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Undernews: U.S. Election News Roundup Nov. 2005

Undernews: U.S. Post Election News Roundup November 8th 2005

From Editor Sam Smith

MORNING LINE - Virginia's Kaine did five points better than the Morning Line's last 3 poll moving average and New Jersey Corzine did one point better, giving as a respectable 3 point error.


NY TIMES - About 1.24 million New Yorkers voted yesterday, in one of the lightest turnouts since the 1980s, denying Mr. Ferrer the huge vote from Hispanic voters and Democratic loyalists that he desperately needed to unseat the incumbent.


CBS - An astonishing 70 percent think the city is headed in the right direction, while only 15 percent think it's on the wrong track. Indeed, 85 percent of Bloomberg voters approved of the status quo, but so, too, do 48 percent of Ferrer voters. . . Latina women (48 percent), Latinos generally (55 percent) and black women (58 percent) are the least likely to be optimistic. . .

Apparently, Fernando Ferrer's "lose with dignity" strategy paid dividends: He was spared the 30+ point defeat that several polls had predicted; he appears to have carried The Bronx (59 percent to 39 percent), blacks (51 percent to 47 percent) and Latinos (62 percent to 36 percent). A majority of the electorate (53 percent) has a favorable impression of Ferrer, while only 34 percent have an unfavorable impression of him.


MONICA LEWIS, BLACK AMERICA WEB - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick overcame a scandal-plagued first term to fend off a challenge from a career bureaucrat, while the FBI announced an investigation into the handling of absentee ballots, including claims of ballots cast in the names of dead people. With 99 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, Kilpatrick had 117,354 votes, or 53 percent, and Hendrix had 103,446 votes, or 47 percent. Early returns had shown Hendrix with a 12-point lead. . . If Hendrix were to have unseated Kilpatrick, it would have been the first time in 44 years that an mayoral incumbent failed to retain his job. . .

Local and national media often criticized Kilpatrick, running stories about his personal life, high credit card bills and using his office to benefit his family. Over the summer, one media outlet reported that the luxury SUV Kilpatrick's wife was driving was actually leased by the city. Hendrix has had to deal with his own personal issues as of late. His 21-year-old son, Stephen, a student at the University of Michigan, recently faced a drunken driving charge and an unrelated misdemeanor domestic violence offense.


LAURIE GOODSTEIN, NY TIMES - All eight members up for re-election to the Pennsylvania school board that had been sued for introducing the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in biology class were swept out of office yesterday by a slate of challengers who campaigned against the intelligent design policy. Among the losing incumbents on the Dover, Pa., board were two members who testified in favor of the intelligent design policy at a recently concluded federal trial on the Dover policy: the chairwoman, Sheila Harkins, and Alan Bonsell. The election results were a repudiation of the first school district in the nation to order the introduction of intelligent design in a science class curriculum.


RONALD BAILY, REASON - In less happy "intelligent design" news, the Kansas State Board of Education voted 6 to 4 to set "science" standards that suggest that there are substantial doubts about evolutionary biology. For instance, the new standards allege a "lack of adequate natural explanations for the genetic code." As if the moral equivalent of saying "poof, make the genetic code" is an "adequate" explanation. The good news in Kansas is that the state's voters will have a chance to follow the inspiring example of the citizens of Dover next year.


ALTHOUGH MUCH OF THE MEDIA claimed that Cincinnati elected its first black mayor, that isn't true. Until the mid-fifties, Cincinnati had a proportional representation system similar to Cambridge MA. But when it looked like it might put black Ted Berry into the post in the mid fifties, this helped the move to abolish PR. Subsequently mayors were elected by a council elected by bloc voting. Among the winners later on: Berry in the 1970s and Dwight Tillery in the early 90s. It was only in 2001, that Cincinnati switched to a stand alone mayoral race. Thus, Cincinnati not only has had black mayors before, but before many other cities.


