By Steve Doherty and Dan Geldon
Wednesday January 24, 2007
The Pentagon has a lot on its hands these days - keeping the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan, destroying al-Qaida and other terrorist infrastructure, and so on. But last year, it found itself preoccupied by another problem.
One of the biggest challenges in raising voter turnout is address the
rate of voter registration. The vast majority of states have
registration deadlines weeks before Election Day. The schedule poses
problems for busy Americans who simply forget to register or
re-register and find themselves unable to vote on Election Day. During
the 2000 Presidential election alone, nearly 3 million voters were disenfranchised due to registration problems. Luckily, a simple solution is available: Election Day Registration (EDR).
The Millenials are with us. America's youth -- the biggest generation
since the Baby Boom -- are voting more frequently than Generation X and
are voting far more progressively than the Reagan-raised generation
that proceeded them. You have probably already heard one of the most
impressive stats: young voters
went for Democrats by a margin of 60%-38% according to exit polls and 2
million more turned out to the polls than in 2002 -- the last mid-term
Even with the good news that came last Tuesday, all too much evidence exists that the basic machinery of democracy in America is broken. Election Day is like Groundhog Day and the first stories of problems with voting machines, long lines, or voter intimidation hit the wires in the early A.M. Fortunately, with progressives in control in more states than ever before, we have an opportunity to get the machinery working, so that the engine of democracy starts humming again.
This is unreal. It's three days after the election and we don't really know which party controls either chamber in the Montana legislature.
In 2005, Democrats won a clear 27-23 majority in the Senate, while the House ended up being a 50-50 dead tie after a recount and court ruling.
It's a big year for ballot issues. Mid-term elections, when no
President is being elected, typically see less activity on the ballot
issue front than Presidential years, but 2006 is proving to be an exception. Eighteen states will consider 76 ballot issues this fall, as high as its been since 1914 for a non-Presidential year.
Two years ago, Oregon voters were sold Measure 37 as a property rights issue. The measure, they were told, would
close loopholes governments used to regulate homeowners and prevent
unnecessary regulation. Backers downplayed other ramifications that are
now coming to light, ramifications that other states will face if
voters in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, or Washington approve initiatives modeled after Measure 37.
One Montana judge ruled last week that along with two other Howard Rich-backed initiatives, the "Stop OverSpending" measure based on Colorado's disastrous TABOR Amendment had been qualified for the ballot through illegal signature gathering.