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News :: Politics
Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
09 Dec 2004
A bill proposing to repeal the Commonwealth's ban on "cross endorsement" voting was filed in the House of Representatives on December 1. It is titled "An Act Providing Voters with More Ballot Choices."

Lifting the ban would allow two political parties to nominate and vote for the same candidate. This type of voting helps minor parties to build their strength, while avoiding the common pitfalls of the winner-take-all, two-party system. Supporters of a minor political party's platform are often reluctant to waste their vote on a candidate with no chance of winning - or in a close vote - inadvertently defeating the major party candidate who more nearly shares their views.
A bill proposing to repeal the Commonwealth's ban on "cross endorsement" voting was filed in the House of Representatives on December 1. It is titled "An Act Providing Voters with More Ballot Choices."

Lifting the ban would allow two political parties to nominate and vote for the same candidate. This type of voting helps minor parties to build their strength, while avoiding the common pitfalls of the winner-take-all, two-party system. Supporters of a minor political party's platform are often reluctant to waste their vote on a candidate with no chance of winning - or in a close vote - inadvertently defeating the major party candidate who more nearly shares their views.

"Many voters are dissatisfied with the choice of candidates offered in elections. The current law relegates independent candidates and third parties to the role of spoilers and citizens who support them too often end up wasting their votes," said State Representative Patricia Jehlen who sponsored the bill. "Repealing the state's ban on cross-endorsement allows new parties to present additional choices and permits voters to make their voices heard while still having their votes count for a viable candidate."

Current co-sponsors include Representatives Byron Rushing, Anne Paulsen, Ellen Story, Benjamin Swan and Senator Robert L. Hedlund. More legislators are expected to co-sponsor prior to the Dec. 15 deadline.

Supporters of the cross endorsement legislation believe that it would make Massachusetts elections more competitive and draw more voters into the political process. Many labor unions and community organizations are particularly supportive because the measure would allow minor parties to hold major party candidates more accountable to their issues.

Minor political parties have been endorsing major party candidates in New York for many years and have recently revived the practice in Connecticut. Five other states also permit it.

The bill is backed by "More Choices, More Voices" a campaign group that includes a dozen Massachusetts labor organizations and the Boston-based community groups ACORN and City Life/Vida Urbana.

Copies of the legislation may be obtained from Rep. Jehlen at the statehouse (617-722-2676) or from Rand Wilson at the above number.

# # #

[Editor's addition- Here is the bill verbatim!]

PETITIONERS:
Byron Rushing 9th Suffolk
Anne Paulsen 24th Middlesex
Ellen Story 3rd Hampshire
Robert L. Hedlund Plymouth/Norfolk
Benjamin Swan 11th Hampden

AN ACT AN ACT PROVIDING VOTERS WITH MORE BALLOT CHOICES

PREAMBLE: The people of Massachusetts expect and are entitled to meaningful participation in the Commonwealth’s system of democracy, based on the principle that all people have an equal say in the outcomes of elections. Many voters are dissatisfied with the choice of candidates offered in elections. The current law relegates independent candidates and third parties to the role of spoilers and citizens who support them too often end up wasting their votes. Repealing the State’s ban on cross-endorsement allows new parties to present additional choices and permits voters to make their voices heard while still having their votes counted for a viable candidate.

SECTION 1:
Section 6 of chapter 53 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2002 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the second paragraph. Section 48 of said chapter 53, as so appearing is hereby amended by striking out the fourth paragraph.

SECTION 2:
Section 41 of chapter 54 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2002 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the fourth, fifth, and sixth paragraphs and inserting in place thereof the following paragraphs:
If a candidate shall receive the nomination of more than one party or more than one political designation for the same office, the candidate’s name shall appear once for each party or political designation received. The candidate shall specify the order in which the party or political designations will appear, provided that all parties shall be listed before all political designations. The ballot shall allow voters to select a candidate nominated by multiple parties or political designations under the party or political designation ballot line of their choice.

If technology allows, voting machines shall prevent a voter from voting more than the number of times permitted for any one office. If a voter votes for the same candidate for the same office on multiple party or political designation lines, the ballot shall remain valid and shall be counted as if the duplicate votes were a single vote for the candidate on a line without a party or political designation.

