22 November 2012

Green Rush

The election in the United States a few weeks ago was about much more than just who would be the next President. Voters in many states were faced with important, ground breaking and controversial ballot initiatives. For the first time in U.S. history voters in two states decided to recognize same gender marriage. Up to now, these marriages were recognized in a handful of states either by courts or statute.

But perhaps even more surprisingly, voters in two states decided to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. While the coffee house culture in Holland might be dying, it has perhaps found a new home in the states of Washington and Colorado.

The video above from Reuters and the SZ explains. One thing of particular note is the discussion near the end about what the federal government might do about these new state laws. State pot laws offer perhaps the best example of how confusing American federalism can be. More on that next semesters, at least for students in their 3rd semester of Uni Osnbrück's FFA.

20 November 2012

The Price of Electing Judges

The New York Times had an interesting editorial yesterday about how judicial elections in the United States are becoming more and more expensive. The Times says:
This year’s round of state judicial elections broke previous records for the amounts spent on judicial campaigns around the country. The dominant role played by special-interest money — including money from super PACs financed by undisclosed donors — has severely weakened the principle of fair and impartial courts.
The editorial goes on by citing Florida and my home state of Michigan as extreme of examples of campaign spending on judicial elections gone out of control.

04 November 2012

What Happens in the Event of A Tie

So what happens if both candidates for President end up with 269 votes? How might "provisional ballots" leave us in a state of confusion after the election? What role mights lawyers and new voting laws play in the outcome? Answers to these questions and more can be found in this SZ article. The interactive map showing how the Electoral College works is also pretty cool.

02 November 2012

The Role of Campaign Contributions in American Politics

From the SZ and Reuters, a great video on the impact of money on the American presidential campaign: