increases in housing units, water supply and the creation of the Alternative Response Unit, a team composed of a caseworker, paramedic and police officer, trained to respond to behavioral health issues. Webber, who is serving in his first elected position after founding, then selling, Fast Company magazine before he moved to Santa Fe, tells SFR his administration worked toward “modernizing and professionalizing city government.” The effort paid off when COVID hit, forcing most city services online. The mayor is quick with another cliché in describing his e-government initiatives: “The time to fix the roof is before it starts raining.” Webber considers himself a listener and a consensus-builder, saying he’ll use those traits to address what has been the thorniest issue of his term: the obelisk. Last June, the mayor publicly called for the removal of the monument to Union soldiers who also slaughtered Native people. Now, he claims he had no direct hand in what happened a few months later, when activists took the obelisk down themselves and police stood down. Its destruction, Webber argues, prevented wider unrest in Santa Fe over controversial monuments. On fences, in newspapers, in yards, advertisements denouncing Webber’s handling of the painful subject have cropped up around town. The signs, distributed by Union Protectíva de Santa Fé, have drawn the mayor’s ire, resulting in an ethics complaint and an accusation against his opponent, City Councilor JoAnne Vigil Coppler, of colluding with the non-political organization. Vigil Coppler denies the claim, drawing this response from Webber: “If she doesn’t want to be associated with them, she should disavow them.” JoAnne Vigil Coppler Education: Master in Public Administration, University of New Mexico Occupation: City councilor, District 4 and real estate broker “I want to take everything on,” JoAnne Vigil Coppler tells SFR, mid-lament on the nightmare that is parking downtown. “That’s why I’m running.” Though Vigil Coppler has no plans to build another parking garage, she has plenty of other thoughts on local government. One of her mantras, “What gets measured, gets done,” highlights how she hopes to run the city if she defeats Webber. Among her priorities: cleaning up and beautifying public spaces, improving homeownership opportunities and addressing the city’s growing unhoused population. The construction permitting process needs fixing, too, she says. Constituents and businesses have come to her, exasperated over the long and burdensome process. Whether it’s “homeowners, just getting a remodel permit, up to a new commercial building project—it doesn’t matter how small a job, or how big a job it is.” Vigil Coppler believes her experience in public administration—a subject she taught at UNM—will enable her to work with the Land Use Department to create timelines that will improve the permitting process. As a former HR director with the city and Los Alamos County, she sees an unhappy city workforce. “What’s more important to me, in my tenure on City Council, is that city employees be treated fairly.” Webber spent over $310,000 to win the last election, a record, and Vigil Coppler says that makes a mockery of the city’s public financing system. Yet, she also says she chose to rely on private dollars to compete with him instead of the paltry $60,000 given to mayoral candidates who qualify for public financing. “I’m not intending to be a millionaire mayor. I’m competing with the millionaire mayor, and that’s not the kind of example I want to set,” she says. Alexis Martinez Johnson Education: Bachelor in Environmental Engineering, New Mexico Tech Occupation: Former environmental engineer As Alexis Martinez Johnson canvasses outside the downtown post office off S. Federal Place, her twins, James and Vera, sit in the grass lawn blowing bubbles. “I have my two beautiful children right here, I’m a mother, I’m an environmental engineering professional, I’m really concerned about our water resources, our wastewater management and our transportation services,” Johnson tells a resident signing her nominating petition. The signature gathering has posed challenges, Johnson tells SFR. But later, she’d succeed in filing enough to see her name on the ballot. “The more money that you have,” the larger a candidate’s “megaphone,” Johnson says. “It is very difficult to overcome the finances.” The campaigning experience has centered equity issues for Johnson. She points to delays she encountered when requesting the appropriate forms—in English and Spanish—to get on the ballot and the lack of online options for gathering signatures, which