When elections are held for a full term and a partial term of the same office running concurrently, no person shall have their name printed on the official ballot or on ballot labels for both the election to fill the full term and the election to fill the partial term.

SECTION 3:
Section 13 of chapter 54 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after “within the time prescribed by section eleven for filing objections to certificates of nomination and nomination papers” the following words: "or within six days following any party’s primary elections with respect to the office, regardless of whether the candidate sought nomination or was nominated in such primary."

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Bill filed by Rep. Jehlen would allow two parties to nominate the same candidate, giving voters more choices
09 Dec 2004
hell no I am not ever again wasting my vote on a major party candidate!
Re: Bill filed by Rep. Jehlen would allow two parties to nominate the same candidate, giving voters more choices
09 Dec 2004
sorry they say it may be for good but I see it as only good for PDs. Greens and Libs could now vote for PDs but will the PDs vote for Greens or Libs-my guess is not?.....this bill seems very onesided.
Re: Bill filed by Rep. Jehlen would allow two parties to nominate the same candidate, giving voters more choices
09 Dec 2004
I don't agree, I think this would be a good development. It takes away the lesser of two evils argument. That argument was moot in the last San Francisco Mayoral election and look what happened, the Greens lost but only by a narrow margin, something like 3 percentage points.
Re: New state bill would allow voters second choice
09 Dec 2004
Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is the proper way to take away the lesser evil argument. Why not seek the most accurate intent of the voters? We have the computer power to do it. The answer is because the Democrats in this state want us to be stuck with a one party system.

The truth is the Democrats need IRV themselves to get better candidates in their own primary. The candidate for Governor that lost to Mitt Romney had very tepid support from her party. The primary was split five ways.

Cambridge already does the multiple seat version of IRV for the city council race and believe me, voters are plenty able to understand the system - it isn't "too complex." Much easier than programming a vcr, for example...

I believe this is an attempt to co-opt the Green-Rainbow Party and other third party movements in this state. It will pressure the GRP and others to cave in to demands of the more numerous democratic party instead of finally getting real about the fact that the democrats work for the exact same people (monied interests, actually) that the republicans work for.

While people in the Green-Rainbow Party have a range of views, in my view, my second choice to voting Green-Rainbow (or for someone like Nader) would be to boycott entirely. Playing into the two-branched-corporate-party system only helps the smoke and mirrors game. We reject both coke and pepsi!

And of course, all of this is assuming that our votes actually get counted and that voting systems have verifiable paper receipts.

Aimee Smith
female spokesperson Mystic River Green-Rainbow Action
Re: New state bill would allow voters second choice
09 Dec 2004
Bad news for everyone who isn't a Republican or Democrats: The Greens and Libertarians lost their ballot status due to not meeting the 3% requirement.
Re: New state bill would allow voters second choice
09 Dec 2004
This bill would not eliminate the "spoiler" arguement. All you would get would be a Working Families Party clone endorsing Dems on their ballot line. IRV is what is needed with a push for proportional representation in the future.
Re: New state bill would allow voters second choice
09 Dec 2004
"I believe this is an attempt to co-opt the Green-Rainbow Party and other third party movements in this state."

Why do some people insist on reading malice into every strategic choice they disagree with? I can see arguing that it's a bad idea, but that progressive Democrats are out there maliciously plotting to co-opt the Greens I find hard to swallow.

Some third parties actually advocate such laws as Jehlen is proposing though, which would allow them to follow a strategy they call "fusion". The New Party (http://www.newparty.org/ ) is a good example.

I think we can debate the pros and cons of these various measures (or we can support both), but can we refrain from casting aspersions on other people's motives without good evidence that they are trying to be underhanded?
Re: New state bill would allow voters second choice
09 Dec 2004
Dear Muskrat,
The only evidence I have to suggest that Democrats are trying to co-opt the efforts of the Green-Rainbow party is the attempts of Dems to discourage Carolina Johnson from running against an *unopposed* state rep in Cambridge this past election cycle, from groups like CPPAX, the Sierra Club and many LGBT orgs that would not even consider endorsing any GRP candidates that are not articulating a fusion type strategy of uniting progressive dems and GRP folks, AND from the Democratic controlled state legislature's refusal to propose IRV and willingness to kill the clean elections bill. There are reasons people in office do not want to risk bringing in a new system that could put themselves out of work. It is understandable, but it is not the most democratic direction to take.

