- October 8 - RUTH WILSON GILMORE, email@example.com, http://geography.berkeley.edu/PeopleHistory/faculty/R_Gilmore.html
Gilmore is a professor of geography and African American studies at the University of California at Berkeley. She said today: "Some fundamental contradictions deepened on Election Day. More California voters cast ballots against the so-called 'racial privacy' act [Proposition 54] than in favor of the successful recall. Here we have an activist electorate persuaded by the health and education-related arguments that sank Prop. 54. The new governor promises to cut 'fat' from a budget stretched tightly across these spending areas. Yet, the prison budget has about a billion dollars that can be excised by someone with the political will to stop construction of Delano II [prison] and use alternatives to incarceration."
MARK LANCE, firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate professor of philosophy at Georgetown University, Lance said today: "When voting takes place in the context of a centralized press run by corporations, a communication system which precludes any but the wealthy and the well-connected from putting a message out to people, a culture that favors sound bites and slogans over serious debate, it amounts to nothing more than the whim of the mob. Real democracy is a deep institutional arrangement encompassing education, communication, and economics, as well as the formal mechanisms of politics. In all but the latter, the U.S. is woefully lacking in democracy."
ROB RICHIE, email@example.com, www.fairvote.org
Executive director of the Center for Voting and Democracy, Richie said today: "The California recall should be a wake-up call to incumbent politicians across the nation. They can try to suppress competition through gerrymandered districts, huge campaign war chests and slashing attacks on opponents, but when given the chance, a growing number of voters are ready to shake the foundation upon which their apparent security rests...." Richie urges "fair redistricting, campaign finance reform, election day registration and full representation rather than traditional winner-take-all election" as well as "instant runoff voting, the value of which was underscored by the recall. Our report on majority rule shows that, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, 25 of our nation's governors have won at least one election without a majority because we don't use instant runoff voting. By allowing voters to rank-order candidates, instant runoff voting provides voters with the option to vote their true choices in elections and still provide for a majority winner." The Center is organizing a major pro-democracy conference in Washington on Nov. 22-23 -- see www.democracyusa.org.