Monday, May 16, 2005

Election Reform in PA

The Pennsylvania Election Reform Task Force issued its final report last week. It had recommendations in six areas (primary date change, absentee voting, uniformed and overseas citizens absentee voting, voter participation, compliance with HAVA, and the Electoral College). The most significant recommendation is to move PA's primary to the first Tuesday in March in order to garner more influence for PA in presidential nominations. One can't blame the Task Force for wanting to jump on the front-loading bandwagon, but if PA does this, the parties and state legislatures need to get together to implement a national plan for managing this problem. I personally like the National Association of Secretaries of State's "regional rotating primary plan" (even though it exempts New Hampshire and Iowa), but there are a number of other interesting plans to consider.

The PA Election Reform Task Force also suggested that the state begin using no-excuse absentee ballots but didn't endorse early voting. Unfortunately, they also rejected (by a vote of 7-6) same-day voter registration. On the plus side (from my perspective) they opposed PA "unilaterally moving away from the 'winner-take-all' method of electing presidential electors."

I wish they had dealt with the most pressing electoral problem in PA, and most other states, which is redistricting. But they did call for further study of that and other issues, including the use of instant run-off voting and proportional representation.


At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Richard Winger said...

Your report on the Pa. Election Reform Task Force is incomplete. The Task Force made 24 recommendations, not 6. Of interest is the recommendation on page 52 to ease ballot access for minor parties and independent candidates. Even if you didn't wish to discuss this point, you should have acknowledged that recommendations beyond those you mention were made.

At 7:11 AM, Blogger Stephen Medvic said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:14 AM, Blogger Stephen Medvic said...

Richard is right to suggest that I should have mentioned the Task Force's recommendation of easier ballot access for minor parties. I support that and should have highlighted it. But I didn't say that the Task Force had only 6 recommendations. I said the made recommendations in six areas or categories.


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