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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The Never Ending Election

Category: US Politics
Posted: 05/25/05 16:00, Edited: 05/26/05 20:26

by Dave Mindeman

Let me take you back a moment to November 4, 2004. Our location is Washington State and we are watching the closest gubernatorial election in history. Christine Gregoire (D) and Dino Rossi (R) are deadlocked and no one knows the outcome.

We still don't.

Here we are heading into June 2005 and the Republicans are still fighting a declared win for the Democrat. The 129 vote margin of victory does not sit well with the Republicans especially since the recount margins came from heavily Democratic King County. The GOP pulled out every avenue of appeal unsuccessfully. Not satisfied with that however, they have now taken election officials to court on charges of fraud.

This is all coming from the same people who chided Gregoire to bow out "gracefully" when Dino Rossi had a less than 100 vote lead after the first tabulation.

During the Republican lawyer's opening statement there was some interesting hyperbole. In the midst of the usual statements like "This is a case of election fraud" or "they handed it to the canvassing board knowing it was a lie".... there also appeared this statement:

"This election was stolen from the legal voters of the state by a bizarre combination of illegal voters and bumbling bureaucrats."

I had flashbacks to 2000. Palm Beach County. Katherine Harris. Felony voter lists. Butterfly ballots. Bumbling Bureaucrats. The legal voters in Florida also had their election stolen and because it was stolen from them, the country was deprived of an administration that would not have us in Iraq and would not be systematically destroying the social contract we have had with the citizens of this country since FDR.

Judging by the Republican reaction in Washington State, the biggest mistake the Democrats made in 2000 was to concede. It is clear from recent history that Democrats concede too easily while Republicans never, ever do.

After the first returns were counted with Rossi slightly ahead, the early communication to the Democrats from the Washington Republicans was familiar. Gregoire should concede for the good of the state. Stop any recount. Vote totals are never perfect. Yada, Yada, Yada.... Apparently that's the line when the Republicans are ahead. But when the tables are turned and the Democrats have a slight lead, you get what we have in Washington State. An endless and relentless (not to mention costly) maneuver to overturn a legal and much scrutinized election.

The evidence that we need election reform in this country is overwhelming. Legal avenues to question the validity of any close election are there. Democrats understand (apparently at their own peril) that endless arguments on election outcomes are an albatross around the neck of our electoral system. Republicans have demonstrated in Washington State that they consider those same avenues as a viable alternative to an election loss. Only one thing is certain, the issue cannot last beyond 2008......

We need to fix our electoral system... we should be an example that emerging democracies around the world can emulate -- not point to as an object of ridicule. Why don't we have standardized voting machines? Why is the Secretary of State a partisan position? Why do we constantly have problems with voter registration?

The hypocrisy shown by the Washington Republicans is all the more reason to pursue election reform with renewed vigor. We can't keep burying our heads in the sand until the next "problem" election occurs.
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Out of Iraq NOW!

Posted: 05/24/05 13:51

by Jim Dooley (published in NetLets, Star Tribune 5/23)
Jim is a mnpACT! member from Apple Valley

Why are we not talking about withdrawing our forces from Iraq? The United States never belonged there. The administration's sources of information were all wrong.

We have forgotten the lesson of Vietnam, that the occupied country will crumble 10 minutes after we leave, whether we leave tomorrow, or in 10 years.

If we leave tomorrow, more of our troops will come home in one piece. If we leave tomorrow, we can use the billions we are spending there on something more productive.

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Taxing Secret?

Posted: 05/23/05 12:45

by Paul Bartlett
Accredited Minnesota Assessor (retired), Eagan

Hey, if I tell you a secret, do you promise not to keep it?

Tim Pawlenty recently vetoed legislation because it contained an increase in the state gas tax. Part of his logic: the additional tax could cost the typical driver $75, perhaps $100 per year.

Now, here's where the story gets good. Minnesota has a hideous property tax law known as Limit Market Value (LMV). LMV is a tax shift scheme that gouges the owners of new homes and folks who live in low inflation communities. You see, they provide an enormous subsidy to LMV recipients. The recipients are the folks who have realized the greatest actual or potential home capital gain. Isn't that a hoot, subsidizing the most fortunate amongst us?

Here's where the secret comes in. LMV is scheduled to sunset at the end of 2007. But, during a May 11 MPR interview, our tax conscious governor performed a classic flip flop and stated that he now supports an extension of LMV, contradicting his earlier opposition to the nation's worst property tax law. Over taxation can easily cost the LMV victims ten to twenty times more than the paltry additional gas tax. Isn't this a real scream, Pawlenty vetoes a reasonable gas tax increase but supports an unsupportable property tax shift rip-off?

Remember, you promised not to keep this secret; pass it on.

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