If We Don’t Tackle Election Reform . . .

Representative Jay Kaufman’s award winning public policy forum, “OPEN HOUSE,” delves into the electoral process with an election preview of “OPEN HOUSE” in, “If We Don’t Tackle Election Reform . . .” The forum, the eighth of the 23rd season, will be held Thursday, May 17th, from 7:00PM-8:00PM at the historic Depot in Lexington Center (13 Depot Square in Lexington Center).

Joining Representative Kaufman is Pam Wilmot Executive Director at Common Cause and Greg Dennis from Voter Choice MA. Pam Wilmot has been in her role at Common Cause Massachusetts since 2002. She is responsible for leading democracy reform and voter access efforts statewide, as well as serving as a lobbyist and managing Common Cause’s Boston office. Pam has been an advocate for government reform as well as consumer and environmental issues for over 20 years. Greg Dennis is the Policy Director of Voter Choice MA, an organization promoting the establishment of ranked choice voting. Ranked Choice Voting is a simple change to the way we vote. In most elections today, you pick one candidate. With Ranked Choice Voting, you can rank multiple candidates in the order you prefer them — 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, and so on. If your 1st choice can’t win, your vote instantly counts toward your backup choice. Currently, only the state of Maine and 18 cities in the US have ranked choice voting.

It’s hard to ignore the role of Russian intervention in the 2016 national elections, but that’s not the only problem.  Why should members of Congress and state legislatures get to pick their constituents rather than having an independent redistricting process in which districts are shaped independent of party and incumbent preferences?  What about the Electoral College?  In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision has free speech given way to expensive speech?  In crowded fields with multiple candidates, does majority rule prevail when a candidate can win with only 20% of the vote or less?  How can voters learn about candidates in this era of social media and the huge costs of traditional media?  Early and/or online voting has been adopted in several jurisdictions, as have automatic and/or same-day voter registration.  Which of these make sense for us?

Don’t miss this very special event on May 17th, from 7PM-8PM. As always, the forum will take its shape largely from questions from the audience. Questions can also be submitted in advance by email, jay.kaufman@mahouse.gov, or tweet your questions to @repjaykaufman.

 

In 1997, OPEN HOUSE was awarded the prestigious Beacon Award, cable television’s equivalent of an Emmy. The series was also named the best television series by Massachusetts Cable Television Commission. The OPEN HOUSE series is produced through a partnership between Representative Kaufman and LexMedia which records the forums for broadcast in Lexington and Woburn.