Johnson says put her at a heightened risk for COVID-19 exposure. “A lot of people want to Trump-splain me,” she says, adding that some have written her off because of her conservative views. “I’m here to represent voices and have an equitable campaign.” Like Vigil Coppler, Johnson points to tension between the mayor and city employees, which she attributes to “a huge discord in regard to cultural values.” She doesn’t anticipate that bad blood will dissipate if Webber is reelected. One area where Johnson thinks she can improve the city: housing. “If you’re going to build apartment complexes and the developers are going to get a lot of tax-exempt services, they’re not going to have to pay certain things, who’s really getting the deal?” Johnson says, noting that the city requires developers to provide affordable housing for only five years. Johnson lost the race for the state’s 2020 3rd Congressional District against Teresa Leger Fernandez, earning 41% of the vote—a surprisingly strong showing that pundits credit to her anti-abortion stance popular with voters in the north. She lives in the South Capital area. District 1 Signe Lindell Education: Doctorate in Education, West Virginia University Occupation: Incumbent city councilor, District 1 It’s difficult to hold a continuous conversation with Councilor Signe Lindell on the patio of JW Windsor’s, as a seemingly endless stream of colleagues and constituents keep stopping to say hello. It’s evident Lindell is well known in this part of town as the District 1 councilor for the past eight years. Before that, she was a city planning commissioner. She wants to continue meeting her constituents and building those relationships. “We need 84? Well let’s go get 840; that’s going to be fun,” Lindell tells SFR of her plan to gather 10 times the required signatures to make the ballot. “It’s always relationships. You meet so many people and part of the deal is making everybody comfortable in the big tent,” Lindell explains. “You don’t always agree on everything but we have relationships where, when we disagree, we can get through it.” Lindell touts her track record of handling constituent issues and attending community events as evidence of her commitment. Additionally, Lindell notes the steps the council has taken to expand affordable housing, crack down on short-term rental enforcement and provide services for those experiencing homelessness. Roger Carson Education: Bachelor in Accounting, College of Santa Fe Occupation: Real estate broker, Keller Williams Roger Carson doesn’t have any grand illusions of politicians. At one point in a conversation with SFR, he equated them to the animals at SeaWorld. “Every animal has a special talent, and it’s your job to figure out what that is,” Carson says. “And every candidate running for office has a special talent and, ideally, through this election process, people get to figure out who that is.” He lists an in-depth knowledge of Santa Fe’s housing market among his talents. As president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors—a role he will vacate at year’s end—Carson maintains he’s uniquely suited to help tackle the city’s seemingly endless housing crisis. His solution? Coupling the need for more units with sustainable growth that will ensure future dwellings support everyone who lives here. “The school teacher is the classic [example],” he says. “These are people everyone wants in the community and yet we don’t build housing that they can afford and so there’s a disconnect.” Carson maintains a particular fear of sprawl that has diluted Santa Fe’s housing brand—which he admits sounds “pejorative,” but nonetheless is central to the City Different. Brian Gutierrez Education: Occupation: Owner, Santa Fe Recycles One of Brian Gutierrez’s family traditions involves biking down to the Plaza in the summer with his wife and four children, getting ice cream and watching the long days fade into the night. When protesters felled the controversial centerpiece of the Plaza last October, Gutierrez tells SFR, his daughter was upset. “Some people have said that the younger generation doesn’t care about X, Y and Z,” Gutierrez says of the divisive obelisk. “She had a connection there. To my family, it was more than just an obelisk, good, bad or otherwise.” Gutierrez wishes more had been done to prevent the toppling, but he says, “Until you walk in those shoes you really don’t know what’s happening.” A focus for Gutierrez’s campaign is basic city services that, he laments, have been in need of repair: smooth roads, clear medians, graffiti-free buildings. Gutierrez’s vision involves