Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Carter-Baker Commission Hearing

The Commission on Federal Election Reform (a.k.a. Carter-Baker) held its first hearing yesterday. Unfortunately, the Commission made it clear that it won't tackle the real defects in our electoral system - legislative redistricting and the Electoral College. According to Commission co-chair James Baker, "We should not take on the really volatile issues with respect to which we have no reasonable chance of success... There are plenty of other issues for us to consider." Fair enough, but some national commission ought to take on the really big issues.

As for the testimony itself, Loyola law professor (and fellow blogger) Rick Hasen best captured the house of cards that is our election process.

In the 2004 presidential election, the United States came much closer to electoral meltdown, violence in the streets and constitutional crisis than most people realize.


Less than a 2 percent swing among Ohio voters -- about 100,000 voters -- toward Democratic candidate for president John Kerry and away from incumbent Republican President Bush would have placed the Ohio -- and national -- election for president well within the 'margin of litigation,' and it would have gotten ugly very quickly.
[See Hasen's entire testimony here.]


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