OBAR News Roundup: Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In today’s news report, we have a bunch of journalists in Virginia wondering why they are not covering 3rd party candidates, Oklahoma House members abusing the public media office, an editorial questioning why we treat politicians as an elite class, the DNC chairwoman explaining the battle plan for the next election, survey showing that Oklahoma voters support judicial elections, and News OK reporter Michael McNutt joining Governor Fallin’s staff.

Journalist Wonder Why They’re Not Covering 3rd Parties

A bunch of Virginian journalists are wondering why other journalists aren’t covering the Libertarian candidate for Governor Robert Sarvis. They pose this question while they themselves practically ignore him at every turn. At least they are actually openly questioning their reporting.

OK House Members Abusing Public Media Office

A news report is showing that many members of the Oklahoma House are abusing the Public Media Office to send personal and campaign related materials. These self promotions are not what the Public Media Office was meant to relay, but they don’t have the discretion to not send them on.

Why Are Politicians Treated As An Elite Class?

A recent editorial question why politicians are increasingly treated as an elite class which is immune to many of the basic laws governing the rest of us. The Editorial also questions whether such immunity is even Constitutional.

DNC Chairwoman Outlines Battle Plans

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has sent out an email detailing the Democratic Party’s battle plan for coming elections. Part of that plan is to expand voting rights for all Americans. Would they support equal ballot access for alternative parties?

Most Oklahomans Support Judicial Elections

A recent poll of Oklahoma voters shows that the vast majority support elections for appellate justices and judges over the current commission based system. This poll comes in conjunction with a OK Sentate bill that would pose just such a question to voters in the 2014 election.

Michael McNutt To Join Governor Fallin’s Staff

Long time News OK political journalist Micheal McNutt will be joining Governor Fallin’s team as press secretary. He will be starting in that role within the week.

OBAR News Roundup: Monday, August 26, 2013

In the news from the past weekend, we have new poll data on who likes the federal government more than movies, Senator Coburn makes comments about impeaching President Obama, Oklahoma is losing its political clout, Oklahoma’s efforts to prevent cross state voter fraud, and how much effort and money it takes to get a question on the ballot.

More Democrats Like The Federal Government Than Republicans

New poll data from Gallup shows that more Democrats like the Federal Government than do Republicans. However, not a whole lot of Democrats are happy with it. Additionally, the younger you are, the more likely you are to be happy with the Federal Government. There is also some data about other private and public organizations and how much people like them.

Senator Coburn Makes Impeachment Comments

In a town hall meeting last week, Senator Coburn made some statements about potential impeachment proceedings against President Obama. These comments were not all that well received by the public or the White House.

Oklahoma Ranks 38th In Political Influence

In a recent ranking of the states based on the influence their congressmen have on federal policy, Oklahoma ranks 38th in the nation. This is a large fall from the 2001 high of 20th. This may be due to Oklahoma having 3 very new Congressmen in office.

Oklahoma Part Of Voter Fraud Prevention Program

Oklahoma is one of 24 states to enter into a program to prevent potential voter fraud in which voters register in multiple states and vote in each. While this program has yet to reveal any substantial fraud, with only one case being referred to prosecution in Oklahoma, it has at least helped clear the rolls of duplicate registrations.

Democracy Resources Posts Initiative Costs

Democracy Resources, a professional petitioning service, has posted the costs and potential timelines for getting a state question on the November 2014 ballot for a number of states including Oklahoma. To get a statutory question, the type that Ballot Access Reform would be, it would cost $266,085. More on this later.

OBAR News Roundup: Friday, August 23, 2013

In the news from the last few days we have several lawsuits involving election and ballot access laws. We have some complaints about and suggestions for the current political process. We also have some interesting data about where income is coming and going in the US.

Three Lawsuits Filed Against North Carolina Election Law

Three separate lawsuits have been filed against the election bill signed into law by the North Carolina Governor. Two lawsuits are over the voter ID requirements and one is regarding provisions changing early voting.