relocating City Hall to Midtown Campus, which he says would provide more equitable access to local government while helping to develop the area around St. Michael’s Drive. “Everything’s centrally located,” he says of his proposed move. “From there, Midtown grows organically because everyone wants to be next to City Hall.” Joe Hoback Education: Associate in Management, American Institute of Banking Occupation: Former president, Land of Enchantment Federal Credit Union Joe Hoback plans to win the crowded race by knocking on as many doors as possible in the northeast district. He equates his daily canvassing strategy to the way most people think about going to the gym: “I really need to work out today, I should really go,” Hoback tells SFR. “And then I go and I get into it and I get done, and I’m like, ‘It was good.’” Hoback tells SFR he was pounding the pavement long before this campaign season. “My first real job was delivering newspapers,” he says. “I’ve been working for the residents of District 1 since the ‘70s.” Hoback’s history with the city—his grandmother started the Pink Adobe restaurant where he worked as a general manager—has shaped his experience. Hoback wants the city to set an example by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour—an action he says the council can achieve by passing an ordinance, much like the living wage ordinance passed in 2003. District 3 Education: Capital High School Occupation: Incumbent city councilor, District 3 and chief professional officer, Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Fe Abeyta was happy to hear he had an opponent in the District 3 contest for his re-election because it provides constituents with options—and the power to exercise their right to choose. “The one thing I’ve always advocated for is greater participation and voter turnout in District 3,” Abeyta tells SFR. For his first council term, he faced no opposition for an open seat. But he’s not conceding the western most district, especially not with everything he has planned in the coming months—most notably, the long-awaited teen center that many credit to Abeyta’s advocacy. “District 3 as a whole, but specifically where the teen center is going, we have the largest concentration of young people,” Abeyta says, pointing to the collection of schools in his district. “It’s going to be a great place for teens to hopefully go and get resources,” while also providing young people with a place to socialize, says Abeyta. Abeyta notes that urging the opening of the Southside library as an early voting site and promoting vaccination clinics in District 3 reflected his commitment to constituents. He wants to build on his work with the Alternative Response Unit, the de-escalation team that takes low-threat 911 calls. “We got to reimagine public safety,” Abeyta says. “We were putting too much of a burden on our police by having them do everything, from giving the simple traffic ticket...to dealing with the serious crime.” Lee Garcia 45 Education: Master in Business, University of Phoenix Occupation: Owner, Garcia Tires Lee Garcia’s father, Guadalupe Garcia, started fixing his neighbor’s tires on the side of their house in Chimayó in 1974. Demand was so high, he had to open a brick and mortar storefront to meet it. The younger Garcia says customer service is key. When SFR meets him on a recent day, he’s helping a customer at the front counter, even though he owns three tire shops. “I lost a few employees and now I’m working in the business again,” Garcia admits. Garcia has had staffing troubles and notes the parallels between his situation and that of the city, which he says also suffers from a dwindling workforce. The deficit of employees, he says, prevents the city from meeting residents’ needs. With his experience in business, Garcia thinks he can change that. “Yes we are for-profit, but we provide a service to our community that is so vital,” Garcia says, pointing to the work his business does with the city, county and state to demonstrate the unique perspective he would bring to the council. “We provide tires to the Fire Department for the city, we install the tires for the trash trucks.” Garcia says the city could benefit from a more business-like approach, while providing more training for municipal employees: “I think as a governing body...we need to focus on our base structure of organization from management to all the way down. It starts with good leadership.” District 4 Education: Master in Educational Leadership, Grand Canyon University Occupation: Director of special education, Santa Fe Public Schools “If there’s any quality