Lastly, rather than look at what the New Party is calling for, why not look and see what the active third parties in this state are calling for? The Green-Rainbow Party has consistently supported publicly funded elections and instant runoff voting. The vast majority of people in the state voted on a ballot initiative to have publicly funded elections and the state legislature voted it down without even having the decency to call for a roll call vote and let their positions be recorded. Sad to say, but I think there has to be some reason for this gap between the will of the people of the state of Massachusetts and the actions of our state legislature. What could that reason be? You tell me, Muskrat. But my guess is Democrats want to hang on to their near political monopoly status in Mass by any means necessary - even when it requires defying the will of the voters as in the publicly funded elections case. And I also suspect they would rather deal with losing a governor's race to a Republican than open the field up to challenges from the left by instituting IRV to help them in their own primaries.

I also would like to point out that the original article's title is misleading. IRV would allow *voters* a second choice. This bill would allow *candidates* a second choice of party. In fact, this bill is more likely to lead to fewer candidates to choose from on a ballot.

Sincerely,
Aimee Smith
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
can someone explain the difference between cross-endorsement and instant runoff voting and how they both work? it sounds interesting but it's not entirely clear
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
Aimee, the problem is that your treating the Democratic Party as if it's this monolithic thing. It's not. Certainly, the national leadership of the Democratic Party has been hijacked by a bunch of neoliberals. The state leadership also leaves much to be desired. Doubtless these mainstream Democrats are not interested in ifxing the system, probably because they don't even think it's broken. There are still progressive Democrats out there though--and Jehlen and Rushing, two of the sponsors of this bill, are among them. They are among the best people in the state legislature, who have consistently fought for progressive legislation. You may be correct in your critique of the effects of the fusion strategy (I don't know enough about the issue to say), but the idea that folks like Jehlen and Rushing are deliberately trying to co-opt progressive third parties I find bizarre. (As an aside, it's also worth noting that much of the base of the Democratic Party remains progressive as well--I saw delegates to the DNC at some of the protests during the DNC. That would seem to indicate soem discontent with the direction the party has taken.)
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
upon further investigation (reading the bill I just posted above) I agree with the IRV supporters on here in that this bill isn't going to solve the spoiler effect problems.

Instead, it seems like it will encourage smaller parties to fall under the wing of the larger ones. There is the small positive effect that in a tight race a candidate will feel compelled to woo the small parties. The smaller parties would have big leverage in such a situation but only in that situation.

In my own opinion, IRV is a better idea but it should still be viewed only as a step towards a radically different system such as proportional representation.
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
So Aimee, you mentioned Carolina Johnson. I wasn't in her disctrict and I didn't pay much attention, but I met her and she seemed cool. But of course the Dems opposed her--she was running against one of them. This doesn't mean that progressive Dems like Jehlen and Rushing aren't to be trusted! She was taking on Wold, not a radical, but not awful either. I can't say I was too clear on what made Carolina better. If she'd been running against a conservative Dem (take your pick in this legislature!), I'll bet that she would have found more support from grassroots Dems.
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) means you rank your choices for an elected office on your ballot. That means if I most prefer the Green-Rainbow candidate, I rank that candidate number 1. If I prefer the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate, I can then rank the Democrat number 2. If my 1st choice loses, my vote then gets *transfered* to the Democratic candidate. This helps get a better picture of who the voters most support as the winner.

This "cross-registration" system is called fusion voting in states like NY. It allows a third party to register people in their party and if they choose, throw their weight behind a manistream party candidate by nominating the same candidate but on their party's ballot line. This way. people can vote for that more mainstream candidate, but still voice the fact that they more support the platform and vision of the smaller party. In this way, the smaller party can have some lobbying power with the bigger party - it can say, "hey, you needed us to win, you will need us again next time" and thus possibly get some of its policies adopted by the larger party.

