Aug 03 2012

Bullet Dodged? – Shelby Elections Edition #WrongBallot

Posted by Steve Ross in elections, Shelby County

The Return of the Dangling Chad?

This post isn’t about my race at all. It’s too soon for me to write anything remotely coherent about that right now, though I may write a series of very short posts later on. We’ll see.

This is about the results of the Primary election in Shelby County from yesterday and how the wrong ballot problem may or may not have impacted the outcome of race.

There was a concern that the error rate we were seeing out of House Districts with contested Primary elections would lead to contested results in determining the Democratic nominee. For instance, by the end of Early Voting, House District 90 was showing a 15% error rate over all (people voting in and out of district). That’s pretty substantial and could have completely thrown the election.

An election with a result falling inside this error margin would have likely resulted in a challenge. However, that wouldn’t have been decided in court, but rather by the State and Local Party structures. This is something no party wants to be faced with.

For those of you familiar with the Primary Election ouster of Rosalind Kurita, you know that this can be both an emotional and controversial issue. Her case was different….Democratic bona fides were the question. A challenge based on a bad election would have been even more difficult because the actions of a third party, in this case the Shelby County Election Commission, would have been at issue rather than the qualities or qualifications of candidates themselves.

Regardless, the local party structure would have been asked to make a choice and in the most hotly contested elections that choice would have been very difficult and divisive.

Its still too early to tell, and none of the election day participation has been analyzed, but at first glance it appears that both the Shelby County Election Commission and the local Party structures are off the hook on this issue. The margins of victory lead me to believe that even if a challenge is brought it will be denied by the party. This is just an initial impression.

While the Shelby County Election Commission may have dodged this bullet, and the additional black eye that would have come with it, there are still plenty of issues regarding this election that need to be investigated. It is my hope that the investigation by the State Comptrollers office is transparent, thorough, and speedy. Anything less would leave questions in the minds of the voters.

I’ll also be looking into much of this. I don’t want to overly bird-dog the Election Commission, but I also think its important the public fully understand what has happened and how to move forward and regain the faith and trust of the public.

Stay Tuned…

Oct 27 2011

Dogs and Ponies and Fundraisers, Oh My!

Posted by Steve Ross in Shelby County, State Politics

Yesterday, the State Government put out a release about the Governor’s budget tour. Here’s a sample:

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that portions of the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget hearings will take place outside of Nashville so that citizens in East and West Tennessee have an opportunity to attend. Hearings will be held in Knoxville and Memphis, which will mark the first time in state history that budget proceedings will occur away from the State Capitol.

Scheduled to begin on November 2, the budget hearings will be streamed live on as in years past to give Tennesseans that are unable to attend accessibility to the budget discussions of each state agency.

Minimum Bid $500

Dandy. Believe you me, I’ll be there…after my Map quiz.

I don’t want to belittle this too much because I actually like the idea of the government going around and talking to people about what government does. I think it’s important for people to have a good understanding of government, and that understanding should start with how it’s funded. Without funding, nothing happens, regardless of what Grover Norquist tells you.

Hopefully this will be a real live discussion of government, not just a dog and pony show. You know I’ll be writing about it either way.

But that’s not all the good Governor has on tap. Just hours after I got notice of this meeting I got this invitation to a $500 a head fundraiser for Republican candidate for DA, Amy Weirich.

Now look, I don’t begrudge Amy for doing what any smart politician would do, seek out the biggest name they can get to help raise money for a first term, even if she is a Republican. I have plenty of friends who like her, yadda, yadda, yadda… However I, like my blogfather Steffens, am still waiting for a mythical Democrat to announce for the race.

After this fundraiser, and considering all the folks she has behind her, that seems unlikely.

But isn’t it convenient that Gov. Haslam, a man of the Pilot Fortune, could be in town on state business while this event is taking place. What a coincidence!

This, of course, comes just days after Haslam held the most successful fundraiser at the Governor’s residence in history. $550,000 may be a drop in the bucket to ole Bill, but it’ll buy a truckload or two of Pilot travel mugs if the going gets tough.

So, there ya go. I will be at the budget meeting, but I won’t be at the fundraiser. $500 is too rich for my blood, never mind the whole Republican part of the equation. In the mean time I’ll be doing everything I can to dispel the notion that Democrats have given up in Shelby County. Lord knows, if we give up here, we’re toast statewide.

Mar 25 2011

This Won’t Be Pretty – Redistricting Edition

Posted by Steve Ross in State Politics

Even though the State Legislature probably won’t tackle redistricting until next year, right now is the time to start thinking about it. Wednesday night, my buddy and blogfather, Leftwingcracker and I talked to the Germantown Democratic Club about this and other topics.

