Monday, October 23, 2006

When Elections Hurt Democracy

Some state ballot measures on the Oregon ballot are not unlike many more all across America for this November that will actually hurt democracy if voters foolishly choose to pass them.

One for example deals with term limits for members of the state legislature, and while there might be a natural inclination to "want to throw the rascals out" this year, such a thing as term limits only ensures that lobbyists will be most solid and powerful force in the Oregon legislature within a few years as the more effective members of government are forbidden by law to run for re-election, and big tobacco and other powerful lobby organizations only gain significantly in clout and power.

Another good way to hurt democracy this November is right wing mischief to monkey around with the court system. An Oregon ballot measure seeks to set Oregon Supreme Court seats by districts, almost certainly weakening the chances that the court will be as strong on environmental rules and other important manners for the good of the majority of citizens. Setting up elections by districts also gives the political right far more opportunity to gain control of the courts for their personal agenda, and the not the broader good of all citizens.

And major candidates certainly will represent some special interests that helped to buy them into office when elected.

It is not very hard to extend where all of this goes no matter where you live. There is likely many issues on your local ballot that will hurt democracy inless the viters where you live can see through the issues. But with a haze of millions and millions spent on some ballot measures, it's pretty hard for some voters to see through all of the smoke.


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