The danger with this route is that you are building from the get go to influence a main stream party rather than to build an independent grassroots party that doesn't have to compromise with a group that gets its funding and direction from the wealthiest sectors of society. We want the Green party nationally and the Green-Rainbow Party in Mass to be a movement and a party at the same time - a sort of electoral wing of the anti-globalization and anti-empire movements. If we have to always lobby our program to trans-national-corporation shareholders, we will always be silenced. We need to build an independent voice that is not for sale.

In theory having the option of fusion *and* IRV would be good. Parties should have more freedom to choose their strategy. What I am concerned about is pushing fusion without also pushing IRV as being a way to sound like the electoral system is being reformed to give more choices to voters, when in fact it is not. (Member campaign finance reform at the national level? A good title, but actually made the rules more corrupt if you looked at the actual changes.)

My only criticism of Byron Rushing and Pat Jehlen (and Dennis Kucinich) is that they are on the wrong ship, a party that will constrain them no matter how sincere and good they are. This is my view. Whether they see this bill as a small step towards opening things up or are out to pull us who would otherwise be part of their base into their fold, I cannot say. They know their hearts. But whatever their intentions, the *effect* of this action will be to pressure third parties to knuckle under to the dictates of the larger parties, and in this state that is the same party that Rushing and Jehlen are members of: the Democrats.

Sincerely,
Aimee Smith

PS an article on IRV can be found here:
http://mit.edu/thistle/www/v15/3/voting.html
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
Dear Wondering,
It isn't so much whether progressive dems support Carolina, but some were telling her not to run! Just as progressive dems and shamefully even some Green-Rainbow Party members were telling Nader not to run. That is anti-democratic. People have a right to run, that is the whole point of elections.

Johnson was running against Wolf, who was strong on most issues, except when it came to voting for speaker Finneran. Wolf could have supported Byron Rushing for speaker as many progressives were urging her to do, yet she voted for Finneran, who would then undercut everything else she hoped to work for.

Also, Carolina Johnson was allowing Green-Rainbows in the district a chance to vote for someone in our party - for people who believe that no real change will ever come through the pro-corporate and pro-war democratic party, it is good to have the chance to vote for someone who shares our vision.

Certainly Jehlen, Wolf and Rushing are not "out to get" people like Johnson personally nor vice versa. Different visions exist about how to make positive change. Some think they can reform the Democratic Party from within. We in the Green-Rainbow Party for the most part feel that that is impossible and that we need an entirely new party structure that is accountable to *people* and *values* instead of to *dollars.* It will take time to build such a party, but the sooner we stop looking to a corporate-owned party to solve our problems the sooner we can build the real forces that can bring change, be that via electoral politics and/or direct action. It was shameful to see the bulk of the anti-war movement rally behind a pro-war candidate. We need to not be taken in by the illusion that these two parties (Rep & Dem) are different because they are actually two heads of one pro-war, pro-corporate beast.

Sincerely,
Aimee Smith

http://www.green-rainbow.org
http://www.green-rainbow.org/mrg
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
Dear Wondering,

Jill Stein ran against a conservative Dem and while she got grassroots support from Dems, and raised quite a bit of money, it only translated into 21% of the vote.

Turns out that Jay Kaufman, a "progressive" Dem decided that her opponent needed to be supported because he voted to support gay marriage (after Jill announced she would run).

It seems to me that "progressive" Dems are more Democrats than progressives. After all they supported a conservative like Dean. Not much of a surprise there.

If this bill is just another way to get us to vote for Dems, then they can keep it. I'll work for true democracy.
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
Why is it so strange that Democrats would try to co-opt Greens and the Green-Rainbow party, and make moves appropriate to that goal? Lotsa Dems on the liberal wing of their party think that Greens really "belong" in the Democratic fold and want us "back" to help them in their efforts to gain control of the Dem party machinery.

