Friend of the Court

Advocates for the rights of independent voters in New Jersey are taking a different approach to reform of the electoral process. Instead of working to change the law by petition or legislative action, they're suing the state in Federal Court for depriving voters not affiliated with a major party equal access to the voting franchise. Since we're sort of into that whole "equal voting" thing, we submitted an Amicus Curiae (literally "friend of the court") filing advocating the court adopt a simple test to determine whether the franchise provides all voters equal weight. You can read the full brief here or the summary of the argument below:

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT

The Supreme Court of the United States has underscored the requirement of equality in our voting franchise, but little attention has been focused on the judicial tests for measuring that standard.  The present New Jersey closed primary system violates the equal vote weight standard and impermissibly underwrites an official state process that ratifies oligarchic control of voter selections.

Amicus argues for articulation of a judicial test that is consistent with underlying democratic theory and which will insure that voters are equal to each other in exercising the franchise that is part of their entitlement under the Constitution.


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  • commented 2018-02-16 09:31:45 -0800
    In the entry about Explaining Choice of Representation, I ended with a personal note. The rest was clippings from writings of Jim Mueller that I spliced together to explain. If I could I would edit the part where I said Personally—— and I would insert this:


    I believe this is the quickest way to get THIRD parties and UNAFFILIATED persons IN the legislative bodies around the country.

    I believe SELLING this idea is a matter of letting people know that this kind of voting means that YOU NEVER LOSE. If you vote for someone THAT WILL BE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE.

    Which also means if they do not represent you well, and you say you will not vote for them the next time. IT WILL MEAN SOMETHING. Money from outsiders (should that still be a thing) will not mean anything compared to the votes going to another candidate. And the official WILL KNOW that rhose votes are going and it WILL AFFECT THEM.

    The constitution says we will have representatives. The constitution says we will have elections every two years. It does not answer the question of HOW the election is to be decided. It DID SAY however that there should be a LOT MORE representatives than we now have. 1:30,000. So i ask you to read this once again and stand for your RIGHT TO BE REPRESENTED BY THE PERSON OF YOUR CHOICE.

    END GERRYMANDERING. END DISTRICTS!!!! DEMAND YOUR RIGHT TO BE REPRESENTED AT ALL TIME’S!!!

    see facebook page Choice of Representation by Jim Mueller

    Direct Representation https://youtu.be/2hDj795PCuI

    And lastly think about how many times we have gone to the constitution to fix voting. Perhaps a comprehensive fix is in order. http://change.org/p/bill-of-rights-for-voting-equality
    _______________________________________________________________________
  • commented 2018-02-16 09:11:56 -0800
    Choice of Representation is the brain child of Jim Mueller. He ran for office in Wisconsin. I adopted it into a project of mine called The BILL of RIGHTS for VOTING EQUALITY.

    Whereas we the people are created equal, and
    whereas we the people are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and
    whereas we the people instituted a government to secure these rights, and
    whereas we the people lay the foundation on such principles, and organize its power in such form, as to us shall seem most likely to effect the above objective, do require the following Bill of Rights for Voting Equality.

    1.
    Each citizen of the United States at or exceeding the age of majority has the right to vote in any public election in the jurisdiction where he or she resides. That right shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, any State, agreement, person, or entity. After incarceration all rights shall resume.

    REASONING:
    No More Stolen Election says:
    Most Americans believe that the “legal right to vote” in our democracy is explicit, not just implicit, in our federal Constitution. In fact, the federal Constitution recognizes each state’s guarantee of voting rights, and furthermore, guarantees equal protection of those rights. Additionally, the federal Constitution provides for elections for the U.S. House and Senate, and repeated amendments to the Constitution have affirmed that the right to vote belongs to all citizens regardless of race (15th Amendment) or sex (19th Amendment), and to all citizens over the age of eighteen (26th).

    Despite two centuries in which the right to vote has been affirmed and expanded as a constitutional right, the U.S. system of elections still does not adequately protect voting rights. Indeed, Justice Scalia in Bush v. Gore claimed that, “the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.” (Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98, 104 (2000)). Because the Supreme Court, election administrators, and elected officials have, for the most part, proven themselves unable or unwilling to implement the reforms required to protect American voting rights, we must work to adopt a federal constitutional amendment confirming every citizen’s right to vote.

