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Increasing Democracy

WA: Primary "Day" in Washington

Today is primary day in Washington, but that term has a slightly different meaning these days. Most voters in Washington now vote by mail. In fact, only five Washington counties continue to have traditional polling places. Universal vote-by-mail increases turnout in elections, receives rave reviews from voters, and can actually save governments money. For more, check out Progressive States' LegAlert on the subject.

CO: The Trailhead Gives Way to a Bizarre Path

The Trailhead is a rightwing Colorado 527 that has raised eyebrows in the past for its close connections to prominent Colorado leaders and some weird behavior. But new evidence reveals its behavior is getting even stranger. The Trailhead has engaged in a number of transactions with other 527s that the other 527s did not report.

OR: Rightwing Churches Playing Politics?

Loaded Orygun, which does some terrific investigative blogging in Oregon, has found campaign phone calls being made from a church. The church in question is a 501(c)3 organization prohibited from being engaged in electoral activity. Clearly, that prohibition is being ignored. Churches can actually lose their tax-exempt status for this type of activity. And with good reason. Religion has much to teach us about values and morality. But God doesn't make endorsements.

MT: Three Rightwing Initiatives Knocked Off Ballot for Fraud

A Montana judge has ruled that the signature gathering process for three rightwing ballot initiatives "was permeated by fraud and procedural non-compliance" resulting in all three measures being struck from the Montana ballot. The initiatives in question were a spending cap similar to Colorado's failed TABOR initiative, a land use planning initiative based on Oregon's disastrous Measure 37, and measure to allow recall of judges without cause.

GA: Perdue Buddy Helps Him Have a "Happy Accident"

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue must be a very happy man. Just two weeks ago, one friend helped him secure land at a very favorable price near the happiest place on Earth -- Disney Land. The Governor's explanation for why he bought the Florida land? He likes land and he wanted to avoid buying in Georgia because it would look like a conflict of interest. That makes sense, except he did buy land in Georgia a few years ago. The deal was also pretty lucrative, thanks in part to Perdue's power to sign bills into law.

CA: Progressive Agenda in Bills Going to Governor

The Los Angeles Times has a rundown of bills passed by the Democratic legislature-- and for those wondering whether progressives have an agenda, it's a pretty good illustration of what could be done with a progressive majority. Many of these items may get vetoed by Arnie, but it's still an impressive list.

AK: All in the Family

In Alaska, where lame duck Governor Frank Murkowski recently lost his primary challenge (possibly in part because he appointed his daughter to the U.S. Senate seat he vacated), another father-child pair is experiencing trouble. U.S. Senator Ted Stevens has been under fire in recent days for attempting to block common sense legislation to let the public track government spending.

CA: Deal Cut on Global Warming Package, Popular Vote Advances to Gov

In California, progressives have good news in droves. In addition to the passage of a single-payer system to extend health insurance to all Californians in a cost-effective manner, the state legislature has advanced several other key pieces of legislation. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut a deal to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in California, making the state to put significant teeth into an effort to fight global warming across the board.

Outrages of the Week

  1. NY: Lame Duck Pataki Waddles the Way the Credit Card Companies Want

CA: Major Boost for National Popular Vote Plan

California's State Senate has approved a plan for the union's largest state to join an interstate compact that would effectively end the electoral college and allow the victor of the popular vote to become the President. The plan is simple, members of the compact award their electors not to the candidate who won their own state, but to the candidate who won the national vote. The compact only goes into effect once enough states have signed on to constitute an electoral majority.