Saturday, January 13, 2007

SOTS Agenda: Election Security

The Secretary of the State's office has released its legislative agenda:
Hoping to make Connecticut a national model for safe elections, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz unveiled a proposal this week calling for mandatory annual audits of one-fifth of all polling places.

Other pieces of Bysiewicz's 2007 legislative agenda include:

* Requiring all cities and towns to adopt a municipal code of ethics.

* Creating a new "do-not-call" list for households that don't want to receive automated telephone calls containing political messages. The bill would make it illegal to place calls to such households, a system already in place in Connecticut to restrict commercial marketing calls.

* Returning the deadline for candidates looking to petition onto the state ballot without major-party affiliation to one month before the primaries. (Phaneuf)

That last one matters. Joe Lieberman could file to run as an independent the day after the primary--the new rule would move the filing deadline back to a month before the primary, which is where it was before the primary was moved to August.

The audits are a good idea, as is the code of ethics.

And sign me up for a political "do not call" list! I swear, if I never hear Bill Clinton coming out of my answering machine again, I'll be very happy.

Phaneuf, Keith. "Secretary of the state would make Conn. national model for election security." Journal-Inquirer 12 January, 2007.


Anonymous said...

Political speech is protected speech, and I think the do not call list may have to be considered against the First Amendment and state constitution.

Indiana has a system whereby an operator asks if you will accept the call or not. If no messages are allowed, and people may decline, then all who wish not to receive the message can do so.

If robocalls are allowed in any form (such as operator mediated), I favor AT THE GIT GO, right up front, a statement of who is paying for the call and in support of what candidate.

The use of misleading and negative calls that are automatically broadcast does not move political discourse in a positive direction.

We also need to consider why it is that our candidates and parties feel they must resort to automated calls to get voters' attention.

I have a feeling there are some very fundamental questions and some hard soul searching to be done here that goes far beyond robocalls and gets to the loss of democracy -- by attrition from the process, because people don't feel represented and they feel it's a fool's errand to bother trying to fix that.

fuzzyturtle said...

if I never hear Bill Clinton coming out of my answering machine again, I'll be very happy.

his voice was the ONLY ONE that made me smile. Joe, on the other hand, made me homicidal. And dont get me started on the troll-like Nancy Johnson...!!! She OWES ME A NEW PHONE AFTER I THREW IT OUT THE WINDOW. Nasty old cow.

bluecoat said...

Free speech is protected but I am not sure that unsolicited "in your face" speech is - and that's exactly how I see political calls to my telephone that I pay for to use as I wish or don't wish.

Anonymous said...

Running for Governor eh?

1. The Secretary of State cares because??? Will it require that you don't use government funds to advertise the victory of an elected official at a parade?

2. Odd to have a "constitutional officer" who has never heard of the Constitution. Nothing really more protected than freedom of political speech.

3. Wonder where this idea came from?

Anonymous said...

Yeah - Bysiewicz should be talking ethics after what she has been doing misusing taxpayer money and funds in her own office..
HaH! That's rich!

Anonymous said...

"Returning the deadline for candidates looking to petition onto the state ballot without major-party affiliation to one month before the primaries."

Reply: Sorry, I think that's too complicated - fool me once, etc. I can't believe people just sat there and took it when a little "mistake" with the petitioning candidate deadline led to the primary results being a wasted exercise. Remind me again who pays for this?

I have a different idea: Make the deadline for candidates looking to petition onto the state ballot the same date as the date for major party candidates to enter the race.

If a major party candidate is thinking of petitioning if they lose the primary, and if CT persists in not adopting a law that prevents primary losers from running in the same election, then I think not only voters, but also 1) donors to candidates and 2)political parties investing expertise, donations, and volunteer time DESERVE to know that up front, fair and square, before they decide to support them.

If there is some reason to preserve the late entry of third party candidates, then another approach would be for parties to ask candidates eligible for party support to agree to a condition that they respect the primary results of the race they are entering.

Taxpayers pay for primaries, and if e.g. only one particular office's candidates on a primary ballot, and then one of those candidates says, "I'll run in the general anyhow, because I like the cross-section of voters who will vote for me better", why did we just have a primary?

The key and overriding goal is to have an open and fair election. Endrunning the system in place is not, in my opinion, good for the system.

We need to make sure the system is clear, fair, open- but not susceptible to being gamed.

Anonymous said...

Susie B. Desperately seeking relevance

Anonymous said...

Could someone file as an independent and still run in the primary under SB's proposal? Connecticut politicians won't adopt a "sore loser" law and seem to like to keep their options open.

Mirror said...

No problem with her proposals but find it amusing that it has taken this long to audit local voting offices to find out if they are doing required work. Most registrars are paid little to perform work that could be done cheaper and more accurately by regional offices or the DMV. Anyone hear about susie making phone calls again to raise money for her next run for higher office??

Anonymous said...

anon 1/13/2007 01:41:05 PM:

You make a great point check out: NH Register:
Aide to foot cost of banner
(sorry can't do html)

I think the aid's purchase should be listed as an in - kind contribution. No Susan B. committee yet though - i'm going to keep checking CFIS (although she could have filed and just made it so it doesn't show up)