    2.
    a) All citizens of the United States, residing in all states, shall have equal access, (the same requirements), to creating a political party and achieving a ballot line.
    b) All candidates and parties shall have equal time constraints to qualify for ballot access.
    c) All proofs will be received by a multi-partisan regulatory board, such as the Board of Elections.
    d) All citizens that desire to be candidates, shall register at their local Board of Elections.
    e) The Board of Elections shall divide equally, the campaign tools for election purposes. All tools must be properly labeled as having been provided by the revenue stream and not a direct private donation.
    f) Corporations are NOT people and Money is NOT speech. Elections shall be publicly funded. No private money may be used for a public office, or seat in the government. No ads may be purchased for the purpose of an election. No candidates may appear in an ad for an election for themselves or others. The citizen must have full confidence that no bribery or appearance of bribery is taking place.

    REASONING:
    Equal Access Amendment says:
    a & b) The 14th amendment provides for equal treatment under the law, but since currently every state has it’s own rules for gaining ballot access, that effect is made moot. In addition a party that has current standing does not have to repeat the qualifications but instead rides through on past performance.

    For this reason we submit that every citizen should have equal access (rules) to forming a party and achieving a ballot line. And we advocate that this requirement be met by all, each election.

    No More Stolen Elections says:
    c) It is time to overhaul our federal, state, and local election agencies to guarantee fair elections. We must replace the current system of partisan election administration, in which partisan secretaries of state, county clerks, election commissioners, and other partisan officials are able to issue rulings that favor their own political parties and themselves, with a non-partisan, independent system of running elections. We must end the practice of contracting out fundamental election functions, such as the maintenance of voter lists, to private corporations. We must also insure that independent international and domestic election observers are given full access to monitor our elections.

    d)

    e) It is time to overhaul our federal, state, and local election agencies to guarantee fair elections. We must replace the current system of partisan election administration, in which partisan secretaries of state, county clerks, election commissioners, and other partisan officials are able to issue rulings that favor their own political parties and themselves, with a non-partisan, independent system of running elections. We must end the practice of contracting out fundamental election functions, such as the maintenance of voter lists, to private corporations. We must also insure that independent international and domestic election observers are given full access to monitor our elections.

    Equal Access Amendment says:
    f) The United States, must have integrity in its elections. It can not be tempted with money or power, to deviate from true equality, from the poorest of its citizens to the richest. Any donation to a campaign is in essence a bribe to ask a candidate to do what the donater wants. Elections must be decided based on the veracity of the candidates’ words.

    3.
    The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall elect Senators and Representatives in the Congress in such number and such manner as it would be entitled if it were a State.

    DC Vote says:
    An amendment to the Constitution needs to be passed to give DC voting rights. Congress has passed laws to modify the DC government structure in the past. In 1961, the 23rd Constitutional amendment granted DC residents the right to vote in Presidential elections. In 1973, Congress passed the District of Columbia Home Rule Act giving DC the right to a local government (mayor and city council). For decades DC residents have written letters, protested, and filed lawsuits striving to change the city’s voting status. Unfortunately, to date they have been unsuccessful.

    While DC residents have an elected mayor and city council, all locally passed laws must be reviewed by Congress and the local budget must be sent to Congress for affirmative approval. In many cases, Congress has attempted to include noxious riders on the budget that overrule decisions of the local government. DC Vote is working to end this injustice and to protect DC’s local democracy.

    Americans living in our nation’s capital pay full federal taxes, fight and die in wars and serve on juries, but are denied voting representation in the House and the Senate.

    4.

    All citizens must be able to verify that the vote has been counted accurately. All ballots must be ABLE to be counted by hand. All counting must be supervised by multi-partisan personnel and recorded. Currently supporting the Dechert Method

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au3w1Kyztg8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_HOGDobRMg

    REASONING:
    Black Box Voting says::
    These indicators must be present to insure fair voting.
    1. Who can vote (the voters list)
    2. Who voted (the polling place sign in book)
    3. Whether ballots counted are same ones as were cast (chain of custody)
    4. Whether the count was accurate (public count)

    No More Stolen Elections says:
    Every voting system in the United States must be equipped to facilitate a permanent, visible record of every vote cast, and to honor the right of the voter to mark their own ballot themselves. The public is the only realistic check on vote counts, because elections determine the composition of government itself; those in power cannot be trusted to count or process — unsupervised — the very ballots by which they came to office. The acid test for a free people is the guaranteed right to remove incumbents at will, especially criminal incumbents, from office. Any system that allows secret and therefore unaccountable vote counting is unacceptable because it denies the right to vote and to “kick the bums out” at precisely the moment when that right is needed the most.

