Democracy Down a Body Part

I, The Dreamboat of Voting, the VoteBoatNoter, just finished two terms as president of my local chapter of the League of Women Voters.  It’s quite a fun ride, being a local LWV president, but you’re constrained by rules of decorum so you can’t go yelling “woo-hoo” and “aaaaaaah” all the time like you might on a roller coaster.  More to the point, you can’t go around criticizing candidates in elections, and you’re not supposed to whine publicly about the doings or positions of other levels of the League.

As of this week, I’m done with that.  Woo-hoo!

Last week I couldn’t, but now I can tell you how disappointed I am by Justice Elena Kagan’s vote in the Proposition 8 case:  Extremely.  The electorate is a second legislature in California, and its leaders for any particular ballot measure are the people who propose the measure.  There is no set term limit for this type of leadership, because the general rule is that California ballot measures, once enacted, have no expiration date.  One ballot measure can only be erased by another ballot measure.

Denying our legislative leaders the right to defend our laws in federal court disrespected our democracy.  In a nutshell, the Prop. 8 decision simply denied legislative leaders from California the right to defend California laws in federal court.  IMHO, that was wrong.

There was no word from The Court about whether Prop. 8 was constitutional.  And because there has been no ballot measure to erase Prop. 8 (even though a repeal would have passed if put on the ballot), its words are still in state law, ready to be revived in effect if The Court eventually holds that a State may indeed limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Justice Kagan and her court not only disrespected our democracy, they visibly injured the oft-derided but generally cherished California initiative.  Aaaaaargh!

I’ve been trying to come up with a good bodily injury description of what five Justices did (over the dissent of four).  They “cut the index fingers off of the initiative?”  (Both right and left fingers, since proponents from either side may no longer raise their fingers to make points in federal court?)  “Cut off its legs,” so it can’t walk up the courthouse steps?  Got another idea?

What makes this particularly gut-wrenching for me (and why I’m only talking about Justice Kagan even though she didn’t write the opinion) is that Justice Kagan is a family friend.  She even came to my nephew’s bar mitzvah!  Oy.

Posted in California, League of Women Voters, SCOTUS, Voter Initiative | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

M.I.T. guy says Internet voting is at least two decades away

I’ll check back in 20 years, then.

The Hartford (CT) Courant covers a confab:
Online Voting: Security Issues Remain A Major Hurdle

And speaking of Connecticut and connectedness, have you seen this picture of the state’s House of Representatives?

Seriously, why listen to the minority leader??

Troubling Technology: Ballot-box ballast.

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What does the League of Women Voters have against breathing ozone?

For the League of Women Voters, protecting public health by reducing air pollution is a priority issue.  The League’s National President Elisabeth MacNamara said this after President Obama’s decided not to tighten the ozone standard issued in the W. Bush years:

“In the face of political pressure from polluters, President Obama has backed down, a decision which will hurt those most threatened by air pollution, particularly children and seniors. Public opinion is clear – clean air and public health are more important than polluter profits. The science is clear – a new clean air standard for ozone smog is needed to protect peoples’ health.

“The League of Women Voters is deeply disappointed that President Obama has chosen more air pollution over the health of children and families and that he chose to announce his decision on a day when most Americans are thinking more about the long Labor Day weekend than about the implications of this hurtful decision. We expected better from our President.”

“Ozone smog”?  I thought ozone was good!  Ah, now I remember: The ozone way up above the earth, almost in space, protects us.  But ozone down around us, in the local atmosphere, made when sunlight hits pollution, causes asthma and other lung disease.

Is a year and a half of waiting and extra public health suffering worth the political gain?  I suppose Obama, re-elected, would do a better job of protecting the Clean Air Act than would a rabid Republican with a Republican House of Representatives and a Senate vulnerable to Republican-led filibusters.  We can hope that Obama’s move was intended to improve the long-term picture for public health.

But when the League of Women Voters starts getting impatient for “change,” watch out!

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Not Funny.

“Karlman” calls voters morons here.

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Is the polling place sinking?

Did Norman Rockwell ever paint a picture of a polling place?

If so, it probably influenced Gregory Rodriguez when he wrote this plea to preserve the precinct polling place: “Restoring the lost thrill of election day

When was the last time you found at-polls voting to be a thrilling community experience?

Was it in Los Angeles?

Restoring the lost thrill of election day

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Federalism, will you be mine?

Interesting reactions to the rulings holding the “Defense of Marriage Act” unconstitutional:


Federalism is everyone’s bitch. Neither side takes a consistent position with it – the left and the right favor it when it suits them, and each side likes to point out the inconsistencies of the other side.


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Hello world!

Hello from the lovely realm of!

Let’s start by admitting that at some basic level all of us voters are in the same boat.

Now let’s float the VoteBoat!

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