that you can have as a leader, it’s empathy,” Chavez says of her new role with the school district as director of special education. She says the position is less demanding than her previous job: principal of César Chávez Elementary School—but there’s a catch. “The further you get from students, the harder those changes are,” Chavez says. Whether she’s at work, raising her two children or walking the neighborhoods of District 4 to canvass, Chavez says people often ask her, “Why do you do so much?” She tells SFR she wants to set an example for her children and community. “My mom would always tell me, ‘As long as you’re capable, you do.’” Chavez hopes to bring her keen awareness of inequities to the council as representative of the Southside, pointing to the disparate amount of affordable housing between the east and south sides of the city. “I think it shows how disconnected we are as a community, because if we were a community we wouldn’t be functioning that way,” she says. “I totally believe in the idea, ‘It takes a village.’” Rebecca Romero 37 Education: Capital High School Occupation: Management analyst, New Mexico Department of Health Rebecca Romero kicks at a slew of goatheads, saying they’re a sign of unmaintained baseball fields and what she calls neglect by the city at Franklin Miles Park. This public space leaves room for improvement, Romero tells SFR, especially when compared to the baseball fields in Alto Park. “They’re really nice,” Romero adds. “Well, they’re downtown, they’re downtown. And that’s the problem.” Romero wants to bring more city employees to the Southside to help clean up the parks. “The city is so short staffed, and that’s my big concern right now is we need to get our city employees back into the office. We need to get them fully staffed,” Romero tells SFR. “We need to set an example…'Look, as a city we do care.’” While walking the neighborhood just west of the park, where she grew up, Romero speaks with constituents concerned about an apartment complex being squeezed between Cerrillos Road and the quiet streets off Siringo Road. “See how they just stuck them behind buildings?” Romero says of the swelling development in District 4 and how that will impact residents, who tell her: “‘Nobody listens to us. Nobody wants to take our comments into consideration and we’re having a hard time getting opinions out there.’” ELECTION TIMELINE Last week - The county clerk verified that each of the 12 candidates collected the required number of voter signatures to make the ballot. Sept. 9 - Mayoral public forum hosted by the American Institute of Architects at Restaurant Martin at 11:45 am. Register at aiasantafe.org/calendar/ Sept. 13 - Mayoral public forum hosted by Santa Fe Hispanic Chamber of Commerce via Zoom at 5:30 pm. Register at facebook.com/SFHCC/ Oct. 4-5 - Public forums for mayoral candidates hosted by the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce and the Santa Fe Housing Action Coalition at The Lensic and online. Each evening program begins at 6 pm. Business and economic issues are the topic on Oct. 4; housing on Oct. 5. Register at web.santafechamber.com/events/ Oct. 5 - Early voting begins at the county clerk’s office (100 Catron St.); last day for voters to register online via the New Mexico Secretary of State website, sos.state.nm.us Oct. 15 - Alternate site early voting begins at seven locations including the Southside Library, Christian Life Church and county fairgrounds in Santa Fe. Final day of early voting when residents can register and vote in person with the county clerk. Oct. 19 - Deadline to register to vote by mail and request an absentee ballot. Ballots may be dropped off at the county clerk’s office and the alternate sites for early voting . Oct. 30 - Final day of expanded early voting. Nov. 2 - Election Day. In-person polling places are open from 7 am to 7 pm. MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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LETTER: Concern over ranked-choice voting and Minneapolis
hometownsource.com
Article
192 chars
hometownsource.com
David Paulson Minnetonka
ContextualWeb
To the Editor:
Copyright © 2021 at Sun Newspapers. Digital dissemination of this content without prior written consent is a violation of federal law and may be subject to legal action.
> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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Lawmakers advance runoff election legislation
wyofile.com
Article
10970 chars
WyoFile
Nick Reynolds
BingNews
After considering three election reform proposals, legislative committee favors run-off option.