    Voters must know that their vote will count and make a difference. Election officials must ensure that every voting precinct and wards is adequately staffed with sufficiently trained personnel and professional supervision; that absentee ballots are mailed with a sufficient time for delivery; that every ballot, including provisional ballots, are counted; and that provisional ballots count for statewide and federal contests regardless of where the vote is cast. Election officials should wait until after any recounts have been completed to provide final certification of election results.

    5.
    a) The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every Thirty Thousand, per state.
    b) Each state shall divide its population by 30,000 to determine its number of representatives.
    c) Each Representative shall have the voting power equal to the number of citizens that voted for them.
    d) Congress shall be unicameral, and the Senate shall be dissolved.

    REASONING:
    Thirty-Thousand.org says:
    a) The intended purpose of the very first amendment proposed in the original Bill of Rights was to ultimately limit the maximum size of congressional districts in order to complement the minimum size already established by the Constitution. However, though affirmed by many states, “Article the first” was never ratified due to an inexplicable defect in its language.

    b) Several empirical studies show that there is a clear relationship between the population size of legislative districts and the size of government; specifically, government spending increases as the population size of electoral districts increases.

    c) With respect to how a representative assembly should be constituted, John Adams stated: “It should be in miniature an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason and act like them.”

    It is no longer necessary, or even advantageous, to require all federal Representatives to commute weekly to a single distant location. Current technology makes available other means – which would have been unimaginable at the time of the drafting of the Constitution – for virtually assembling and voting on bills.

    Choice of Representation says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hDj795PCuI

    c) The justification espoused by plurality voting is that the most popular candidate is capable of and concerned with adequately representing people who voted against him or her even if it conflicts with interests of the people who elected the representative.

    This premise is obviously false, especially in this day of huge special interest investments in campaigns and the molding of messages, NOT on what the candidate believes, but on what the consultants believe will attract enough votes for their candidate to win.

    When the representatives we vote for are denied office (RDO’s = Representatives Denied Office), and are barred from participating in the legislative process, the citizen is being denied full participation in our government. The present system is partial or exclusionary representation. What we need and deserve is full inclusionary representation.

    A Choice of Representation System treats a vote as a durable proxy of voting power that the representative carries to the governmental body in which he or she serves. When they vote, they do not have one vote equal to all of the other representatives, they have a vote that has a weight equal to the number of people who voted for him or her.

    Under Choice of Representation, there are no wasted votes, every vote marginally increases the power of the person receiving it, a person obtaining the representation of his/her choice does not reprieve another person of the representation of his/her choice.

    No More Stolen Elections says:
    We must adopt Proportional Representation (PR) for legislative elections to ensure the fair representation of all voters. Millions of Democrats in Republican areas and Republicans in Democratic areas are unrepresented in our system, and the majority of Greens, Libertarians, and other independents are unrepresented at all levels of government. The right of representation belongs to all citizens.

    NOTE: The concept of a single-seat office as different from a multi-seat office, needs a larger audience. Multi-seat offices such as LEGISLATIVE branches, must hold votes to make decisions. The single-seat office decides on it’s own.

    Even a change of one representative to 300,000 citizens would be an improvement. WE NEED MORE REPRESENTATIVES. WE NEED THE RIGHT TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR CHOICE.

    Wikipedia says:
    d) The principal advantage of a unicameral system is more efficient lawmaking, as the legislative process is much simpler and there is no possibility of legislative deadlock. Proponents of unicameralism have also argued that it reduces costs, as even if the number of legislators is the same as it would be in a multicameral system, there are fewer institutions to maintain and support.

    Legal Information Institue says:
    Not until 1842 did Congress undertake to exercise the power to regulate the ‘’times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives.’’ In that year, it passed a law requiring the election of Representatives by districts.

    A number of state legislatures, following the Revolution, were created unicameral, and the Continental Congress, limited in power as it was, consisted of one house.

    6.
    All citizens shall have equal early voting hours in which to cast their vote. sufficient voting places, materials, and personnel shall be provided to reduce the voting time to within an hour.