US Government Files Lawsuit Over Texas VoterID Law

After the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, the US Attorney General continued the fight against restrictive voting regulations. He has filed a lawsuit against Texas’ recent voter ID law.

Kansas And Arizona File Joint Lawsuit

Kansas and Arizona both had a change to their voter registration forms struck down. These changes required proof of citizenship to be included with the voter registration form. These were struck down as they did not conform with federal regulations. Kansas and Arizona have filed suit to have these regulations brought back.

Budgets Should Be Created In The Public Eye

After a failed lawsuit to block a $2 million appropriation to a private livestock show, NewsOK believes the bigger problem is that such spending is added to appropriations bills without proper oversight. The editorial board feels that each item should get public scrutiny.

True To Party But Still Vote On Character

One Tulsa World reader believes that it is possible to be true to your party and still vote for people based on character. We just need to stop voting blindly for party. Not all candidates running for office under a party label would be good for the citizens.

Tulsa Approves $918 Million Capital Improvement Deal

The Tulsa City Council has worked out a deal with Tulsa County and will be placing a $918 million capital improvement question on the coming November ballot.

Oklahoma Lost Over $400 Million In Income From 2000 to 2010

A recent review of census data organized the flow of income in and out of states over the course of 10 years from 2000 to 2010. In this data, we see that some of the biggest losses are in California and New York while Texas and Florida made some of the biggest gains. Oklahoma was in the negative with a loss of over $400 million in that period.

OBAR News Roundup: Wednesday August 21, 2013

It has been a slow news week this week, but I managed to find a few interesting stories.

Otter Limits Interview With RJ Harris

Steve Long, the host of the Otter Limits, had as a guest on his show Democratic Candidate for Governor RJ Harris. They talked a lot about various policy issues as well as ballot access. You should certainly listen in on the interview. It happens toward the middle of the program if you want to skip right too it.

Should Tulsa Mayoral Race Be Partisan?

One Tulsa World reader finds the new non-partisan nature of the Tulsa Mayoral elections to be rather pointless. He believes that because it is so easy to find out what party each candidate is a member of, making the race non-partisan does not mean anything.

Three Studies On California’s Top-Two Primary

Three separate studies have been performed on California’s new top-two primary. The primary change was meant to bring in more moderate candidates to office. However, the studies show that has not happened and may have further polarized politics.

Tulsa Mayor Vetoes Change In City Attorney Appointments

The mayor of Tulsa vetoed a policy change that would have increased the city council’s ability to oversee the appointment of city attorneys. He feels that it is not a change that would result in better governance of Tulsa.

Tulsa County Residence May Be Hit With Two Sales Tax Raises

The City of Tulsa and Tulsa County are both looking to have a sales tax increase of 0.167 cents on the November 12 ballot. They had tried to work out a compromise that would have staggered the proposals between two seperate elections, but no compromise was found. So many Tulsa County voters will likely have two seperate questions asking for a sales tax increase.

Norman To Raise Water Rates

Having not raised water rates since 1996 and facing a $63 million modernization fee, Norman is looking to raise the water rates. However, the city council is unable to work out how they want to increase the rates Norman residents pay.

Supreme Court Behind The Technological Times

Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan has stated in an interview and most of the US Supreme Court Justices do not fully understand modern technology and still use paper memos to communicate with one another.

OBAR News Roundup: Friday, August 16, 2013

Judge Overturns 2010 Ballot Measure

In 2010, over 70%  of voters approved SQ755 which would have banned international and religious law, specifically Sharia law, from consideration in court. That questions was promptly challenged by CAIR, an advocacy organization for Islamic Americans. A US District Court Judge has now ruled that the law cannot go into effect. The ruling states that the law violates the religious freedoms of individuals in Oklahoma.

GOP Distancing Itself From Mitt Romney

After the failed presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, the 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls are busy trying to distance themselves from the former candidate.