Wyoming lawmakers advanced a proposal Thursday to shift the state’s elections to a runoff system. Conservative activists favor runoffs as a way to avoid the type of vote-splitting they believe has helped elevate more moderate candidates in Republican primaries. The Joint Committee on Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions voted 7-6 to advance the proposal, which was sponsored by Rep. Chip Neiman (R-Hulett). This came roughly three months after the committee soundly rejected a similar proposal. At that meeting, committee members voted to draft bills to create either an open primary or a ranked-choice voting system. This time, however, members eschewed those proposals for a runoff option following contentious debates between Wyoming Republican Party officials, lawmakers and Democratic activists. Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Cheyenne), who expressed concerns with the potential implications of a move to a runoff election, was the tie-breaking vote. Eliminating crossover voting Pressure to reimagine Wyoming’s election system ramped up following the 2018 governor’s race. In that election, Mark Gordon won a five-way Republican primary with roughly one-third of the vote. Half of the vote was split between Harriet Hageman and Foster Friess, both considered to be more conservative candidates. Friess, who finished more than 9,000 votes behind Gordon, blamed Democratic voters switching parties on the day of his election for his loss. (Numbers released by the Secretary of State’s office following the vote showed that the impact of crossover voting on the 2018 election was not enough to change the election’s outcome.) In the ensuing years, activists in the Wyoming Republican Party have pushed for legislation to limit the trend of crossover voting in Wyoming’s elections. In recent months, a runoff system has emerged as a centerpiece of the Wyoming GOP’s policy objectives as party activists have sought to avoid vote- splitting in the race to defeat U.S. Rep Liz Cheney. A runoff proposal brought in the 2021 legislative session failed. Former President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., had attempted on Twitter to rally lawmakers in support of the measure. Enthusiasm for runoff elections, however, has not ebbed. Neiman revived the idea with his bill proposal Thursday. Though colleagues chastised Neiman for drafting a pledge to support his runoff legislation ahead of a June meeting in Cheyenne, the Wyoming House Freedom Caucus — which Neiman is a member of — released a statement on “election integrity” supportive of his runoff bill. The state party has also advocated for its passage. Differing approaches When they rejected Neiman’s proposal in June, lawmakers cited county clerks’ and the Wyoming Secretary of State’s assertions that such a system would be next to impossible to implement before the 2022 election. Lawmakers would still be in the process of redrawing district lines based on the new U.S. Census, LSO staff told lawmakers, and without an amendment to the Constitution to change the deadlines, the timing of the election and redistricting would not match up. County clerks — who administer elections on the local level — would also face the challenge of carrying out redistricting and an election simultaneously, the Wyoming County Clerk’s Association told lawmakers, which would be too heavy a lift. Runoff elections were also expected to be administratively and financially burdensome, state and local elections officials said. Not only would clerks’ offices be required to administer an additional election, but the state would also have to foot an estimated $1.3 million bill to carry out that election, the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office said. However, the Wyoming Republican Party declared election reform ahead of the 2022 Republican Primary to be their “No. 1 priority,” both in public statements and comments to lawmakers. “We want to see 50% plus one, clear winners, to represent us in these offices,” Wyoming Republican Party Chairman Frank Eathorne said in Sheridan Thursday. To accommodate these concerns, members drafted several alternative proposals to rebuild the state’s elections system to ensure a victor emerges with the clear approval of a majority of voters, which members considered on Thursday. One proposal would have created an “open primary” system in Wyoming, which would eliminate the requirement for candidates to declare a party at the primary stage and ensure only the top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation. While the least expensive alternative presented, lawmakers tabled the proposal over concerns it could diminish the influence of political parties, which many lawmakers said serve a critical role in the state’s electoral processes. A second proposal would have established a “ranked-choice” voting system. Deployed by the Wyoming Democratic Party in its 2020 caucuses , ranked-choice voting offers a means to rank candidates on the ballot and can trigger an “instant runoff” to identify the most popular candidate in the instance that one candidate does not receive a majority. “It’s a caucus, but on paper,” Nina Hebert, a Democratic Party official who helped orchestrate that caucus, said during the meeting. Republican pressure Ultimately, the Wyoming GOP got what it lobbied for Thursday. Lawmakers