    No More Stolen Elections says:
    Many citizens are discouraged from voting by unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and restrictions. We must simplify and rationalize voter registration so that no one is again disenfranchised for failing to check a superfluous box, as occurred this year in Florida, or for not using heavy enough paper, as nearly occurred in Ohio.

    We must require voter registrars to sign affidavits promising to submit any registrations in their possession in a timely manner. We must eliminate police intimidation, language, physical disability, extra-legal requirements of personal identification, and other barriers to voting. To ensure that all qualified voters are able to vote, we must follow the lead of states like Minnesota and Wisconsin by replacing restrictive voter residency requirements with same-day voter registration, allowing qualified voters to register at the polls on Election Day itself.

    Our current system forces millions of voters to wait up to ten hours to vote. This is unacceptable, and it disenfranchises those who cannot afford to wait. To increase access to the polls, all states must provide sufficient funding for enough early voting and election-day polling places to guarantee smooth and speedy voting. To ensure equal access and minimize the wait at the polls, election authorities must allocate resources based upon the number of potential voters per precinct.

    We must put an end to the government-backed practice of allowing partisan activists to challenge the voting rights of individual voters at the polls. Instead, the government must invest in campaigns designed to educate voters about how they can exercise and protect their right to vote.

    7.
    The Presidential/Vice-Presidential election shall be counted by (score or approval) counting.

    No More Stolen Elections says:
    We must replace our current “first-past-the-post” system. Our winner-take-all elections award representation to the largest factions and leave everyone else, often the majority, unrepresented. The winner-take-call system unnecessarily restricts choice, polarizes politics and limits political discourse.

    It is time to end the safe state/battleground state dichotomy and make all votes equal, no matter the state of the voter. We must amend the Federal Constitution to replace election of the President by the Electoral College with direct election by the voters.

    The Center For Election Sciences says:

    The concept of a single-seat office as different from a multi-seat office, needs a larger audience. Multi-seat offices such as LEGISLATIVE branches, must hold votes to make decisions. The single-seat office decides on it’s own.

    Approval voting is the simplest and fairest way to vote in a single-seat election.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q_eMUGCU5U&t=13s&list=PL58A119A8E4D0F686&index=1
  • commented 2018-02-16 03:00:45 -0800
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  • commented 2016-07-31 06:18:30 -0700
    Explaining Choice of Representation

    (Choice of Representation is a voting type included in the BRVE: bill of Rights for Voting Equality) good for congress. We recommend “APPROVAL” voting for the Presidential race.

    Districting is done to satisfy the “one man, one vote” concept. It makes the representatives equal but makes the citizens unequal-some have the representation of their choice and most do not. The theory is that because the population in each district is nearly equal then each person has the same proportionate share of a representative (a representative that they may have voted against and vehemently dislike).

    Gerrymandering aside, great expense and effort goes into making legislative districts as close to equal in size of population as possible. The result is that many counties and municipalities are divided up into more than one, sometimes several districts. This creates more work and expense for the Election Officials in printing notices and ballots, setting up the machines, etc. The existence of districts makes campaigning more expensive by dividing up media markets into several districts or having a district span parts of several markets.

    So all of this work goes into making them equal and what is the first thing that they do? They give up a lot of their power by electing a leader who gets to decide a myriad of details including who is on what committees, which offices legislators are assigned to and what legislation will be scheduled for a vote and which bills will die without being voted on. In our relatively free market system people obtain the goods and services of their choice that they can afford to purchase or retain. Representation (Attorney, Personal Representative, Executor, Proxy, Agent, Guardian) involves the agent being legally bound to conduct themselves in the best interest of the client. In our election system, the government designates people as representatives even though the client (voter) is certain that the “representative” will not act in his or her best interest and will use force if necessary in order to prevent the other candidates from representing the people who voted for them.

    That’s Forced Representation.

    By declaring that people have the Right to CHOICE OF REPRESENTATION, we establish a principle which people can aspire to, we expand the number of people who care about the outcome of elections and we show that this is not a partisan effort.

    CHOICE OF REPRESENTATION makes the voters equal. They all get the Representation of their Choice and make the representatives unequal by assigning them voting power equal to the number of people who voted for them.

    In discussions of CHOICE OF REPRESENTATION, we use the term Representative Denied Office (RDO) for those people who have run for office, received votes and have been denied the opportunity to effectively represent the people who voted for them. The RPO’s (Representatives Permitted Office) are sworn in.

    Personally I think that having a representative of your choice is much more important than having the same number of people in each district.