GOP Seeking to Ban CNN and NBC From Debates

CNN and NBC are both looking to air documentaries and mini-series about Hillary Clinton. Because of this, the GOP is going to vote on whether to allow those two networks to take part in any GOP debates for President.

Do Some Campaign Finance Laws Violate The First Amendment?

That is the question when it comes to how much money a candidate for federal office can suggest to be donated to a PAC. While there are limits to how much money an individual can donate to a candidate, there are no such limits for PACs. But under law, a candidate cannot recommend that you donate to a PAC in amounts greater than the limit on donating to that candidate.

Is This The End Of Policy?

Currently, the GOP is in a state of flux. Minor factions within the party seek to determine the future directions of the whole Republican party. The Democratic Party may also be running out of steam. It is likely that within the next few years, both parties will announce sweeping changes to their stated policies.

Ohio Groups Seek Injunction On False Statement Law

A law in Ohio makes it illegal to knowingly make false statements about a candidate or ballot question. Two Ohio based groups are seeking to overturn that law in court. However, no court in the past has made an attempt to rule on the constitutionality of the law.

OBAR News Roundup: Thursday August 15, 2013

There are always interesting stories happening throughout the year that interest those of us seeking election reform. Here are the news stories I have found over the last couple of days.

Rep. Lankford Answers Questions At Townhall

Representative James Lankford received a mixed reaction during a townhall meeting. He answered questions regarding the NSA spying and about illegal immigration.

Low Voter Turnout in Tulsa County District 3 Race

Less than 5,000  of 123,000 people eligible to vote in Tuesday’s election for Tulsa County District 3 Commissioner turned out to vote. These 3.8% of the voting population ended up electing Ron Peters to office. It is a shame that local politics gets so little citizen action.

The Third Party Catch-22

Reason writes an editorial on the catch-22 facing many third party candidates for office. They are often denied access to debates against their competition because they have low support by the public and they can’t get more support until the people can actually hear from them. Additionally, many news sources will quote people asking for a third option but never report on the available third options.

Pennsylvania Editorial Not Happy With Election Laws

A recent Pennsylvania editorial speaks out against Pennsylvania’s election laws regarding the challenging of candidate and party petitions. In Pennsylvania, anyone can challenge a petition and a court must review it. Additionally, the petitioning party must foot the bill for court costs and legal fees of the petition challenger if they lose the challenge. The editorial suggests switching to a system where only actual candidates can challenge the petition of other candidates.

FEC Releases 2012 Senate and Congressman Election Results

We will be going through this new data to see what we can learn. But if you are curious, you can view all the data the Federal Election Commission has on the national races from 2012.

Piedmont City Councilman Successfully Recalled

It would be nice to have the ability to recall candidates in state office, but at least some localities have that luxury in Oklahoma. Piedmont City Councilman Vernon Woods was recalled and replaced by Bobby Williamson.

Jesse Jackson Jr. Gets 30 Months in Jail

Jesse Jackson Jr. received a sentence of 30 months in jail for the misuse of over $750,000 in campaign contributions. His wife will be getting 12 months in jail. They will serve their sentences consecutively as they have children at home and the court felt the need to have at least one parent with them during the sentences.

OBAR News Roundup: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We forgot to post the Monday news Roundup, so you are getting an extra does comprising the weekend, Monday and Tuesday’s news. Enjoy.

We Need To Hold Politicians Accountable

One NewsOK reader feels that we need to be holding our elected officials accountable for their time in office. He feels we need to demand an itemized listing of their work in office.

Is the Popular Vote The Best Way?

Another News OK reader believes that the national popular vote is the best way to elect the President. She feels that under the current system it is easy to have your vote “not count”.

Senator Inhofe Supports His Positions And Votes

Senator Inhofe has taken the defensive in regards to his voting history and positions. He staunchly defends his pro-military and foreign aid positions.

Republicans Should Focus On Criminal Justice Reform

NewsOK editorial discusses the need for Oklahoma Republicans to abandon their desire to be seen as “tough on crime” and pass much needed criminal justice reform.