As the CA and other outlets reported last week, Shelby County, and Memphis in particular, hasn’t kept pace with the rest of the state population wise. Not even a little bit. That means there’s going to be some radical changes with the next district maps, and it isn’t going to be good for our Democratic Representatives and Senators in Nashville.

Below is a graphic that includes the current House and Senate Districts in Shelby county.

Click for larger, less fuzzy image

As you can see, there are 16 House seats and 6 Senate seats. Thanks to the absolute lack of population growth in the past 10 years, that won’t be the case in 2012.

Based on the work of Nashville Blogger Sean Braisted, it’s looking like Big Shelby is going to lose two House Seats and 1 Senate Seat.

If you look at the numbers on his post, every Democratic seat in Shelby Co., with the exception of HD85 has lost population since 2000. By contrast, the only Republican held seat to lose population is HD97 held by Jim Coley. But they’re not going to draw him out. Nope, we’re probably going to see some Democrats put in the same district, and that’s not going to be good for the party as a whole, or the county.

I wrote about this possibility back in May of 2009, and it looks like my suspicions were right on target.

The only possible consolation that may come of all this is that one Republican district in east Shelby may have to become a little more blue. All that depends on how they draw the districts, and I’ll guarantee you, they won’t do that until they absolutely have to.

With huge majorities in the House and the Senate, Republicans run redistricting. This means that not only are our state legislators going to have a lot of new ground to cover, but so will our Congressman, Steve Cohen.

What this requires is some serious organizing all over the county. Some areas are better at it than others, but every single precinct has to get it together to drive out the vote in 2012. We can’t rely on Obama, or anyone else to do it for us, not that they won’t be working their butts off anyway. We have to take charge of the situation and get it done for ourselves.

This weekend is the SDCP reorganization. It’ll be held at American Way Middle School on 3805 American Way. If you are a registered voter in Shelby County and care about electing people who carry the Democratic banner, please attend.

Even if you don’t want to be a delegate or serve on the SCDP executive committee, just show up to show your support. You’ll meet Democrats from all over the county, and at the very least, have the chance to meet some folks from your own district you may have never met before.

Registration starts at 9am. You must be registered or in line for registration by 10:30 am to participate.

Hope to see you there.

Aug 21 2009

Two Events, One Perspective

Posted by Steve Ross in City of Memphis, Shelby County

I spent the day today getting ready to go see my brother and niece, and attending events around Memphis.

The first event was the Mid-Southerners for Choice Luncheon hosted by Planned Parenthood of Greater Memphis featuring Jeanne Richardson (HD-89).

It was an inspiring event, attended by people who firmly believe in protecting a women’s right to reproductive healthcare. Jeanne gave a great presentation and even brought up Rep. Karen Camper whose alias I will not reveal. Jeanne talked about SJR127 and the urgency of organization and action in the coming years.

Later in the day I went to the Shelby Co. Young Democrats Mixer at SOLE in the new Westin Hotel near the Forum. This was a well organized, well attended meet and greet. Lots of people I didn’t know and unfortunately, didn’t get to meet, that’s how thick it was. Good on the organizers and the SCDP for organizing it.

What was missing? YOU WERE.

I don’t know all my readers, but I know a bunch of them, and I didn’t see all of you.

I know you’re out there, and I love you for reading, but I’d love you more for being out there. Come join me at these events.

I’m taking a break for the weekend to see my family. The next few weeks are going to be pretty crazy around here with the special election looming and maybe as many as 40 candidates running for Mayor, a possible Metro Charter Commission, and the Senate 31 race, which will no doubt be interesting.

Rest up, we’re all gonna need it.

Jun 19 2009

SCDP Meet and Greet This Evening

Posted by Steve Ross in Memphis, Shelby County

The Shelby County Democratic Party announces it’s first “Meet and Greet” since the April Re-organization.

Friday, June 19, 2009 (that’s today people)
5:30pm to 7:30pm

Hattiloo Theatre
656 Marshall Ave.
Memphis, TN

Appetizers and Cash Bar
Suggested minimum contribution benefits S.C.D.P.

829-3377 or 830-3283

Host Committee:

Van Turner
Dave & Diane Cambron
Ron & Barbara Williams
Carla Stotts-Hills
Desi Franklin
Jonathan Cole
Carlos Bibbs
William Gillon
Adrienne Pakis-Gillon
Chris Taylor
Nancy Greenwalt
Cathy Hailey Kent
Will Kent
Willie Boddie
Nancy Kuhn
Mitzi Gatewood
Norma Lester
Jim & Jeannie Johnson

Come out and support your local Democratic Party!

Also join the new Facebook Group.