Twitter Follow

Monday, September 19, 2016

We’re in the Middle of the Mud Field and Sinking Fast (Opinion)

The current campaign season is one of the most toxic I can remember in my 55 years of paying attention. This has not happened over-night. Campaigns at all levels have been slowly becoming more negative for at least the past decade. However, since 2014, it appears candidates are in a competition not to win the election but rather to see who or which party can sling the most mud and create the widest gap between themselves and facts. Combined with the extreme negative impact of partisanship on our society, this is not healthy for our country, our state, our counties, or our cities. If this is allowed to continue, will we damage our political process beyond repair?

I’d like to borrow a song title penned by John Lennon; “Imagine”.

Just imagine:
Imagine if voters were not perceived as gullible by those sponsoring campaign ads
Imagine if voters did not “buy” what campaigns, PAC’s and Super PAC’s were currently “selling”
Imagine if media and journalists were unbiased and “reported” rather than present opinion and commentary as fact
Imagine if fact-checking was not necessary
Imagine if truth and personal integrity were the cornerstones of how candidates were judged
Imagine country, state, county, city, and all constituents, not political party, being the most important consideration of all candidates and elected officials
Imagine if voters had facts readily available on which to base decisions
Imagine if candidates could move beyond talking-points
Imagine if candidates stressed what they would do, change, and improve instead of what their opponent(s) did or will do wrong
Imagine if campaigns, candidate debates, and the act of governing were respectful discussions of the issues despite differences of opinion
Imagine if voters cast their ballot for who they believed was the most qualified not on the perception of the lesser of evils
Imagine if lawmakers were not afraid to collaborate with members of the other party
Just imagine

But looking through rose-colored glasses does not reveal reality.

We have evolved (?) into a society:
Where partisanship divides us more than any other issue
Where respect for opinions that are different from our own has nearly disappeared
Where differing opinions spark feelings of hate and even calls for violence
Where many journalists are no longer reporters but rather commentators issuing opinion presented and accepted as fact
Where the decision to publish by media appears to be based on sales potential not added value to factual discussion
Where emotion allows bent truth and lies to be accepted as fact
Where talking points built on our emotion is all we use to base our decision without questioning
Where our votes are against the opposing candidate not really for the candidate we support
Where lawmakers are fearful or outright refuse to collaborate with the other party

It has not always been like this. We’ve had presidents able to work with a divided congress. We’ve had state legislatures able to work through partisan differences. We’ve had campaign seasons where respectful discussion of the issues provided voters with the ability to make informed decisions. We’ve had journalists and media who reported facts and labeled commentary and opinion as such.

Rose-colored glasses can be turned in to clear ones. It will take hard work, determination, and the willingness to make tough decisions by lawmakers and candidates. It will take voters willing to stand up and demand facts, clear discussion of the issues, and stop “buying” the current rhetoric.

In just over four months, the Nevada legislature can take steps to change rose-colored to clear by continuing the work on election reform started during the 2015 session. By re-introducing and enacting the Nevada Election Modernization and Reform Act for 2017 (NEMRA – 2017), the groundwork will be laid. You can make your voice heard by signing the petition to legislative leaders here.


Friday, September 2, 2016

Active Voters Shrink As Major Parties Continue to Lose Voter Share

The number of active voters in Nevada decreased in August due to routine clean-up of the voter rolls but that did not impact the continuing trend of both the Democratic and Republican Party losing voter share. What is also not changing is the fact Non-Partisan and “other” or minor political parties are growing at a faster rate than either major party.

With the 2016 general election two months away, voter registration efforts are in full swing. Given that the number of total voters, both active and inactive, increased by just under 16,000, these efforts are meeting with success. It is also clear these voters are turning away from the major political parties.  

State-Wide
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-6,409
-1.13
39.78
-0.10
R
-5,299
-1.14
34.42
-0.09
NP
-667
-0.25
19.61
0.13
Other
139
0.17
6.19
0.07
Total not D or R


25.80
0.20
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -1.55%; Lib +1.25%; other 8 parties +7.37%

Clark County
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-6,294
-1.55
43.53
0.00
R
-5,828
-2.07
30.10
-0.11
NP
-1,982
-1.04
20.52
0.10
Other
-231
-0.43
5.85
0.07
Total not D or R


26.37
0.17
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -2.56%; Lib +0.34%; other 8 parties +8.04%

 Washoe County
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-60
-0.07
36.29
-0.07
R
-501
-0.53
38.32
-0.24
NP
707
1.56
18.58
0.27
Other
119
0.71
6.81
0.04
Total not D or R


25.39
0.31
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -0.75%; Lib +1.80%; other 8 parties +5.96%

Rural Counties
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
307
0.73
24.78
-0.14
R
1,030
1.17
51.91
-0.07
NP
608
2.25
16.18
0.15
Other
251
2.10
7.13
0.06
Total not D or R


23.31
0.21
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +1.50%; Lib +4.45%; other 8 parties +4.77%

18 – 34 Year Old
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-919
-0.66
40.05
0.15
R
-1,690
-2.01
24.04
-0.23
NP
-251
-0.26
28.24
0.23
Other
192
0.74
7.67
0.14
Total not D or R


35.91
0.37
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -2.25%; Lib +1.58%; other 8 parties +9.03%

55+
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
-1,680
-0.73
40.23
-0.08
R
-1,285
-0.55
41.02
-0.00
NP
-87
-0.11
13.72
0.06
Other
-33
-0.12
5.03
0.02
Total not D or R


18.75
0.08
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 5 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP -0.92%; Lib +0.56%; other 8 parties +6.00%


Major party loses also continue in congressional and legislative districts.

