Tough-on-Crime Cash Bail Initiatives Win in Ohio and Alabama

“Ohio’s new constitutional amendment will allow judges to set a dollar amount commensurate with a person’s criminal record, the seriousness of their alleged crime, and their odds of appearing at court following pretrial release. The Ohio Senate ushered the initiative forward in direct response to a ruling from the state’s highest court, which said in early January that bail could only be used to ensure a defendant’s presence at trial—the constitutionally prescribed reason for its use.

In Alabama, voters were tasked with deciding if the state should be able to deny bail for certain offenses if the government can convince a judge that the defendant poses a threat to the community or cannot be trusted to return to court. Those offenses include murder; first-degree kidnapping, rape, and sodomy; sexual torture; first-degree domestic violence, human trafficking, burglary, arson, and robbery; terrorism; and child abuse.”

“the debate has become increasingly politicized. Many reformers say that a dangerousness standard is racist, while law-and-order politicians are likely to present any bail reform as a driver of violent crime.
The answer is more nuanced than either major political party would want their base to believe.”

Georgia Sets Early Voting Record, Despite Controversial Voting Law

“Georgia Republicans passed S.B. 202 to overhaul the state’s voting law just two months after losing both of the state’s Senate seats to Democrats and four months after President Donald Trump lost reelection. The so-called “Election Integrity Act of 2021″ sought to undo pandemic-era changes to voting rules intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

“there is plenty to dislike about the bill: In addition to sharply narrowing who can request absentee ballots, it significantly curtails the number of ballot drop boxes a county is allowed to have. The New York Times estimated that the four counties comprising metro Atlanta would go from 94 drop boxes to 23. The law also removed Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who famously resisted Trump’s entreaties to “find” enough votes to flip Georgia to the former president, as both the chair and a voting member of the State Election Board.

That board further has the power to “suspend” state and county election officials and appoint “temporary” replacements in their stead. In the months after the law passed, it remade entire counties’ election boards by replacing Democrats with Republicans.

Clearly, Georgia’s voting law has issues: The ability of the state to directly meddle in counties’ election boards is a fundamentally illiberal exercise of power, and based on the timing, it seems obvious that the law was intended to placate Trump’s ego.”

Don’t Blame Ranked Choice Voting. Sarah Palin Was a Bad Candidate.

“After the first ballot, Palin trailed Peltola 40–31, with Nick Begich III in third with 29 percent. After Begich was eliminated and his ballots were re-tallied, Peltola prevailed over Palin 51–49.
In the days after Palin’s loss, prominent conservatives and Republicans criticized the new system for contributing to her defeat. After the results were announced, Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) tweeted, “Ranked-choice voting is a scam to rig elections.” (Previously, he has referred to it as a “radical scheme.”) Palin herself called the system an “experiment” that’s “crazy, convoluted,” and “confusing.” In National Review, Jim Geraghty termed it “a legitimate electoral system…that doesn’t make sense.”

But it’s not ranked choice voting’s fault; Palin was simply a bad candidate.

Geraghty complained that ranked choice voting was “more complicated” than “the familiar ‘first past the post’ system,” that “the Democrats came out the big winner, even though their candidate finished fourth in the first round of voting.” This is true, though the third-place finalist, Al Gross, withdrew from the race after the June primary and encouraged his voters to support Peltola.

Cotton complained that even though “60% of Alaska voters voted for a Republican…a Democrat ‘won.'” This is also true, though notably they did not all vote for the same Republican. Begich and Palin collectively accounted for 59.8 percent of the first-round vote, but only about half of Begich’s voters chose Palin as their second choice; nearly 30 percent picked Peltola, while 21 percent did not choose a second or third choice.”

“Far from being some radically convoluted “scheme,” the most direct effect of ranked choice voting is to serve as an “instant runoff” by letting voters indicate which candidates they would prefer if their first or second choice didn’t win.”

“85 percent of Alaskan voters polled by Alaskans for Better Elections found the new system either “somewhat simple” or “very simple.””

Is post-Roe voter registration benefiting Democrats?

“Generally, voter registration is split pretty close to 50-50. It varies a little bit by state, but not much. To see a period of time over several weeks where women accounted for almost 70 percent of registered voters — I’ve never seen anything like that.”

“There’s no state that comes close to Kansas in terms of that size of the gender gap, which makes sense. I mean, Kansas seems almost impossible. But in Kansas, they also had an immediate constitutional amendment ballot initiative as a referendum on the future of choice in the state. So it would make sense that women were more energized there than they might be in other states because the pattern that seems to be holding up is that the surges in registration among women seem to be more closely connected to states where choice is more at risk or it’s more relevant to specific elections this year.”

“It’s mostly younger women. In Kansas, over half of the women who registered to vote after Dobbs were under the age of 25 — 52 percent.”

Ron DeSantis Touted the Arrest of 20 People for Illegally Voting. Some Say They Were Told They Were Eligible.

“Florida State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R–St. Petersburg), who shepherded the bill implementing Amendment 4, tweeted last week that the Legislature never intended it to be used so harshly against those who accidentally voted.”

“”As the author of the bill implementing amend 4 it was our intent that those ineligible would be granted some grace by the state if they registered without intent to commit voter fraud. Some of the individuals did check with SOEs and believed they could register. #Intentmatters””

Ranked choice is good, but we can do better: STAR, range, and approval voting.

There are at least dozens, probably hundreds, of proposed and discussed systems for determining who wins a single winner election. Unfortunately, the most commonly used system appears to be one of the worst. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh7L9yJgVcU

Ranked choice is good, but we can do better: STAR, range, and approval voting. Video Sources

RCV vs STAR Voting FairVote. https://www.fairvote.org/electoral_systems_rcv_vs_star_voting Independent Party of Oregon STAR Voting Primary Spotlight on the Data: STAR Voting. 9 28 2020. https://medium.com/@5starvoting/independent-party-of-oregon-star-voting-primary-spotlight-on-the-data-1ab98d6fa8f4 The Limits of Ranked-Choice Voting Aaron Hamlin. 2019 2 7. Election Science. https://electionscience.org/voting-methods/runoff-election-the-limits-of-ranked-choice-voting/ Overvoting and the Equality of Voice

With Cheney’s Loss, Just 2 House Republicans Who Voted To Impeach Trump Are On The Ballot In November

“But while Cheney’s loss is particularly high-profile, it is not surprising. Of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, only two advanced to the general election, four lost their primaries and four didn’t even try to seek reelection, retiring instead.”

“That said, it’s probably not a coincidence that both Valadao and Newhouse won in states that use a top-two primary system. In that format, all voters can cast a ballot that includes every candidate, regardless of party, whereas party primaries mostly involve voters who are either registered with that party or generally back it and who are voting only for candidates from one party. Still, Valadao, the only pro-impeachment Republican running who didn’t face a Trump-endorsed challenger, barely edged out fellow Republican Chris Mathys, an ardent Trump supporter, 26 percent to 23 percent for second place in his top-two primary.1 Newhouse didn’t do much better, essentially tying with the lone Democrat in the race with 25 percent.

In fact, not a single pro-impeachment Republican captured a majority of the GOP primary vote. This amounts to an especially weak set of performances for incumbents, who in most cases easily win their primaries.”