Friday, September 24, 2010

Local Elections Update Part III

So, I recently watched the debates on Secretary of State debates here:

Watch the full episode. See more Arizona Illustrated.

Both candidates seemed perfectly reasonable to me from the perspective of who is best qualified for the position of Secretary of State. In Arizona, however, the Secretary of State has a really good chance of becoming governor, and I have no idea who would make a better governor from this debate.

Of course, it looks like I'm voting Democratic party line (I'm persuadable on some of these candidates, though) with maybe one or two exceptions - we'll see, so I'm probably going to vote for Chris Deschene here for a couple of pretty small-sounding reasons.

First, Deschene seems like he is more sensitive to the needs of making it easier to vote - to try to outreach to more people (I don't have strong evidence of this but it came up in the debate).

Another issue that came up in the debate was the issue about how Republicans recruited sham Green candidates in hopes of diluting the vote. For me this was a triviality. These Green candidates were awful and would maybe garner a handful of votes and it would be quite doubtful that any of them would turn an election.

But Robert Robb has interesting commentary hear on Deschene:

"Democratic secretary of state candidate Chris Deschene has been attempting to beat up incumbent Republican Ken Bennett for watching silently as the Democrats and Republicans litigated over the political inner thoughts of some vagabonds. According to Deschene, Bennett should have demanded an investigation, held a denunciatory press conference and maybe even held up the printing of the general election ballots.

This likewise is deeply troubling. The secretary of state administers our elections. It is even less appropriate for the administrator of an election to be rendering public judgments about the sincerity and motivation of candidates than for a judge to do so."

This did come up in the debate. I guess I have no idea on how I feel about any of this, it all seems like such a small issue.

I did think Deschene had a stronger answer to regarding proposition 111. I have yet to study the propositions, but my first impression is that they are all bad.

Here's Robb on Prop 111:

"* According to the co-chairmen of the Proposition 111 campaign committee, Tom Simplot and Jonathan Paton, “there is nothing in the proposition that would preclude the election of an independent candidate for governor and lieutenant governor.”

But there is.

Proposition 111 plainly says: “each nominee for the office of governor shall run on a ticket as a joint candidate in the general election with the nominee for the office of lieutenant governor from the same political party as the nominee for governor.” (Emphasis added.)

“Each” means every single candidate, no exceptions. “Shall” means it's mandatory. “From the same political party” means, well, from the same political party. Independents don't belong to a political party. So, by the clear and explicit language of Proposition 111, they are ineligible for either the office of governor or lieutenant governor.

Moreover, this is a constitutional requirement that cannot be amended or fixed by legislation.
Asserting differently doesn't make it so.

* Simplot and Paton were writing in rebuttal to a column of mine that also said that it was a dumb idea to put the administration of elections into the office of governor, as Proposition 111 would provide.

Although Proposition 111 clearly says that the lieutenant governor would assume the duties of the secretary of state, Simplot and Paton say that might not end up to be the case. The Legislature would ultimately decide.

The lieutenant governor might be in charge of economic development. Or might not. The lieutenant governor might administer elections. Or might not.

In other words, Proposition 111 proponents want to establish the office of lieutenant governor now, but have the Legislature decide later what, if anything, the office would actually do.

Now there's a plan."

Deschene opposes this proposition, Ken Bennett, in the debate, declared neutrality, but seems inclined to support it.

To be honest, I could probably care less which of these candidates monitors our elections (the primary responsibility of Secretary of State), I do care, however, which of these ends up as our next governor if something should happen to the elected one. However, I have no idea which candidate would make a better governor and this debate did little to help me with that.

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