It is election time again, folks. Let's get the upper hand this time. We tried as an electorate to push for accountability by our senators with the numbered seating initiative. However, we did not get the required number of signatures for the question to be placed on the ballot. But guess what? Up to now all that our senators had to do to address election reform was to place it on the legislative agenda at anytime.
Let's not let reform slip though our fingers again. For those leaders who truly believe in election reform they should not have a problem signing a pledge for reform to happen when in office.
The districting method of voting is a clear understanding of how our senators are accountable to the voters who elected them in a certain area or district of the island. Numbered seating is a method of selecting candidates running for a specific seat held by an incumbent senator on his or her record during the last term in office. Candidates do not run against all of the senators in the island-voting district, but instead select a senator to run against with the weakest record. Both methods in my opinion are clearly better than the present system.
Here is my idea to ensure that either numbered seating or districting methods of election reform will be a priority in the 26th Legislature. If every one of us would take this sheet with us to every debate and demand that our aspirants and incumbents place their signatures pledging that they will do two things. One, if they have authorship of the legislation pertaining to districting or numbered seating they will assign it to the governmental operations committee for hearings before their first six months in office. Two, they will support what comes out of the committee after it has undergone a thorough review and public hearings have been held. If the candidates do not sign this pledge, then we know that they are not committed to reform. If the governor vetoes the bill then we must lobby the senators to ensure that there are sufficient votes for an override. I know this sounds daunting but faced with our present system it will be worth the effort.
I can mail or e-mail to you the "Pledge for Election Reform though Districting or Numbered Seating" I would ask, once you have a signed original by the candidate, that you mail a copy to me so a record can be kept. Six months after the senators are sworn in, we will present them and the media with the signed documents, if hearings are not held on this issue. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 777- 7190 and leave me your fax number so that I can send you the form.
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