A new Survey by icitizen points to a clear opening for Third-Party Candidates in future Elections. The Online Survey found that not only do 7 in 10 Respondents not feel Represented by the Republican or Democratic Parties, and that a Third Party is ...


The Independent View - 5 new articles

New Survey Considering Third Party Options

A new Survey by icitizen points to a clear opening for Third-Party Candidates in future Elections.

The Online Survey found that not only do 7 in 10 Respondents not feel Represented by the Republican or Democratic Parties, and that a Third Party is needed, but 6 in 10 Democratic Respondents are considering Voting for a Third Party Candidate in 2020. That is huge considering only 29% of Republican Respondents said the same.

The wounds are clearly still fresh in the Democratic Party after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tilted the Presidential Primary in Hillary Clinton’s favor over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, were unwelcoming to Non-Traditional Democratic Voters, (i.e. Sanders Progressives, Independent, and Third-Party Voters, etc.), and now struggle to find a message they can win with.

Here are some other Key Findings from the Survey:

- 68% of Democrats, 82% of Independents, and over half (54%) of Republicans believe a “third party is necessary” to represent Americans’ Political Views.

- Fully 69% of Americans reported that they would be interested in the establishment of a new Political Party to serve as a viable alternative to the Two-Party system, 29% not interested, 2% unsure.

- Democrats (75%) and Independents (81%) are among the most interested in the establishment of a New Party.

- Over half (53%) of Americans believe that including a Third Party in Congress, (MHD - or more Independents), so that no Party had a Majority, would help Lawmaking in the U.S., 21% obstruct Lawmaking; 19% does not make a difference; 7% unsure.

- Poll results suggest that an overall Majority of Americans, including Democrats and Republicans, are looking for more Representation of Americans’ views and are likely to give a Third Party Candidate a chance in 2020.

CLICK HERE to read the report.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Former AG Holder Plans National Effort to Oppose Trump Policies

President Obama has been taking only tentative steps back into the Public Eye, but former Attorney General Eric Holder is Planning to become a lot more Visible in his Opposition to Team Trump's Efforts to gut a half-century of American Progress. “I thought, frankly, along with everybody else, that after the election, with Hillary Clinton as president, I could walk off the field,” he said. “So when she didn’t win, I thought, ‘We’ll have to see how this plays out.’ But it became clear relatively soon — and certainly sooner than I expected — that I had to get back on the field and be in effective opposition. Up until my now our efforts have been largely organizational — raising funds, generating support,” Holder said. “But now we’re moving into an operational phase where we’ll be filing lawsuits and I’ll be more visible talking about those issues.”

Holder says he's working toward a National Organization to coordinate Legal Resistance to a host of Trump Policies. No longer would we have to rely on Individual Lawyers and Groups being at the right Airports at the right times, for example; Coordinated efforts between like-minded States and Groups would make each battle both easier to organize and more effective. In the meantime, he's lending his Voice to efforts like California's SB 54, a Bill to Block the State's Law Enforcement Officers from being Forced to assist Trump's Deportation efforts. Having a former Attorney General back your effort is nothing to sneeze at.

Holder explained why he thinks SB 54 is Constitutional “the federal government does not have the ability to force states to do things that are inherently federal in nature”, and why, in his view, the Trump Administration’s threats to withhold Federal Funding in response aren’t, “the federal government can’t coerce states into doing something states don’t want to do by threatening to withhold support”.

The big News is that Eric Holder is jumping Headfirst back into the Anti-Trumpism fray.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Electionline Weekly June 22, 2017

Legislative Updates

Arizona: Under a Bill proposed by Rep. Bob Thorpe (R-Flagstaff) College Students would be Prohibited from Registering and Voting where they attend College. The Bill would impact not only Students who live On-Campus, but also those who have Apartments or Houses Off-Campus. A similar Proposal by Thorpe introduced earlier this year died when State Rep. Doug Coleman, R-Apache Junction, Refused to give it a Hearing in the House Government Committee which he Chairs.

California: Assembly Bill 668, the Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2018 would allow the State to Sell $450 million in Bonds to Pay for New Voting Equipment. The Bill was sent to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee and Standing Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendment after Passing out of the Assembly at the end of May.

Illinois: House Bill 539 has been Approved with Bipartisan support. Under the Bill, Counties would have the ability to Reduce the Number of Elections Judges during Primary Elections. The Bill awaits the Governor’s signature.

Maine: The House has approved a Resolution that would make it more difficult to put a Referendum Question on a Ballot. The Resolution would Mandate that Signatures be obtained from 10% of the Voters in each of Maine’s two Congressional Districts.

The Senate tabled Legislation ( LD 1625) that would have Repealed a Citizen-led Initiative which Created a Ranked-Choice Voting system. The Senate then Voted to give Initial Approval to a Bill (LD 1624) that would Amend the State Constitution to Resolve Issues with the New Law that the State’s Supreme Judicial Court found.

Nevada: Included in the 41 Vetoes by Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) was a Veto of Assembly Bill 272 which would have allowed Counties to Create Vote Centers. In his Veto Message, Sandoval said the Current System works and because he’s heard no complaints he didn’t see the need to make any Changes.

Ohio: The House has Approved House Bill 41. It would Eliminate a Requirement that Absentee Voters complete Identification Envelopes to Submit Ballots.

Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) Vetoed 50 Bills this week, including House Bill 2410 that would have Allowed certain Small Counties to conduct Runoff Elections by Mail. Abbott cited concerns about Fraud as his reason for the Veto.

Washington: The Seattle City Council Voted 6-0 to require Landlords to Provide New Tenants with Voter Registration Information.

Wisconsin: The Assembly has Approved a Bill dictating who Can/Cannot Request a Recount. Under the Legislation, only Candidates within 1% of the Winner’s Vote Total in an Election with at least 4,000 Votes would be Eligible to Request a Recount. If an Election includes Fewer than 4,000 votes, the Requesting Candidate must be within 40 Votes.

Legal Updates

Michigan: Macomb County’s Clerk is facing another Lawsuit, this time for Secretly Videotaping a Resident. Diane Zontini is Suing Clerk Karen Spranger Alleging that an Associate of the Clerk’s Secretly Filmed Zontini while she was Conducting Private business in the Clerk’s Office.

New York: The U.S. Department of Justice has reached an Agreement with the State to Settle a Lawsuit over Voter Registration opportunities through State Motor Vehicle (DMV) Offices. Under a Settlement Agreement, New York will make sure a Voter Registration opportunity will be included with all Applications for Driver’s Licenses and Renewals.

North Carolina: The North Carolina Court of Appeals Rejected Gov. Roy Cooper’s Request to put on Hold the Law creating the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The Lawsuit argues the Change in the Elections Board Violates the Constitutional Separation of Powers.

Ohio: The U.S. Supreme Court has Refused to Hear an Appeal of the Decision by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals that found a Pair of Homeless Organizations lacked Standing as Private Entities to Challenge Enforcement of a Law requiring Voters to provide certain Personal Identifying Information with Ballots.

Virginia: Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has Agreed to Turn over a List of the 206,000 Convicted Felons whose Voting Rights were Restored under a Now-Defunct Executive Order from 2016. The Release of the Information is part of a Settlement with the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office which had Sued to Gain access to the List.

Andrew J. Spieles, 21 of Harrisonburg, pleaded Guilty to a “one-count Information” for knowingly Submitting Fraudulent Voter Registration Forms.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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Supreme Court Narrows Grounds for Revoking Citizenship of Naturalized Citizens

The Supreme Court on Thursday narrowed the Grounds on which Naturalized Citizens can have their Citizenship Revoked.

The Case concerned Divan Maslenjak, a Naturalized Citizen who was Deported after Lying on her Naturalization Application. Maslenjak, an Ethnic Serb who was born in a Serb village in what is today Bosnia and Herzegovina, arrived in the United States in 2000 as a Refugee and was ultimately granted Naturalization in 2007. In 2013, however, a Jury found her Guilty of making False statements on her Application for Naturalization and she was stripped of her Citizenship.

Newly appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch issued his first separate Opinion in the Case, which concurred with the Judgment. Justice Elena Kagan, writing for a Unanimous Court, ruled in favor of Maslenjak, holding that the Offense had to be materially related to the decision to Grant Naturalization. "If whatever illegal conduct occurring within the naturalization process was a causal dead-end -- if, so to speak, the ripples from that act could not have reached the decision to award citizenship -- then the act cannot support a charge that the applicant obtained naturalization illegally," Kagan wrote.

The Ruling will come as relief to Advocates of Immigrant Rights Groups who feared that the Lower Court Opinion that went against Maslenjak would give the Government the Power to take away Citizenship and Jail people based on any Minor misstatement in their Citizenship Application.

The Decision also comes at a time of concern in the Human Rights Community that the Trump Administration will aggressively seek to strip Citizenship, said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court Analyst and Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Kagan said the Government's position, "wholly unmooring the revocation of citizenship from its award" would open the door to a "world of disquieting consequences -- which would need far stronger textual support to believe Congress intended."

Maslenjak's Lawyers challenged the Jury Instruction in the Case because the Jury was told it could Convict her even if the False Statement at issue did not Influence the Government's Decision to Approve her Naturalization.
The Government argued that it could strip Citizenship from an Individual who Lied during the Naturalization Process, without having to prove that the Lie was significant to the Decision to Grant Naturalization. Lower Courts were split on the issue of whether the Government must prove that the Offense was Material to the Decision to Grant Naturalization.

In Court, Christopher Landau, a Lawyer for Maslenjak, conceded that she had Lied. But he said the Jury instruction in the Case "didn't require the government to prove that the underlying violation of law had any effect whatsoever on the naturalization decision." He argued that his Client should be able to go back to Court to argue the Material question before the Jury, and he acknowledged that even then She would have a "tough row to hoe."

