Friday, June 29, 2007

Give 'Em the Bird, Vote For a Third! Pt 3 - How You Can Change Washington, DC

As I began doing more research into this subject, I found that some states provide more detailed records on election results than others, at least as far as what's available on the internets. ("It's a series of tubes!") I started with in my home state, New York, but I had hoped that I could find one central place with a link to each state's "Elections" page, and I found one here. I also came across a Non-Partisan website called Smart Voter, sponsored by The League of Women Voters. It has details for some Congressional races, but not all of them. They do refer you to other places. And then I found this, Answers.Com, which, at first glance, looks pretty good ,too. In addition, New Yorkers may want to check out this.

New York has 29 Congressional Districts. In the 2006 elections for US Representative, seven political parties ran candidates, with a few running in almost every district. They were:

  • The Democratic Party (DEM), nominated 29 candidates, 23 of whom won
  • The Working Families Party (WOR), nominated 26 candidates, 20 of whom won
  • The Republican Party (REP), nominated 25 candidates, 6 of whom won
  • The Conservative Party (CON), nominated 22 candidates, 7 of whom won
  • The Independence Party (IND) (website used to be here), nominated 19 candidates, 15 of whom won
  • The Libertarian Party (LIB), nominated 2 candidates, neither of whom won
  • The Freedom Party (FRE) (no website could be found) nominated only one candidate, Ollie McLeanin, in the NY-11. He got 996 votes to the LIB candidate's 671. They also nominated the REP Stephen Finger, whose line got most of his votes, but lost to the DEM Yvette D. Clarke. The Freedom Party did not field a candidate in the US Senate race.)

All WOR candidates were the same as the DEM candidate in that race, and 20 of them won. All but five of the CON candidates were the same as the REP candidate, and 7 of those had won (including one who was also nominated by the DEMs instead of the REPs.) The INDs nominated 10 DEMs who won their races, 5 REPs who won their races, 3 REPS who lost their races, and 1 DEM who lost his race in a close vote. [Ironically, my district (NY-19), was one of the few in which WOR did not field a candidate for US Representative. Both CON and IND endorsed the REP candidate, Sue Kelly, but she (and her three parties) lost to DEM nominee John Hall.] Still, the voters were given the opportunity in most races to cast a vote for the very same person they would have voted for anyway, just on another party's line. This would increase that party's chances of not having to go out and get signatures to get on future ballots. This is a HUGE step toward taking back control of Congress. And this is how you can play a part.

The NY Congressional delegation consists of 23 DEMs and 6 REPs. If each of the candidates who ran as a WOR received more votes than as a DEM, we could have sent 20 WORs, 6 REPs and 3 DEMs, instead. The WORs would likely have voted with the DEMs, so it may not have made much differrence. BUT, check this out. If every candidate who ran as an IND and won went in as a member of that party, we would have sent 15 INDs, 13 DEMs, and 1 REP to Washington. And with not all INDs necessarily Liberal, it could have affected the balance of power in the House of Representatives immensely. Imagine how a similar scenario in your state involving candidates on multiple party lines could have affected the outcome of the entire 2006 elections! And all you have to do is vote for the same candidate but under a different party line, and you already effect a humongous change.

In the race for US Senate, in addition to the parties previously mentioned, there were also three other parties running a candidate to unseat incumbent Sen Hillary Clinton. They were The Green Party, and the Socialist Equality Party and the Socialist Workers Party (which you can read about here). These last two parties' nominees garnered less than half the LIB candidate's votes combined. But, if nothing else, they offered the voters another choice, an alternative to the "politics as usual"-mode of the two major political parties.

So, I recommend each of you (and everyone you know with access to the internets), check out the websites above, and begin looking at what other parties are running candidates in 2008.

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