Revamp of San Diego elections dies despite broad reform group push
An election overhaul in the nation's eight largest city, designed to expand voters' viable choices and minimize polarization, has been killed by the San Diego City Council.
A broad coalition of democracy reform advocacy groups had made it a top priority to get a referendum revamping the municipal voting process on the November ballot, viewing the city as receptive to the plan. But the proposal was blocked Tuesday by the council on a 5-4 vote.
If adopted, San Diego would have replaced traditional partisan primaries for each office with a single contest open to all candidates, with the top four finishers advancing to a November election decided by ranked-choice voting.
Sixteen states, a half-dozen progressive senators and a collection of campaign finance reform experts have launched an uphill campaign to persuade the Supreme Court to close down the nation's super PACs.
They filed briefs Wednesday asking the court to consider a fresh challenge to a central aspect of campaign finance law: A federal appeals court ruling from a decade ago that ended contribution and spending limits, but not disclosure requirements, for independent political groups that want to elect or defeat candidates — thus creating super PACs.
There is no guarantee the justices will decide to take the case after it reconvenes this fall, however. And even if they do, the court's reliably conservative majority and string of precedents promoting the deregulation of campaign finance suggest that victory for reformers is a longshot.
A bipartisan consensus has become clear in Congress that states need more federal help, and quickly, or else their elections in November risk becoming dangerously unhealthy, inefficient and unreliable — mainly because they might not be ready to deliver and count the torrent of mail ballots requested by voters anxious about the coronavirus.
All the witnesses made essentially that point Wednesday in a Senate hearing. And they had a clearly receptive ear from Roy Blunt of Missouri, who convened the session as the Republican leadership's point person on election funding.
But Blunt did not reveal how much he was willing to include in the next pandemic economic relief bill, negotiations on which have gotten off to a scattershot start in Congress this week. Republicans have been fighting among themselves about much the economic rescue package should cost and which of President Trump's expensive ideas to include.
Want to know how you can help make sure our elections are fair this fall? Bridge Alliance co-founder Debilyn Molineaux has some ideas.
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