October 1, 2008 — a historic day!
When voting in districts, all candidates must run for winning a single seat. Each candidate must pull out every trick on the book to get close to winning. And that means that having people or companies contribute money helps a candidate getting a better chance for that one seat. But it also means our candidates have more than one agenda. Now, Oakland citizens want to take money out of our democracy, and put Proportional Voting in place — the democratic system that is less prone to financial dominance.
Oakland citizens signed a petition that was sent to the Election Compliance Services and the Public Ethics Commission. Because the current system leads too much to a political monopoly in cities and counties all across the nation, these eligible voters are requesting voter equality as guaranteed in the United States constitution for Cities and Counties. Voters are requesting the change from winner-takes-all to elections of "a single vote for a single candidate in a single election for the entire council" in their City of Oakland.
Requesting this change based on the 14th Amendment may lead to all Cities and Counties in the nation having to follow suit and provide proportional elections, because that is what the Constitution delivers us. Just by looking at the words winner-takes-all, we can all see without a doubt that our electoral system is not equality based. Requesting local governments to provide us proportional elections is the first step. The Constitution says we should have proportional elections, because no other system ensures equality before the law.
For other people — who also want their local electoral system be changed into one that delivers proportionality — this may be a turning point for their electoral system. But it is important to send your Elections Commission a request to change the local electoral system yourself, too. Read below how to make such a request.
In this image one can see how inequality increases dramatically by adding just one more governmental layer that functions on a premise of winner-takes-all, a system that does not subscribe to equality. According to our knowledge of the Constitution, the image to the left represents what is described in the Constitution: first a straight line of equality before the law, and next the depression of this line by the Federal and State levels that function according to lower standards. Some inequality is therefore included in the Constitution itself, but the Constitution does not provide wording that allows the additional depression of our equality at the local levels of City and County.
When the Federal, State, and local governments are seen as three generation, then the grand children (Cities and Counties) are emancipated. They are not protected from following the rules of the land by sheltering behind parents (State) or grand parents (Federation). Local governments must abide by the rules applicable to them. In the US Constitution specific freedoms are granted to the grand parents and the parents, but the grand children are not granted certain rights (the US Constitution is rather silent about that level). Cities and Counties must therefore follow those rules where the US Constitution is not silent (for instance, the 14th Amendment).
Voters would come out to vote more often if the minimum odd of you picking your representative was 88.89%, and not just 50.01% for all voters. In this image of Oakland with eight seats you can see the minimum guarantee of each system, and how much better your vote translates into your representative in proportional elections than in today's system. We bet you would come to the polls when it counts — just like other people in nations that already have proportional elections.
What happened so far?
This far, the City of Oakland has not done much with the voter request before them. Despite further efforts from our side to friendly educate the Election Compliance Services and the Public Ethics Commission, you can read for yourself that they disavow their responsibility to uphold the United States constitution by purposefully reading something different in our request. This means no action is taken by anyone in the City of Oakland to ensure this city complies with the United States constitution. Only the freedoms of the local legislation is stressed, no inquiry whether the city remained within the larger U.S. framework was made. The whole sequence of communication with the City of Oakland: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H.
As you can read about the reaction from the City and County of San Francisco, the answer from them is not completely identical, but the message may ultimately be considered identical.
Each person is free to copy the letter shown below, sign it or have it signed by eligible voters in your City or County. Then, sent it out addressed to your local Electoral Department. It may be good to know that the request is not based on any person asking. Rather, it is based on the right given to us in the Constitution of equality before the law, while no prescription is given in the Constitution that allows officials to refuse delivering such system of proportionality at the local level.
And yes, if you live in another place, just copy the letter, sign it, and send it to your Electoral Department! Also, if you haven't heard about this in the news, you will understand how important it is to spread the news to your friends! Let them know that you value them as equal as yourself before the law.
What does it really mean: proportional elections?
Read Chip Johnson's newspaper article critical of Oakland's electoral system (though he proposes at-large, which is not a proportional voting system).
Us Tour Site