soundly defeated ranked-choice voting and advanced Neiman’s runoff bill after amending it to take effect in 2024 and moving that it be put “to the people.” Days before the vote, the state party urged members on social media to attend the committee meeting and voice their opposition to ranked-choice voting. At the the meeting, Wyoming Republican Party leadership and supporters overwhelmed a limited number of left-leaning activists in the room who were organized by the Sheridan County Democrats. Those lobbying in favor of the runoff bill included Eathorne, Wyoming GOP Vice Chair Dave Holland, Wyoming’s Republican National Committeeman Corey Steinmetz, Uinta County State Committeeman Karl Allred and Carbon County Republican Party Chairman Joey Correnti. In a presentation to lawmakers, Steinmetz said a county clerk in Maine told him the paperwork produced by ranked-choice voting there was overwhelming and elderly voters struggled with it. He added the clerk raised concerns about the financial cost too, and that it could sow distrust in elections by causing confusion. “What happens when we sow distrust in our elections? [People] do not bother to vote,” Steinmetz said. “I don’t think that’s our goal, to encourage people not to vote.” A comprehensive study of Maine county clerks’ experiences with ranked choice voting showed the administrative burdens to be minimal, its cost negligible and public support high. Despite a late amendment to make ranked-choice voting optional at the municipal level only, lawmakers defeated the measure by an 8-5 margin. Lawmakers did pass a retooled version of Neiman’s runoff bill, however. Though Neiman told lawmakers he had worked with county clerks to assuage their concerns with his initial bill — committee members still expressed reservations. Several lawmakers expressed concerns that the initial primary election in May would come too quickly on the heels of the legislative session, creating the potential for legislators to “campaign from the floor” of the Wyoming Capitol and potentially, give themselves an unfair advantage. “I worry that this is just going to open [elections] up to more money, a lot of it from out of state and from undisclosed means,” Kris Korfanta, a Sheridan County Democrat who works with the anti-dark-money group, Wyoming Promise, told lawmakers. “It’s also going to take representatives from the people’s work. They’re going to be more concerned about raising money for the election, take us away from a citizen legislature, and it will prevent people from running who can’t afford to get the money.” Wyoming Republican Party officials repeatedly reminded lawmakers that runoff elections are the party’s top priority ahead of the 2022 elections. Eathorne said members of the GOP would “be watching which legislators are supporting and which are opposing” the runoff bill, drawing a harsh rebuke from former Republican lawmaker Bruce Burns. “I get concerned when I see the chairman of the Republican Party sit up here and tell you that they’re going to see who’s for it and who’s against it,” Burns said. “Any legislator who is craven enough to change their vote because of intimidation tactics doesn’t deserve to be reelected.” Implications Some expressed concern about the implications of the bill should it formally become law. Zwonitzer, who teaches political science, raised concerns about the prospect of “earned media.” Zwonitzer and several commenters said they believed the bill could result in lawmakers taking advantage of the abbreviated and traditionally yeoman-like budget session to bolster their chances for re-election, either by trying to get into their hometown press or doing daily radio updates as a means to gain advantage over their opponents. “It fundamentally alters how the budget session operates,” he said. Robert Davidson, a member of the Sheridan County Democratic Party and former election judge, believes the GOP’s push to change voting laws in Wyoming is not to ensure election integrity, but to exert greater influence over the elections themselves, he said. “Let’s say they get some of the reforms passed into law and, in ‘24 and ‘26, this faction within the Republican Party doesn’t get the result they want,” Davidson said. “I really wonder what they’re going to do then.” MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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If incarcerated people had been able to vote, the Attica killings may never have happened
nydailynews.com
Article
5254 chars
nydailynews.com
Soffiyah Elijah
BingNews
It’s a bright, bustling Saturday morning in the heart of Harlem on 116th St. and Lenox Ave, also known as Malcolm X Boulevard. People queue up for the food pantry giveaway outside the Mosque, while… MORE→
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> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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Green Party of California opposes the recall and endorses Green, Dan Kapelovitz
gp.org
Article
5374 chars
www.gp.org
BingNews
The Green Party of California OPPOSES the Gubernatorial Recall Election and endorses Green Party candidate Dan Kapelovitz for Governor after delegates from active county Green Parties participated in a vote following a six-week discussion period. Vote by September 14 on the Gubernatorial Recall Election: Ballot Question #1: VOTE NO ON RECALL Ballot Question #2: VOTE FOR Green Party's DAN KAPELOVITZ MORE→
