Democracy Forum 2/17/23: Small-state bias in the federal government: is this democracy?
Summary: Host: Ann Luther, League of Women Voters of Maine The mostly volunteer team at the League of Women Voters – Downeast who plan and coordinate this series includes: Martha Dickinson, Starr Gilmartin, Maggie Harling, Lisa Leaverton, Ann Luther, Rick Lyles, Judith Lyles, Wendilee O’Brien, Maryann Ogonowski, Pam Person, Lane Sturtevant, Leah Taylor, Linda Washburn Democracy Forum: Participatory Democracy, encouraging citizens to take an active role in government and politics This month: Compared to their population, rural states are over-represented in the federal government, from the U.S. Senate to the Electoral College, the Supreme Court, and possibly even the U.S. House. How has the come about; how far can it go? How does this affect Maine? Where is this heading, and what can or should be done about it? Guest/s: Mark Brewer, Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Maine Alexander Keyssar, Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School To learn more about this topic: U.S. Senate: Origins and Foundations | Senate.gov The Senate: From White Supremacy to Governmental Gridlock – UVA Press The Senate: Threat or Backbone of American Democracy? | Divided We Fall June, 2021 The Electoral College and the Rural-Urban Divide – The Aspen Institute, February, 2021 Two Senators per State: A Recipe for Minority Domination | Second Rate Democracy, 2020 The history of the Electoral College and our national conversation about race | Harvard Kennedy School, August, 2020 Alexander Keyssar — Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College? | Politics and Prose, November, 2020 The Stubborn Survival of the Electoral College – WSJ, August 2020 American democracy’s Senate problem, explained – Vox, December, 2019 Here’s How to Fix the Senate – The Atlantic, January, 2019 The Founder’ monumental constitutional mistake; 2 senators from each state | NationofChange, October, 2018 Misrepresentation in the House of Representatives | Brookings, February 2017 The electoral college badly distorts the vote. And it’s going to get worse | The Washington Post, November, 2016 As American as Apple Pie? The Rural Vote’s Disproportionate Slice of Power – The New York Times, November, 2016 Sizing Up the Senate: The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation, Lee, Oppenheimer, 1999 When Adding New States Helped the Republicans – The Atlantic, September, 2019 About the host: Ann currently serves as Treasurer of the League of Women Voters of Maine and leads the LWVME Advocacy Team. She served as President of LWVME from 2003 to 2007 and as co-president from 2007-2009. In her work for the League, Ann has worked for greater public understanding of public policy issues and for the League’s priority issues in Clean Elections & Campaign Finance Reform, Voting Rights, Ethics in Government, Ranked Choice Voting, and Repeal of Term Limits. Representing LWVME at Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, she served that coalition as co-president from 2006 to 2011. She remains on the board of MCCE and serves as Treasurer. She is active in the LWV-Downeast and hosts their monthly radio show, The Democracy Forum, on WERU FM Community Radio -which started out in 2004 as an recurring special, and became a regular monthly program in 2012. She was the 2013 recipient of the Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Maine for her work on voting rights and elections. She joined the League in 1998 when she retired as Senior Vice President at SEI Investments. Ann was a founder of the MDI Restorative Justice Program, 1999 – 2000, and served on its Executive Board.