In fact, liberals organized in a group called Progressive Democrats have a strong chapter in Somerville, where Rep. Jehlen, who sponsored the fusion bill, lives. Carl Sciortino of Somerville Progressive Democrats was just elected state rep, and Green-Rainbows supported him . Last year the Cambridge PDs and Green-Rainbow held a joint forum for city council candidates. PDs have suggested inserting the international Greens' "Ten Key Values" into the State Democratic platform.

Now, what is the track record of third parties under "Fusion" voting in New York State? They have, without exception, become factions within the Democrat and Republican parties. Third parties in NY sometimes get hundreds of thousands of votes, but these votes always go to Dems and Reps. Fusion means you don't run your own candidates. The Fusion third party chiefs then get to be big shots, but what do their "followers" get?

The Mass. Rainbow Coalition Party originally advocated the Fusion ballot before last year's merger with the Greens, so there may still be some sentiment for that in the Green-Rainbow party. Whatever the merits ten years ago, I think it's a mistake today, for the same reasons that liberal Democrats [who ignored the Rainbow's proposal ten year ago] may now think it's a good idea.

It's almost impossible to get meaningful change through electoral politics alone. That's why Green-Rainbow should be a party of direct action and not just an electoral party. Fusion would stop this happening by closely binding us to major-party candidates who will want us to join them in kissing the ass of power. IRV at least keeps open the possibility of a different kind of politics.
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
I heard about Stein's Congressional run for the 9th Middlesex (Lexington/Waltham) seat. She even beat a Republican!
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
OK, Aimee, now you're making a lot more sense to me. You're explaining why this bill is strategically a bad idea, rather than attacking the character of the people sponsoring it because they have different ideas of strategy than you. Or perhaps you (and Bill, who is now making similar claims) don't mean "co-opt" in the really negative way I took it--but when people on the left use that word, they generally don't mean anything nice by it. Bill, I see what you're saying--doubtless progressive Democrats think trying to take over the Democratic Party is the best strategy, rather than trying to build a third. My question is, is it so bad if they want to incorporate the Greens' ten key values into the Democratic Party platform? I should think you Greens would be flattered--it means that progressive Democrats feel like they have something to learn from you, even if you guys differ on some pretty major strategic choices here. And if they did succeed in incorporating the Greens' ten key values into the Democratic platform, that would be a positive step forward. May be it's not the victory you guys would like (and there will certainly be a long way more to go), but you would still have had an effect on the electoral process. Even when movement produce positive results, they're not always exactly what the people invovled in the movement wanted--but we should still treat them as victories.

One suggestion. Jehlen has always seemed pretty accessible to me. Why not get in touch with her, offer to support her on this bill, offer to endorse her as a fusion candidate if it passes--and ask her to support an IRV bill in return. Build an alliance with her. We'll all be much better off if Greens and progressive Democrats found ways to work with each other instead of being at odds.
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
This bill is complete crap. Obviosuly, democrats do not follow the same party line as greens and other slightly further left reformist factions. If they had, more anti-republicans would have voted for the dems, whereas, in reality, many obstained (as opposed to voting for Kerry) because it is abundently obvious that the dems follow the republican's party line. Try reading the platforms. War, NAFTA, Patriot Act, Gay Marrige, and much much more. The democrats and bandwagon dems failed. When will people learn that in this electoral system, you lose either way. The best of two evils doesnt change the evil part. We can no longer expect that politicians can make our decisions for us. Govenment only exists because people allow it to. All we have to do is stop letting politicians control us like the schoolyard bullys they are.
This bill gives voters more choices like capitalism gives consumers the choice between coke and pepsi. There is no choice, its just a ploy to disctract and pacify us. It gives other candidates with other opinions less chances. This is one further step to complete centralization of power. At this point, I wouldn't be suprised with the democrats and the republicans became one party: The Corporate-Control Party.
Lets start making decisions as the people effected by them, as communities, with every voice counted. Politics unnessecarily replace conversation.

Down with government
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
Dear Muskrat,
A lot of Green-Rainbow people worked to get Denise Provost elected to the board of Alderpersons in Somerville, yet tonight I hear she voted *against* the Divestment Resolution, even as she had been one of its eight co-sponsors. That resolution had its problems in that it did not go far enough in addressing the reality of the imbalance of power and the root causes of the conflict (i.e. the Zionist genocide against the native Palestinians), but Provost was not even willing to make that very mild statement against an illegitimate country that is waging a genocidal campaign. How many times do we have to see this happen before we finally realize that we need to build something independent outside of the corporate owned and operated republicratic party and corporate media system?

Words in a platform that doesn't get followed are not even a symbolic victory. The Democratic party platform is irrelevant. And besides, the 10 key values are not words, they are values that we in the Green and Green-Rainbow Party commit to uphold. For the Democratic Party, the 10 key values would only be that much more meaningless spin.

What we need is actually forces of people who stand in solidarity together against racism (including Zionism), against police repression, against economic cleansing via tossing out rent control and the many other things that shred our community. Until we figure out how to do that, Muskrat, we are in no position to do anything except beg for crumbs from the corporate interests who run everything.

We want a different kind of politics entirely - not deal making, but sincerity, inclusion, mutual respect, valuing people and the environment. Trading and dealmaking have yet to take us forward. The Democratic Presidential candidate won't even demand that our votes be counted. If that doesn't convince you that it is time to build something new, I can't think what will.

It is a better use of our energy to work to build the kind of grassroots community solidarity that can demand real change rather than to promote half-baked reforms in the hopes of someday getting the real deal - especially since the most Jehlen could promise to deliver would be to introduce IRV, whether it passes or not is a whole different matter.

Sincerely,
Aimee Smith
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
Let me get this right. Jehlen can't gaurantee to get the IRV passed, so she shouldn't even introduce it? Who do you want to introduce it? As I read what you say, it would be pretty hard for a Green to get elected without IRV. Well then, you need some allies to introduce it for you. (Or I suppose you could try a state-wide referendum.)

I understand your critique of the Democratic Party. Believe it or not, I voted Green in the last presidential election. (And if I had lived in a swing state, I would have voted for Kerry and then headed for the nearest barf bag.) Given the opportunity, I have voted Green in local elections. I have also been perfectly happy to vote for progressive Democrats. Honestly, I'm happy if I can find anyone progressive on the ballot who has more than a snowball's chance in hell of winning, regardless of what party they belong to. Also, as I read the history of American elections, we need both third parties and progressives in one of the major parties. Third parties have never fared well on their own, but they have at times created enough pressure on one or both of the major parties to force them to move to the left--but if a major party is to move to the left, there have to be progressives within the party trying to do that.

Now, if we could reform the whole electoral system that might considerably change the fortunes of third parties--but I think that's gonna be a long time a-comin'. Also, say the Greens do become a major party--I suspect they will suffer the fate of the Greens in Germany (or what has befallen the Democrats in this country for that matter). While they will introduce some progressive legislation, work some fixes, they will inevitably move ever to the right in a quest for legitimacy within the electoral system. In some ways, Boston A is right. The problem runs much deeper than the electoral system--the problem is the state as a form of social organization. Where I differ from Boston A is that I think struggles for reforms can open up the possibilities for more radical transformations (non-reformist reforms as they're sometimes called)--I support progressive politicians in the hopes of seeing some such reforms being enacted (though those politicians need to be supported/pressured by direct action in the streets--otherwise centrist and right-wing politicians will never move on this stuff), not because I think the party system itself can ever be made to work justly.
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
10 Dec 2004
Dear Muskrat,
Getting the IRV Bill introduced isn't the problem. Getting enough votes to have it pass is the problem. A ballot initiative should be the way around the problem except that the state legislature has shown thier willingness to defy the will of the voters with for example their killing of clean elections and the machinations used to end rent control.

Sincerely,
Aimee Smith
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
14 Dec 2004
Maybe it would be a good idea to get an IRV bill introduced, even if the votes aren't there to pass it yet. At least it might generate some publicity and give us a sense of how much support is out there. Anyone know if any of the legislators have been approached about this and what their reaction was?

A successful statewide referendum campaign would require quite a bit of work, even if there's no organized opposition - but perhaps it could be combined with the effort to get statewide Green-Rainbow candidates on the ballot next year.

