Fear Mongering and Voting in Georgia

[UPDATE Aug 20 2010] After some requests, I’m bumping this post back to the top of the page this morning while I work on another post on this topic that I hope to get up over the weekend. -Jeff

Republicans for several years now have consistently played the “fear” card when it comes election time. They consistently set up some Democrat – be it Al Gore, Roy Barnes, John Kerry, Mark Taylor, or Barack Obama – as some kind of Big Evil that is out to destroy us all, and then try to make us so afraid that we HAVE to vote for the Republican to avoid the Boogie Man. They tell us that if we vote for some “third” party that is more in line with our personal values rather than Their Candidate, the Boogie Man will win and all hope will be lost.

The problem is, Georgia is a “Runoff State” in every election other than the actual Presidential Election. In every race in this State other than President of the United States, a single candidate MUST receive 50% of the votes plus one vote in order to win the election.

It is due to Georgia being a Runoff State that the case for third parties is actually made EASIER, upon any amount of thought.
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Open Letter to Members of House Government Affairs Elections Subcommittee

Dear Rep,

I know with the session starting back in full swing today, you really don’t have time to read a lot of emails, so I’ll make this short.

Please vote for favorable passage of Rep Reese’s HB 1141 in the Elections subcommittee meeting today.

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but right now anyone who seeks to run for a statewide office under any banner other than Democrat/Republican/Libertarian must collect signatures from 5% of the registered voters in the state -roughly 50,000 signatures- on a nomination petition, just to be allowed to be on the ballot. This is in addition to the same filing fee D/R/L candidates pay. This represents an undue burden that has RARELY – if ever – been met. Rep Reese’s proposal changes this requirement to the lesser of 5% or 5,000.
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Swinging Pendulums

When you swing a pendulum one way, it will go a certain distance before stopping, reversing, and swinging an equal distance the other way. If energy is added on the return swing, it will actually go further on that swing, before once again reversing and swinging an equal distance the original direction. This will continue ad infinitum, until eventually the pendulum makes a complete revolution on its axis. Even then, if more energy is continually added, the swinging will continue to get faster and faster, and the revolutions will thus happen more and more frequently.

That is a basic concept of science. But why am I bringing up science on a political blog?

Because when you have only two political parties and/or only two competing ideologies in politics, you get an effect that is very much like a physical pendulum. One Party will achieve power and advance its agenda as far as it can, swinging the pendulum as far in its direction as possible. Eventually – and it could be a LONG wait for that eventually – the other Party will gain power and work to swing the pendulum as far in its own direction as possible, thus adding to the energy of the swing and advancing its agenda further than the original Party could advance theirs.

The problem is, BOTH of the two primary competing ideologies in this country seek to advance government control in our lives, whether it be in the master suite, the executive suite, or the operating suite. They seek to limit our freedoms to advance their own agendas. They fight each other, and We the People get screwed in the process.

So what can be done about this?
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Treating The Symptoms

As a child, when we have a headache, we try to fix the headache. When we have a runny nose, we try to fix it. When we have a sore throat, we try to fix it. We never realize that those separate things are actually connected, that they are symptoms of a much larger, more complex, problem within our bodies.

As we grow older, we begin to realize these things and while we may still treat a single symptom, once we experience a few symptoms at the same time, we realize we have a bigger problem and begin to work to fix it.

Late last night (in fact, roughly 4.5 hrs ago), the Senate Healthcare Bill passed a crucial procedural vote. Throughout the night and this morning, I’ve seen cries throughout the online world that we need to get the Democrats out of power. They said our Republic has died.

These same people have been saying the same thing after every vote in Congress that doesn’t go their way over the past year and a half or so, and for 6 years or so before that, it was the people defending the current actions who were making the same claims about the things they disagreed with.

The problem is, these people tend to try to treat single symptoms without ever realizing that there is actually a much larger, more complex problem that is causing this.
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Equal Ballot Access: Three Proposals

Over the summer, I took two issues to heart and have begun working on talking to various members of the General Assembly and the public about them. Those two issues were Georgia’s ballot access laws and daytime meetings by local governing bodies.

I have my own ideas on each of these subjects, but this post is specifically directed at the ballot access laws.

My friend, Jason Pye, has his own bill proposal that basically lowers the petition requirement from 5% of the registered voters in the district to one percent of the registered voters. It also has provisions so that even that lowered number can be further reduced or waived if certain conditions are met.

My ideas all center around a different tack to solving this problem: Whereas Jason strikes at petition requirements, I strike at the very distinctions between political ‘party’, ‘body’, and ‘organization’. I also offer a very mild, pragmatic bill that I like better than current law, but is still far from what I would actually like to see.
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