Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Orange county special election:
california Rep Chris Cox has resigned to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.
@ seems to have barely missed the 50% needed to avoid a runoff. The next closest had only 17%, putting together a coalition of liberal/moderate republicans, democrats and independents. The front runner is a more typical organge county conservative Republican. I mention the race because it's a change of pace from the usual congressional election format. The Libertarians sat this one out again.
12% of the voters used absentee ballots, 3% voted in person on election day, less than 1% used early voting.

The mayor of Albuquerque was re-elected. I don't know the details on how public financing affected the race; the city is one with so called "clean" election funding.

A minimum wage proposal for the state's largest city was narrowly rejected by voters yesterday.
Voters did approve a measure to place voluntary limits on campaign spending in Albuquerque mayoral and council races and another that requires city voters to present photo identification at the polls.
Meanwhile, Mayor Martin Chavez became the first incumbent ever re-elected in city history.
He beat three challengers with 47 percent of the vote -- avoiding a run-off that would have been mandated if no candidate collected at least 40 percent.

I wonder how "voluntary" the limits on campaign spending are. This is how clean elections work - first, tax money is added into the mix of campaign funds, usually in ways that favor the factions already in power. Next, private spending is discouraged, whether by draconian disclosure regimes, or "voluntary" plans. Next, private funding is banned. See Sorrell. Next, private speech is banned, since speech is a means to circumvent the funding ban.

The minimum wage proposal was to make it illegal to work for less than $7.50 an hour, perhaps a move to discourage Mexicans from seeking to replace $5/day jobs in Mexico with $5/hr jobs in New Mexico. Since they lost, 49-51%, the backers plan a new election on the issue asap. The elections code passed by 69%, but I don't know yet what it says.
OK, it was passed because the previous, not so voluntary, plan was found unconstitutional. The new plan isn't voluntary either. If 1% of the voters kick in $5, the candidate gets public funding, matching the private funding of an opponent, up to a gazillion dolars. So it effectively blocks a Perot-style self-funded candidate. I suspect this raises equal protection problems.
The trick to defeating this would be to qualify ten candidates, and then have a private opponent raise a large amount of money, which would be matched 10 times, which could go to the same set of consultants. It's more of a scam than I can pull off, but it might be fun. I'm unclear on 1% of which voters; those registered, those eligible, or those who actually vote? About 100,000 actually vote, so 1000 x $5 might be doable. The payoff for the $5 is $100 to the campaign. With those odds, it's a system that could be worked.

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