Congressional Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
2
2
0
Republican
3
1
0
Non-Partisan
0
4
0
Other
1
3
0
In CD 1 the number of voters not affiliated with either major party exceeds those registered as Republican by 5.79%. The difference between GOP and Non-Partisan in CD1 is <0.25%. At the end of July, 2016 the difference was over 0.60%

State Senate Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
13
7
1
Republican
20
1
0
Non-Partisan
3
18
0
Other
0
20
1
In 12 districts (57.14%) the number of voters registered as Non-Partisan or the total number not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties.

State Assembly Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
24
17
1
Republican
39
2
1
Non-Partisan
8
34
0
Other
1
39
1
In 24 districts (57.14%) the number of voters registered as Non-Partisan or the total number not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties. This is an increase of 1 district over July, 2016

September, 2017 has been declared Voter Registration Month by the secretary of state. It will be interesting to see the changes at the end of the month. I expect the trend will continue providing legislators in the 2017 session of the Nevada legislature a choice. Legislators can leave the election process as is with fewer voters choosing our elected officials or they can change the process, recognizing the growing dissatisfaction among the electorate. The Nevada Election Modernization and Reform Act of 2017 (NEMRA – 2017), provides the mechanism for this needed change.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Major Parties Lose Voter Share As Non-Partisan and Minor Parties Out Front in Growth

The Nevada Democratic Party could be seeing the impact of Bernie Sanders supporters. The Republican Party could be seeing the impact of Donald Trump. Or it could be the trend of voters believing the major political parties do not represent them continues unabated.

Whether one or all of the above apply, July, 2016 voter registration numbers show Non-Partisan and minor party registration out-pacing both the Democratic and Republican Party in rate of growth while at the same time gaining voter share as both major parties lose.

The question also needs to be asked, what is happening with the “other” category? This is a consolidated group of parties not ballot qualified such as the Green and Whig and is continuing to show growth of over 10 percent. This is happening at the same time the Libertarian Party is growing by approximately 5 percent and the Independent American Party by 1 ½ percent.

State-Wide
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
8,564
1.62
39.88
-0.11
R
5,938
1.29
34.51
-0.20
NP
7,890
3.10
19.48
0.23
Other
2,531
3.17
6.12
0.07
Total not D or R


25.70
0.30
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 8 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +1.71%; Lib +4.27%; other 8 parties +10.56%

Clark County
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
7,146
1.80
43.53
-0.11
R
3,678
1.32
30.21
-0.21
NP
6,000
3.26
20.42
0.24
Other
1,851
3.56
5.78
0.08
Total not D or R


26.20
0.32
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 8 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +1.64%; Lib +4.58%; other 8 parties +11.73%
  
Washoe County
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
1,161
1.31
36.36
-0.15
R
1,264
1.34
38.56
-0.15
NP
1,342
3.06
18.31
0.02
Other
474
2.92
6.77
0.08
Total not D or R


25.08
0.10
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 8 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +2.25%; Lib +4.12%; other 8 parties +4.71%

Rural Counties
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
257
0.61
24.92
-0.15
R
996
1.15
51.98
-0.02
NP
548
2.07
16.03
0.14
Other
206
1.76
7.07
0.04
Total not D or R


23.10
0.18
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 8 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +1.36%; Lib +3.16%; other 8 parties +3.84%

18 – 34 Year Old
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
2,598
1.91
39.90
-0.45
R
1,835
2.23
24.27
-0.20
NP
3,743
4.01
28.01
0.25
Other
1,157
4.64
7.53
0.11
Total not D or R


35.54
0.36
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 8 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +2.66%; Lib +5.71%; other 8 parties +10.07%

55+
Party
Change in # Voters
% Change
% Voter Share
Difference in Voter Share %
D
2,381
1.04
40.31
-0.07
R
2,305
0.99
41.02
-0.10
NP
1.654
2.17
13.66
0.13
Other
556
1.98
5.01
0.04
Total not D or R


18.67
0.17
Other includes IAP, Lib, and 8 parties without ballot access.
Change is # voters: IAP +1.11%; Lib +2.14%; other 8 parties +9.67%


Major party loses are also the trend in congressional and legislative districts.

Congressional Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
4
0
0
Republican
4
0
0
Non-Partisan
0
4
0
Other
0
4
0
In CD 1 the number of voters not affiliated with either major party exceeds those registered as Republican by 4.77%

State Senate Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
19
1
1
Republican
20
1
0
Non-Partisan
0
21
0
Other
2
19
0
In 12 districts (57.14%) the number of voters registered as Non-Partisan or the total number not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties. This is an increase of 1 district over June, 2016

State Assembly Districts
Party
# Districts Lose Voter Share
# Districts Gain Voter Share
# Districts No Change
Democratic
37
5
0
Republican
28
2
2
Non-Partisan
0
42
0
Other
1
40
1
In 23 districts (54.76%) the number of voters registered as Non-Partisan or the total number not affiliated with either major party is greater than or within 5% of the number of voters registered to one of the major parties. This is an increase of 1 district over June, 2016

The 2017 session of the Nevada legislature convenes in six months. Bill draft requests (BDR) are being submitted now. By filing a BDR for the Nevada Election Modernization and Reform Act of 2017 (NEMRA – 2017), legislators can show they are ready to address the partisanship that is causing the continuing exodus.

You can let the secretary of state and legislative leaders know you want NEMRA – 2017 passed during the 2017 session by signing the petition on Change.org.