Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Stateside With Rosalea: Getting Flicked Off

Stateside With Rosalea: Getting Flicked Off

By Rosalea Barker

Last week was the worst week I've experienced since being here in the United States. Worse than the second week of September, 2001. The explosion at the hotel in Baghdad that housed the UN mission was part of the reason; the under-reported theft of democracy right here in the Bay Area of California was another.

While all the big fire engines are out attending to the recall election and the problems of electronic voting, the fire back at the station has gone relatively unnoticed. This story is important. Not that I'm a disinterested party, having walked many San Francisco precincts back in late 2001 and early 2002 distributing literature urging voters to approve a change to the charter of that city. That change was to allow instant runoff (aka ranked choice) voting to be used as a way to select the holders of offices such as mayor in that city.

In March 2002, the voters in San Francisco approved that change, making it illegal for the election of, for example, mayor, district attorney and sheriff (which are on the November 4 ballot) to take place using any other means. That was 18 months ago. Yet, on August 20, 2003, Judge James L. Warren of the San Francisco Superior Court ruled that, although it was now illegal for the city to conduct elections for those offices in any other way, it could go ahead and do so anyway. Cos the judge said so. (And Governor Gray Davis has the gall to say the Republicans have a way of stealing elections! Seems to me, heavily Democratic SF is stealing not just the election but democracy itself.)

Despite the scrolling banner on the Superior Court's website that says: "The Superior Court is pleased to make available Case Decisions it feels are o" (it stops scrolling at that point on my screen), the decision in this case is not on the website. The court did however allow media coverage, so the judge was shown in the evening news saying that although the election will now be held in an illegal manner, the election officer's claim that a ranked choice ballot could not be produced in time meant "the ultimate election outcome would be jeopardised" unless an illegal election was held. Did I mention that this change to the city charter was made *18* months ago?

Back in June this year, I went to one of the hearings the city's Elections Commission was conducting into the feasibility of holding a legal election. I arrived there late, just as the representative from the company that supplies SF's optical scan voting equipment was giving his presentation.

Election Systems and Sofware (ES&S), he said, was in the process of submitting an application to California's Secretary of State for approval of a new software system to implement ranked choice voting on the City's existing election equipment. The spokesman said that a four-person team could upgrade the 680 Eagles used in San Francisco over a period of two weeks. That would have given them plenty of time to submit the voting system for approval. For whatever reason, that approval never happened.

I ask you, is a country that cannot implement voter-mandated change to its election system within a period of eighteen months any country to be in charge of Iraq?

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news