SAN FRANCISCO - The Green Party of California OPPOSES the Gubernatorial Recall Election and endorses Green Party candidate Dan Kapelovitz for Governor after delegates from active county Green Parties participated in a vote following a six-week discussion period. Ballot Question #1: VOTE NO ON RECALL Ballot Question #2: VOTE FOR Green Party's DAN KAPELOVITZ Green Party of California https://www.cagreens.org Press Release September 8, 2021 SACRAMENTO, CA - The Green Party of California voted overwhelmingly both to vote no on the recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom and to endorse Green Party member Dan Kapelovitz as his replacement should the recall vote pass. Dan Kapelovitz is one of many former Bernie Sanders supporters who have joined the Green Party since 2016. He has a long record of grassroots activism, showing that for decades he has been aligned with the 10 Key Values of the Green Party. An attorney who also teaches law at the People’s College of Law in Los Angeles, his clients are mainly poor people caught up in the criminal justice system, as well as defenders of animal rights. More information about his campaign can be found online at https://kapelovitz.com . "I oppose this recall. Governor Newsom and the Democratic Party have recklessly endangered the residents of this state by strong-arming all arguably qualified Democrats into not taking part in the race to potentially replace him, thus leaving the field to far-right Republicans. Should this desperate gamble to persuade Californians to vote no on the recall fail, I am the progressive candidate most able to win, to govern effectively, and to pursue a strong reform agenda," said Dan Kapelovitz. "A vote for my Green candidacy can be a transformational vote for more choice and more voice for Californians, via ranked-choice voting and proportional representation elections. These critically needed reforms would lead to a viable multi-party system for California, giving more people in our state a seat at the table of our democracy." Greens oppose the recall because the lack of ranked-choice voting or a required runoff in this recall election creates the potential for a replacement to be elected by only a tiny minority of the voting public, and the candidates receiving the most attention are no better than Newsom and in many cases, far worse. "The vote to oppose the recall is by no means a statement of support for Newsom," said Laura Wells , official spokesperson for the Green Party of California, and a former candidate for Governor herself in 2010. "Newsom has had Democratic Party super-majorities in both houses of the legislature and still his actions and inactions have continually gone against Californians’ progressive values. During this pandemic, he has thwarted Californians’ ability to receive unemployment benefits and receive rent subsidies. He has failed to address the climate crisis, stop fracking, hold PG&E accountable for its continued disaster inducing incompetence, or require it to compensate victims in a timely and appropriate manner, and he has failed to raise billions to fight the climate crisis by imposing a severance tax on oil and gas extraction, as is standard in other states." "Despite having a budget surplus and despite the pandemic, Newsom and his supermajorities stunningly betrayed Californian voters by delaying consideration of a single-payer healthcare bill until sometime after 2021," said Wells. "He also vetoed a measure that would have enhanced democracy and broadened representation by allowing cities across California to use ranked-choice voting in local elections." Kapelovitz' choice to feature ranked-choice voting and proportional representation continues the Green Party's longstanding mission to restore accountability and authentic choice to California's electoral process. "We need these democracy enhancing reforms to end one-party rule, and give progressives a voice in Sacramento not chained to a party co-opted and corrupted by corporate donations and the 1%," said Greg Jan , coordinator of the Statewide Candidates Subcommittee. "A vote for Kapelovitz on September 14, and for Green candidates in next June's primary election, sends a strong message that Californians embrace progressive policies and electoral reform." The recall election ballots must be postmarked no later than election day, Tuesday, September 14, 2021. MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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Frederick's mayoral candidates meet in virtual forum
fredericknewspost.com
Article
381 chars
The Frederick News-Post
Ryan Marshall Rmarshall@Newspost.Com
BingNews
With early voting kicking off for the city of Frederick’s primary elections Wednesday, the candidates for mayor answered questions and took an occasional jab at one another in a virtual
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> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021

 
 
 
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Empowering The Voice Of The Middle
swiftcountymonitor.com
Article
Swift County Monitor
Reed Anfinson
Newscatcher