One Topic Is Enough

When it comes to special sessions of the Oklahoma Legislature, News OK believes that it should remain focused on a single subject. Anything more than that should be saved for the normal session.

Governor Fallin Transparent To A Fault

One Tulsa World reader believes that Governor Fallin has kept her promise to be transparent. She sees the request for a special session to be a very transparent action in support of her Insurance campaign backers.

Not Happy With Editorial Change

After the recent sale of the Tulsa World, one reader is not happy with its announced change to editorialize more towards the right.

Ethics Reform Suggestions

The new director of the State Ethics Commission has announced his intent to reform many of Oklahoma’s campaign ethics laws. The editors of the Tulsa World have some suggestions.

Pennsylvania Attempting Ballot Access Reform

Oklahoma isn’t the only state with poor ballot access laws. Pennsylvania also has its problems. The Green Party and other alternative parties are trying to reform some of the harshest laws on the books.

North Carolina Election Bill Signed Into Law; Promptly Challenged In Court

North Carolina Governor signed the omnibus election law bill into law. This law includes new VoterID provisions and restrictions on Early voting. It is the latter provisions that have prompted the Leagur of Women Voters to challenge the law in court just hours after being signed.

Governor Fallin Issues Executive Order Setting Date For Special Session

Governor Fallin has set a date for the special legislative session to work on lawsuit reform. The date will be September 3rd.

Some Tulsa County Voters Will Be Voting Today

Those in Tulsa County District 3 will be voting for a new County Commissioner today. If you live there, don’t forget to vote.

OBAR News Roundup: Friday, August 9, 2013

Starting today, I am going to be posting links to recent news stories that may be of interest to our readers. These are items, that while interesting and related to our mission, are not something we will be dedicating a full article to.

In Today’s edition, we have news from Alabama and its double standard in filing deadlines, Write-in Votes being a worthwhile ballot option, NewsOK worried that with only 16 months till the next election that it might be too slow, Senator Inhofe actually is seeking reelection, further reporting on RJ Harris’ campaign for Governor, and one TulsaWorld reader feels it shameful that a Congressman still has a day job.

Alabama’s Double Standard

For Independent and alternative candidates, filing deadlines are a hard cut off. If you don’t file your candidacy paperwork before 12 noon, you will not get on the ballot. But for Alabama Democrats, that deadline is flexible. Alabama allowed the Democratic party to file its list of candidates for a special election over an hour late, because it would have been unfair to not let them on the ballot. Let’s see if that holds true the next time an Independent or alternative candidate files late.

Write-in Candidate for Detroit Mayor Wins

Don’t let anyone tell you that casting a write-in vote is a waste of your time. Mike Duggan won enough votes as a write-in in the Mayoral non-partisan primary to appear on the final election ballot.

Slow Election Year For Oklahoma?

NewsOk feels that with only 16 months till the 2014 elections, things should be a little more interesting. It feels that we should be having a faster paced election. Personally, I feel that it is nice to have some breathing room between elections. Of course, NewsOK still has not reported on RJ Harris’ candidacy for Governor.

Senator Inhofe Seeking Reelection

This should come as no surprise, but Senator Inhofe is running for reelection. In response to some opposition stating that he might be too old to run, he responded that he can still fly a plane upside down. If he is not too old to do that, he is not too old to run for reelection.

Further Reporting on RJ Harris’ Campaign

Local Libertarian news site, The Otter Limits, reported on our coverage of RJ Harris’ announcement that he will run for Governor as a Democrat. Steve Long added to the story by reminding us that not only has RJ run for office twice against US Rep. Tom Cole, but he had also ran for the Libertarian nomination for President.

Shameful For Congressman To Have A Day Job

One TulsaWorld reader feels that it is shameful that US Rep. Mullin is still advertising for his local plumbing business. He feels that it is beneath a US Congressman to still have a day job. Apparently, when you have two jobs devoted to dealing with crap, you need to drop one.

That’s it for today. I can’t promise these everyday, but I will have plenty of links in the future.