Monday, October 22, 2007


A warped voting system:
The system for passing a public initiative is not on a level playing field. The rules state: For an initiative to pass it must be approved by 2/3 of the qualified voters, that’s not 2/3 of the votes cast, which would be much fairer, but of all qualified voters. This in effect makes every 'none' vote or everyone that doesn’t even bother to vote to be counted as a vote against the initiative, or as a no vote. The rules should be, all 'yes' votes and all 'no' votes should be counted to equal one total amount of votes cast. At this point they then should be counted to determine the number for (yes) and the number against (no), period. This can be then used to determine if the 2/3 majority was achieved. With this existing system if less than 2/3 of the registered voters show up at the polls to vote, the initiative is doomed from the get go. This very system will be the undoing of the Saipan Casino Act. If there is low voter turnout all the no shows are considered no votes, or votes against the SCA. This is good for the people against the act but will doom the approval of it.
But the difficult part of the initiative under Article IX is that if the petition is a local law, it needs to be passed by 2/3 of those qualified to vote in that senatorial district. It is not a simple majority. It means 2/3 of all those qualified to vote in the district. It does not say 2/3 of all those votes cast in the election. So my friends, that is a monumental task to overcome. In the case of Saipan where the total qualified voters is about 12,000, this means that the yes vote must be at least 8,000.
Former Senate President

So the unfair and unlevel rules will screw the SCA, it will sink that stupid pipe dream, which I personally enjoy, so they're screwing themselves with their own stupid rules. Seriously, this is a flawed rule and must be revisited, but only after the SCA sinks...


lil_hammerhead said...

On the face of it I agree with you. But reducing it to a the 51% majority is also discomforting. Much of the stuff that has come up for "initiative" votes are at best very questionable.. like this Casino Act.

The voter turnout percentages here have always been significant. I believe if an initiative is really important enough, it would be easy enough to get that 2/3 of voters needed. If not, maybe it's something we need to consider more thoroughly.

The same is the case with amendments to the constitution. It takes more than a simple majority of voters.. it takes some obscene formula (2/3 of voters on 2 of the 3 main districts (Saipan, Rota, Tinian) to pass an amendment.

I wonder if Mr. Demapan is for changing the vote requirements with regards to constitional amendments? Why hasn't this been an issue for him in the past?

(And if it's something that bothers Juan Demapan - it's usually wisest to take the exact opposite position of his.)

glend558 said...

My point is this.. If you don't vote (not going to the polls or leave the ballot blank) you are considedred to have voted 'no' or against the initiative. I think only votes that are cast on the ballot (either way) should be counted. Count actual votes only, not 'non votes.' I am not questioning the amount of votes required but the way counting of them. Yes=1, No=1, a blank=0 The existing way has a blank to = 'no'. This in essence has everyone not voting at all, as having voted against the initiative..
Also regarding the amendments to the constitution it calls for 2/3 of the votes cast, a big difference then 2/3 of qualified voters. This is exactaly what I'm saying about the initiatives.

lil_hammerhead said...

I do understand the vote requirements you're talking about. And like I said, I want so badly to agree with you on this... but, ouch.. If it was 2/3 of the voters who turned out, I can only imagine what numbnut initiatives might get through - it was probably the original intention of whoever came up with this vote equation to help prevent that (passing numbnut initiatives).

But I'll give you that counting nonvoters as "no" by default doesn't seem fair.

glend558 said...

My point exactly, and it is for this reason the numbnut SCA will sink. Hooray!
Numbnut, I like the sound of that, I'll have to incorporate that into my text along with fools, idiots, dumbshits, ignorants and assholes...

lil_hammerhead said...

It's a big catch 22.

I've always thought "Numb Nuts" had a nice flow.. much prefer it over terms like "idiots", "fools" or "stupid".

glend558 said...

Your just to cool! lol