Our candidates are chosen through the primary election process. In the 10 elections conducted in the 21st Century in Minnesota, we have seen a low of 7.42% percent of voters cast ballots in a primary (2016) with a high of 22.77% showing up in 2018. However, the average has been 13.6%. Those who show up are the most dedicated and fervent of supporters. Some would say they are also the most uncompromising. Their stands are passionately, and rigidly, in place. It is these voters who chose our candidate for the general elections. They are the ones who will send elected officials to the Legislature in St. Paul or the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C. Candidates seeking election must first satisfy their base electorate. It is a purity test. Whoever most ardently holds tight to the views of their base will win the primary and make the general election ballot. We all know how bitter, divisive, and ugly the campaigns leading up to election day have become. The barrage of attack ads and sharp personal attacks in debates leave many voters disgusted with the process. Some eventually turn their backs on the election process and check out of participating in our representative democracy. The problem with this system is that it leaves many voters in the middle dissatisfied with their choices. They say they are left to decide between the lesser of two unsatisfactory candidates. There must be a better way to choose our candidates that leaves us with a broader choice, one that includes candidates in the middle, we are told. There is. It is called ranked-choice voting. It’s a process that proponents say ensures that the candidate with the broadest support wins. These same proponents also say that ranked-choice voting leads to more civil campaigns and debates. Candidates don’t want to become unlikeable to the voters in the middle whose ballots they may need. Ranked-choice voting isn’t without its problems. Opponents argue that it can be confusing to voters. They say its complexity causes some voters not to go to the polls. They say that in places where ballots are counted by hand, it creates a greater possibility for errors. And, it may still result in a candidate winning that doesn’t represent the majority of citizens. One other negative, opponents say, is that it is more expensive to have to count ballots multiple times to eventually find a winner if there isn’t a clear first choice in the first round. However, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and several other metro cities are already using ranked-choice balloting. It is used in towns in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Maryland. The State of Maine has used it since 2016. How does ranked voting work? On a regular election ballot, you will see the names of the candidates for each party listed separately. You vote for one choice on the ballot for each race. On a ranked-choice ballot, let’s say there are candidates for the Republican, Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) and Independence parties. What you are asked to do is rank those candidates by your preference. Let’s say the Republican candidate is your first choice, the Independent your second and the DFL candidate your third. You rank the Republican one and the Independent two. With the DFL candidate, you might not want to write in a number, and you are allowed to leave your third choice blank. (On the 2020 Minnesota presidential ballot there were nine parties represented.) With the ranked-choice voting process, a candidate must get more than 50% of the votes to be declared the winner. In our race, let’s say the Republican gets 42%, the DFL candidate 32%, and the Independence candidate 26%. Because no candidate received over 50% of the vote, the last-place candidate’s first-place votes are nullified. The election judges then make that voter’s number two candidate their first choice. That means the Independence Party’s 26% of the votes are broken down between the Republican and DFL candidates. The Republican candidate only needs 8.1% of the second choice votes of those who voted for the Independence Party candidate to win. However, if the DFL picks up 18.1% of the Independence Party votes, giving them 50.1% of the vote, that candidate is the winner. What that vote indicates is the DFL candidate was preferred by more voters overall than the Republican candidate. In some races, there may be more than three candidates, but the process is the same with the voters’ second-place candidate then distributed to the other candidates. One other benefit some see in ranked-choice voting is that it can erase the impact of “spoiler” candidates. These are candidates who could siphon off votes from a majority party candidate. A popular Green Party candidate would take votes away from a Democrat, while a popular Libertarian might take votes from a Republican. A voter can still vote for a favorite candidate. But now, rather than siphon off votes from the majority party candidate, their second-place votes will eventually be the ones counted toward a leading candidate. Again, this process requires the leading candidates to be attractive to a broad swath of voters, not just their base. This same ranked-choice process can be used in primaries. Supporters say ranked-choice voting it will reduce polarization in our politics and society. It is worth considering based on how disgusted many Americans are with the current system. MORE→
> 5 weeks
Sep 8, 2021
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