The cross-endorsement bill itself seems worthy of support - at least it provides us with an additional strategic option (whether or not we decide to make us of it is another question).

I think it'll be hard to get a lot of people fired up about either cross-endorsement or IRV until there are enough GRP votes out there to make a difference in election outcomes.
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
18 Dec 2004
Hi Bill -- Bills on IRV were introduced in Dec. 2002. There were three, one for statewide offices such as governor, lt. gov, AG, treasurer etc., general elections; a second for the same offices, primary elections; and a third for U.S. congress (meaning for the reps from MA, because the state legislature has jurisdiction over that.) Ellen Story and Alice Wolf filed the bills.

Not sure whether these bills just die when they're left in committee and the session ends? mass.gov shows that they are sitting in the Joint Committee on Election Laws, but we're in a new session now, right, so would they have to be re-filed? Not sure. The bill numbers were #2952, #2784 and #2785, all House bills.

See also www.massirv.org, the coalition to pass IRV in MA; and Fair Vote Massachusetts, which is working on both IRV and PR in MA.
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
25 Dec 2004
Fusion is a terrible idea for one simple reason: in reality, it gives voters FEWER choices. For example, last November we had four parties and four candidates, i.e. _four_ choices. If we had fusion, and the greens nominated Kerry and the libertarians nominated Bush, we would have had _two_ choices. It's that simple. Fusion leads to fewer choices.

The argument that fusion would allow third party voters to vote for a major party candidate but stay in their own party is extremely weak at best, misleading at worst. Let's say Kerry got 30% of his votes on the Dem line and 70% of his votes on the Green line. Could you then conclude that Kerry represents green values better than dem values? Of course not. It would be misleading... here's an example: Kerry supports the death penalty, greens strongly oppose it, dems waffle. In the case where the split was 30/70 as I mentioned, undoubtedly someone would argue that Kerry's strong support among greens indicates that most greens actually support the death penalty. This muddies the waters even more, leads us to fight amongst ourselves, and the result is the republicans win.

Even if we did accept the argument that fusion would still allow two candidates to be considered "four choices" it still doesn't give us more choices, as advertised. In that case we go from four to, um, "four". Strike two.

Finally, any potential success of fusion depends heavily on the premise that people actually would nominate candidates in other parties, based on the argument that they are more "electable". If that person actually felt that candidate genuinely reflected their values they would switch parties themselves! A green member who was truly enthralled with Kerry would most likely become a dem!

So even if we were to buy the argument that fusion will work because people will compromise their values to support someone more "electable", it leads us to the doomsday scenario: In 2008 the republicans nominate Cheney. The dems, in desperation, go beyond the Gore/Kerry threshold of "electability" and nominate... McCAIN!!! Fusion would then give us the utopian vision of being able to vote for a republican as a republican, a dem, or a green. How nice.

For all the reasons above, fusion is short-sighted, dangerous, and anti-democratic. IRV is the only way to achieve the goal of re-uniting progressives and finally put an end to the self-destructive bickering the goes on between greens and progressive dems.

I hope you will all support the upcoming IRV campaign. I haven't updated the MassIRV site since the Election Laws Committee hearing last September, but things are brewing once again. Please keep an eye on www.massirv.org for the latest news... January will be exciting!

-Rich Zitola
co-founder, MassIRV
former Green-Rainbow candidate for State Senate
Re: Proposed bill would allow two parties to endorse the same candidate, giving voters more choices
04 Jan 2005
As a progressive Dem, I find it very interesting that the Green/Rainbow people who have posted on this website are just as protective of their Party as are Democrats and Republicans. Shouldn't it be about electing the best candidates...those that will fight for the issues we care about. You all may not want to hear this, but you're protecting an instituion, not your ideals. You're protecting the Green Party. To suggest that Rushing and Jehlen are anything less than true progressives to be held up for praise, is insane. Aimee, I'm afraid you're blinded by Party, a charge you would no doubt level on those in major parties. It's not about Party, it's about issues, about people. I know this has nothing to do with fusion voting or IRV but I felt like saying it.