During Arguments for the Case, Roberts had a Memorable moment when he reviewed a Naturalization Form used by the Government and was concerned about how broad the Questions were and of the Impact the Government's position could have if someone did not fully answer every single Question. He launched his own line of inquiry. He noted that one Question asks whether the Applicant has ever attempted to Commit a Crime for which he was not Arrested. "Some time ago, outside the statute of limitations, I drove 60 miles an hour in a 55-mile-an-hour zone. ... I was not arrested," he said, as the audience laughed. "Now you say," Roberts continued, that if he had failed to note the offense on the form "20 years after I was naturalized as a citizen, you could knock on my door and say, 'guess what, you're not an American citizen after all?'" Roberts later said he thought the government's position could lead to a problem of "prosecutorial abuse."

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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New Supreme Court Case Could Rearrange Electoral Lines for 2020 Election

Later this year, the Supreme Court will hear a new spin on a scourge almost as old as the Republic, Partisan Gerrymandering.

In recent years, the Justices have cracked down on Districts that are Drawn using Predominantly Racial Lines. A Ruling in 2015 held that Alabama Violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal-Protection Guarantee by Packing too many Black Voters into State Senate Districts and Diluting their Influence in neighboring areas. Last month, in Cooper v Harris, the Court Reprimanded North Carolina for doing the same in two bizarrely shaped Legislative Districts. But the Justices have looked the other way when oddly drawn Districts clump Voters based on Party rather than Race. Partisan Gerrymandering may be “unsavoury”, as Justice Samuel Alito puts it, but has not been held to offend the Constitution.

Gill v Whitford, one of the most important Cases the Justices will hear next Term, calls Justice Alito’s statement into question. The timing is key. With the 2020 Census and Campaigns around the corner, new Electoral Maps will soon be on the draftsman’s table. If the challenge to hyper-partisan Line-Drawing succeeds, the shape of Districts to come may tighten the link between Voters’ preferences and who gets Elected.

America has strayed further from this ideal in recent years, mainly to the detriment of Democrats. After an Electoral surge in 2010, Republicans used their newfound Control of State Legislatures and Governor’s mansions to transform the way Americans vote. The results were staggering. In Races for the House of Representatives in 2012, 1.3m more Voters opted for Democrats than Republicans, but it was the Republicans who wound up with a 234-201 Majority. Two years later, Republicans won a slim Majority of all votes in House races (52%), but they nabbed 57% of House Seats. The phenomenon was even more pronounced in some State Races. In Wisconsin, 51% of Voters in 2012 picked Democrats in State Legislative contests, but Republicans grabbed 60 of the 99 Assembly Seats. They expanded their hold to 64 Seats in 2016.

The Plaintiffs in Gill say these skewed outcomes stem from “Pinpoint-Precision Technology that sliced-and-diced American Communities”. REDMAP, as the Republican Redistricting program was dubbed, wasn’t shy about its goals (“maintain[ing] a Republican stronghold in the US House of Representatives for the next decade”) or its methods (“controlling the redistricting process”). And until now, this Strategy has been Constitutional. In 1986, the Supreme Court turned back a Challenge to Partisan Line-Drawing, holding that Indiana Democrats had not shown that their plight at the hands of Gerrymandering Republicans was “sufficiently adverse” to the Equal-Protection Guarantee. Eighteen years later, Four Justices insisted it was impossible to determine when Politically motivated District Drawing crossed a Constitutional line, while the Four Liberal Justices each floated a Standard for doing just that. The decisive vote came from Justice Anthony Kennedy, to this day the Court’s center of gravity, who rejected each of the Liberals’ proposals but refused to give up hope that one day, in another Case, a defensible line might be found.

With Octogenarian Justice Kennedy rumored to be considering retirement, Gill may be, as Election-Law Expert Rick Hasen says, the Supreme Court’s “last best chance” of Draining the Redistricting Process of Excess Partisanship. The novel approach is tuned to Justice Kennedy, whose 2004 Opinion lamented that Legislators were “in the business of rigging elections”.

Eric McGhee, a Political Scientist, and Nicholas Stephanopoulos, a Law Professor, think they have exactly what the Justice ordered: a Metric for measuring the Extent of the Partisan imbalance.

Here is how it works: in all Elections, the losing Candidate gets some Votes and the winning Candidate gets more votes than he needs to win; these are all so-called “Wasted Votes”. Messrs McGhee and Stephanopolous subtract one Party’s Wasted Votes from the other’s, and then divides that difference by the Total Number of votes cast. This yields the “Efficiency Gap”. If it’s large enough, 7% or higher, the Scholars say, one Party can be said to hold an Unconstitutional “Systematic Advantage” over the other, stifling Democracy and ensuring the Majority repeat victories until the next round of Maps is Drawn. Republicans’ Efficiency Gap in Wisconsin has been as high as 13%.

When a Federal District Court in Wisconsin struck down the State’s District Map in 2016, it decided the Case based on different Reasoning but said the Efficiency-Gap Model corroborated their findings. Will Justice Kennedy bite in Gill? In an early possible sign to the contrary, he joined the Four Conservative Justices on June 18th in putting the Lower Court’s Ruling on Hold pending the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision. But Justice Kennedy’s 2004 Opinion inspires another view. If “workable standards” for Unrigging Elections were to surface, he wrote, “courts should be prepared to order relief”.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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