Monday, November 03, 2008

voting Dem will INCREASE Utah's clout

I know it sounds counter intuitive. One of the most Republican states in the union would be aided by Democrats gaining more votes in Congress (and the White House). But the scenario goes like this:
"The Democrats will be looking for a series of things they can do really quickly," says Ilir Zherka, executive director of DC Vote, the measure's biggest proponent. Party leaders will want to pass popular legislation that barely missed approval in the last Congress, he says.
"We've been trying to make the case that D.C. voting rights qualify across the board," says Zherka.
House leadership isn't ready to outline its agenda for the new Congress just yet, but House Leader Steny Hoyer's office says voting rights for the district are still a priority for Hoyer and he's in discussions on how best to proceed with the bill.
House passage seems a given since that body approved the legislation in 2007 by a large margin. The bill fell short on its way toward final passage by three votes in the Senate, but it is expected to gain supporters in the next session.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is a co-sponsor of the Senate legislation on the DC Voting Rights Act and supported the bill in the Senate. Despite earlier indications of his support, Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted against the bill.
Most estimates are that Democrats will pick up 7-8 seats in the Senate (and 9 if Georgia goes into a runoff and somehow Jim Martin pulls it out in December with the help of a President-elect Obama), and somewhere between 25 and 30 seats in the House. And since Obama was a co-sponsor of the bill, whereas McCain (in one of the few votes he showed up for) voted against it, it seems safe to assume that Obama would sign such a bill into law, while McCain would veto it.

To refresh your memory, the bill would give Utah a 4th seat and DC a vote in the House. Come 2012, Utah would keep its seat (and maybe pick up another one depending on the demographic trends). The Utah legislature has already voted on a map that would unite West Valley with Park City to create as safe a Democratic seat as possible in Utah. If I was advising Jim Matheson, I would suggest he let an up and comer take that seat and go for the jugular and run against Chaffetz (or Bishop) in 2010. With 4 seats, especially if two are held by Democrats--the party that looks to be in control for the foreseeable future, Utah will have more power in DC to get things done that the state wants (light rail funding for instance) as it rapidly grows in the next decade.

Only one more day until the election. I voted early and did NOT vote straight ticket, voting for the first time in my life for candidates from another party. There were some candidates that did not earn my vote and so I either voted for the other candidate or chose to abstain from that race. No matter who you support or where you live, make your voice be heard and VOTE. Then make sure your friends and family vote. In 2004, a guy raced around town shuttling his mom and sister to the polls to vote in Ohio, just getting mom in before the polls closed. While it didn't effect the outcome of federal races, a local judge won because of one guy's efforts. Your vote does count. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

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