BOING BOING - The governor of California turned out to vote and discovered that the electronic voting machines thought that he'd already voted, so he had to cast his provisional ballot. Remember last year when the Electronic Frontier Foundation was representing the kids from Swarthmore College who were being sued by Diebold, makers of electronic voting machines? Diebold claimed that electronic voting was so foolproof that it would be a needless expense to add any kind of paper-trail to their boxes. . .


STEVEN GINSBERG WASHINGTON POST - An anti-Republican sentiment spread across Northern Virginia yesterday as voters overwhelmingly cast their ballots for Democrats, sweeping aside the traditional Virginia formula in which Republicans carry the outer suburbs and Democrats win the inner ones. In winning the election for governor, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) took Loudoun and Prince William counties, something Mark R. Warner (D) couldn't accomplish when he was elected governor four years ago. Kaine also received nearly three in four votes in Arlington and seven in 10 in Alexandria [suburbs of Washington]. Kaine, a Richmond native with no ties to the region, collected a higher percentage of Northern Virginia votes -- nearly six in 10 -- than that compiled by Alexandria resident Warner when he won the governorship. Meanwhile, several area House of Delegates races that were expected to be close or go to Republicans were instead won easily by Democrats.


WASHINGTON POST - Ohio and California were offering voters the chance to remove the power to draw legislative and congressional districts from politicians in state legislatures and give it to independent boards. Reformers said the change would reinvigorate politics by ending the practice of partisan gerrymandering, which tends to produce far fewer competitive races. The Ohio measure went down to a surprisingly resounding defeat -- losing by more than 2 to 1. The redistricting proposal was part of a package of measures pushed heavily by Reform Ohio Now, a coalition of liberal interest groups, in response to several ongoing scandals afflicting state Republicans. All of the measures, which would have broadened absentee voting eligibility, lowered campaign contribution limits, and handed election oversight to an independent board, were defeated -- a disappointment to national Democrats who saw the proposals as a vehicle for capturing voter unrest in the Buckeye State. As for California Proposition 77, by 1:30 a.m. today, with about 42 percent of the vote in, 56.5 percent of voters had voted against it and 43.5 for it. Proposition 77 is one of four measures backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


DAVID CRARY - Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, making their state the 19th to take that step. In Maine, however, a proposal to repeal a new gay-rights law [lost]


NEWS REPORTS - St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly (D) was walloped by former city Councilman Chris Coleman (D) on Tuesday as he sought a second term. Kelly sealed his fate last year when turned his back on the party to endorse President George W. Bush's reelection. Track returns here.

KELLEY BOUCHARD, PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, ME - Portland voters elected Susan Hopkins to an at-large seat on the School Committee on Tuesday, making her the fourth Green Independent on the nine-member board.


REUTERS - Washington state voters rejected a ballot measure that would overturn a gasoline-tax increase intended to finance $8.5 billion in transportation projects, according to election results on Tuesday. The measure, Initiative 912, would have rolled back the 9.5 cents-per-gallon boost to Washington state's gasoline tax approved by lawmakers and Gov. Christine Gregoire earlier this year.


ROB RICHIE, FAIR VOTE - A fun day for instant runoff voting in Fair Vote's home city of Takoma Park, MD. We won 84% of the vote in the referendum, winning 1,992 to 390. Pro-IRV candidates won all the seats too, and with hand-counted paper ballots, we'll have no problem implementing IRV smoothly in the next city elections in 2007. We had a perfect storm of good news here, including a unanimous vote to put it on the ballot by the city council, no organized opposition, an electorate well-versed in the spoiler dilemma and a smart campaign on its behalf. We won endorsements from a wide range of voices in the community, from religious leaders to PTA presidents to neighborhood association presidents.


TRACIE MAURIELLO, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE -"The voters were so mixed up with the intelligent-design case that it's been tough for us to get our message out about anything else," said ousted member David Napierskie. That was reflected on the campus of York College, where students discussed the trial and the election both in and out of classes, said Melvin Kulbicki, chairman of the political science department. "This trial had the effect of galvanizing and polarizing a community," Dr. Kulbicki said.. . .

It was unclear last night whether turnover on the board would render any court decision moot. That would be up to the trial judge, John E. Jones III.


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