Mizeur Wins This One!

Props to Heather Mizeur for being the first Maryland gubernatorial candidate to answer my three questions related to good governance! Here are her answers (in red), submitted via Twitter:

  1. If elected, will you actively work to outlaw candidate slates?  – Yes.
  2. If elected, will you actively work to outlaw “sample ballots” used by candidate slates as political advertisements? – No (more than slates use sample ballots, voters find them helpful, likely unconstitutional to prohibit).
  3. If elected, will you actively work to establish an independent, nonpartisan system for drawing legislative and congressional districts? – Yes.

So, not only was Mizeur the first to respond, there were two “yes” answers. Not bad at all!

Since I am a reasonable guy, I will be the first to admit that she makes some valid points about sample ballots. But—and I may be over-interpreting her Tweet here—I get a feeling she has not thought through all the negative impacts these “helpful” sample ballots have, especially on the lower ballot races. I will try to engage her on this in the coming months, so stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “Mizeur Wins This One!

  1. You have ignored the most important election issues (and when I wrote Mizeur about them, she stated she had no position on them). The important issues are:

    1. A democratic election system. Only a system which requires a majority vote or provides proportional representation of parties (not possible in the American system) can be considered democratic. The U.S. Constitution does not require democratic elections but does not prohibit them either. Most of the states, including Maryland, have chosen not to have a democratic election system. The plurality vote system serves to stifle those who challenge the establishment and promotes a vote the lesser evil strategy which only benefits establishment candidates.

    2. Open primaries. In Maryland, the Democratic primary is usually the main election, not the general election. But only registered Democrats are allowed to vote in it, which leaves those registered as independents and members of third parties (which includes the Republican Party in much of Maryland) disenfranchised.

    3. Write-ins. Write-ins are currently banned in the Democratic primary, limiting the people’s options.

  2. Thank you for reading and commenting. We all have our own priorities when it comes to changes we desire. I would not be opposed to any of the changes you propose, but they don’t make my personal top priority list.

    On the “democratic elections,” I’m not sure one can say we don’t have a democratic system. There is more than one way to conduct democratic elections. Certainly our current winner takes all system has its drawbacks. Having grown up in a country with proportional representation, I certainly know its benefits – but also its drawbacks. While overall I would rather have proportional representation, I am also a realist and consider such a fundamental change unachievable.

    On open primaries, nothing keeps willing Republicans or independents from switching their affiliation, so a real disenfranchisement claim seems a bit far-fetched to me. I also feel the argument that each party has the right to choose its own candidates without outside influence has real merit. (People who don’t live in my community can’t, and shouldn’t, vote in my HOA board election.) But I would love to see the new California-type open primary where two top vote getters face off in the general election regardless of party affiliation. That seems to favor more moderate candidates (as opposed to ideological extremists that dominate in partisan primaries) and enables all voters to weigh in.

    On the write-ins, I’m not sure that it is a fundamental issue in a vast majority of elections and situations. Yes, there could be instances where the ability to have write-in candidates could be meaningful. But for the most part, I feel good, credible candidates should be able to file to run through the established protocols. Still, I would have nothing against allowing write-ins.

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