On December 7, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman held a status conference in Kennedy v Secretary of State of Texas, w.d., 1:16cv-1047. This is Rocky De La Fuente’s case against the Texas ballot access laws for independent presidential candidates, and the Texas law that won’t let presidential primary candidates qualify as independent candidates. A trial be held starting January 15, 2018. This is far in the future, but allows time for discovery during 2017.
This article says that research by the California State Library shows that the newly-elected legislature has fewer women than any session since the 1991-1992 session. One reason is that it now takes millions of dollars to win a seat in the California legislature, and women are less likely than men to be plugged into the community of very wealthy campaign donors. The top-two system has increased the amount of money needed to win. Thanks to Carla Marinucci for the link.
On December 2, the Schwarzenegger Institute held a forum on California’s 2016 U.S. Senate race. The Schwarzenegger Institute is headquartered at the University of Southern California. Very few academics believe that the California top-two system has functioned the way it was intended to, but academics who support the top-two system are mostly associated with USC.
The 2016 Senate race gave California voters only two candidates (and no write-in space). Both candidates were Democrats.
Here is a description of the meeting. The panelists included the campaign managers for each of the two Democratic candidates. One the interesting facts brought out at the forum is that 25 of the 26 counties with Republican voter registration pluralities voted in November for Kamala Harris instead of Loretta Sanchez.
Proponents of top-two like to say that Loretta Sanchez was mode “moderate” than Kamala Harris, and therefore Republicans had the opportunity to vote for the Democrat who was more friendly to Republican ideas. Top-two supporters predicted that Sanchez, or perhaps both Democrats, would move to the center during the general election campaign, to try to win Republican votes. But, according to a member of the audience, the panelists said that the opposite occurred. During the general election campaign, both candidates moved to the left.
According to this story, Chinese democracy advocate Sun Wenguang, age 82, was physically prevented from leaving his house. As a result, he was unable to meet the deadline for registering to be on the ballot as an independent candidate in an upcoming local election.
Jeff Strabone, a New York voter, has set up the webpage DirectElection.org. It has the postal addresses of 260 candidates for presidential elector. It also has information about the history of the electoral college, and the history of attempts to abolish it. The purpose of the web page is to assist individuals who wish to write postal messages to candidates for presidential elector.
On December 6, two Colorado presidential electors sued the Governor and Secretary of State of Colorado, to establish that they, and all presidential electors, have a constitutional right to vote for any qualified presidential candidate when they vote as electors on December 19. Baca v Hickenlooper, 1:16cv-2986.
The two electors, Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich, received an e-mail from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on November 18. The e-mail says, “1-4-304(5) of Colorado Revised Statutes state that presidential electors shall (must) vote for the presidential/vice-presidential ticket that receives the most votes in the state. Thus, if an elector failed to follow this requirement, our office would likely remove the elector and seat a replacement elector until all nine electoral votes were cast for the winning candidates.” The e-mail is signed by Joel Albin, Ballot Access Manager, Elections Division.
Baca and Nemanich are Democrats. They have been telling the public and the news media that they believe the Republican nominees for president and vice-president would, if sworn into office, do great harm to the United States. Baca and Nemanich say they have been communicating with other presidential electors from both major parties, hoping to form a group of electors would who vote for a candidate other than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The basis for their lawsuit is that they face an imminent threat of being replaced as electors, and that such a replacement would violate Article Two, and the Twelfth and First Amendments.
The case is assigned to Judge Wiley Daniel, a Clinton appointee.