Three Rules.

In a little over a week, we will go to the polls to vote.
This is a General election.

Just musing over the ballot questions here in Massachusetts. It is actually easier to get a statewide ballot question on the ballot than it is to get a local question on.

Whatever you consider the proper side to be on for a ballot question, continuously we hear that it matters little as the Legislature can “modify” the will of the people. This is why, for example, the electorate voted to bring the State sales tax back to 5% but the Legislature currently has it set at 6.25%.
This year there is a ballot question to lower that tax to 3%.
Polls or public opinion doesn’t matter because most people running for office are opposed to this question. Numerous legislators, mostly incumbents, are against such a measure, should it pass.

This “problem”  has perplexed me for some time.

I have arrived at a solution.
We need a ballot question that states;

1. A legislator must (SHALL) vote on an issue that was a ballot question in the same fashion as the majority of voters in his/her legislative district until the next general election.
So I hear some moans of, that ties a legislators hands and removes their personal point of view from the equation. I hear that argument and thus add the following disclaimer.

2. Any Legislator who feels compelled to vote in favor of the minority opinion as expressed by the results of the last general election Shall have their salary reduced by 1/2 of the percentage on the failing side of the ballot question.
Whoa. I hear the response. That is a pretty steep penalty for voting your heart. (?????). So I offer the third and final portion of the ballot proposal.

3. The percentage in #2 above Shall be modified by adjusting for the percentage of registered voter turnout at the general election just preceding.
Now you sound like a Legislator. What does all that mean?

Let us assume that a ballot question is voted favorablly in a general election.
The totals are 52% in favor and 48% against.

A legislator feels that the question should have failed. That legislators District voted the same as the general results. There was a 24% voter turnout in that Legislators district.

The ballot question comes before the legislature for aproval after the election.
The Legislator is obligated to vote for the measure by rule # 1.

The legislator actually votes against the bill.
Using rule #2 we determine that the Failing side represented 48% of the voting electorate. So,the percentage is 0.48 (48%) times 0.5 (1/2 or 50%). That equals 0.24 or 24%. If we just applied this rule the legislator would have their salary reduced by 24%. That could be about $14,500 per year.

However we then we apply Rule # 3.
We apply 24% voter turnout to the 24% determined for rule #2. This gives us 0.24 times 0.24.
the result is the legislator has their pay reduced by .0576 or 5.76 % until the next general election.

I think that is a pretty simple set of rules. It allows flexibiility on the part of all parties involved.
Just one major issue with this rule.
It needs to have a rider attached that states; These 3 rules Shall overide any and all existing legislation. When a conflict between these 3 rules and current rule of law exists, these rules Shall take precedence.

That is a Ballot Question proposal.

Interested to hear your comments.

admin posted at 2010-10-25 Category: Uncategorized

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