Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Voting reform goes down in CA and OH

The big news is obviously the defeat of a series of election reform proposals, including Proposition 77 in California and a batch of proposals forwarded by Reform Ohio Now!

I am of two minds about the California results. Many of my colleagues and friends in California opposed 77, as did Daniel Lowenstein of UCLA, whose opinion on election reform I respect. On the other hand, in the abstract I am a big fan of taking redistricting out of the hands of legislators, who face a conflict of interest every tiem they draw lines. My own work (Gronke and Wilson, LSQ), shows even when restricted by Justice Department preclearance provisions, legislators draw districts to benefit their own ambitions. I think that non-partisan commissions could go a long way toward reducing the partisanship that is infecting many of our state legislatures.

In Ohio, I can only assume that the reformers overreached. I suspect that no excuse absentee balloting will be passed by the legislature anyway; this movement seems unstoppable.

I'll look to others to unpack the results over the next 24 hours.


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