Friday, January 13, 2012
County Clerk Candidate Maggie Toulouse Kicks off Campaign and Highlights Campaign Issues
The campaign kickoff and fundraiser for Maggie Toulouse Oliver, Democratic candidate for Bernalillo County Clerk went smoothly as expected. Over 150 attendees filed through the doors at Albuquerque’s Jazzbah downtown location on Monday evening. Oliver was introduced to the crowd by longtime friend, Judy Espinosa, who pointed to Oliver’s training and background as critical requirements for anyone holding the position of County Clerk.
Oliver told the crowd that many have asked why she would run for the demanding and often exhausting job of County Clerk. Oliver says the job of County Clerk is too important to ignore and that voters should always be able to get what they need from their County government.
“It’s critically important that elections run smoothly and that the public can trust that elections are run fairly and openly. I’ve worked long and hard to guarantee the integrity of the process.”
Oliver gave two recent examples in New Mexico where elections were won by slim margins. She pointed out said that some people in New Mexico are trying to tighten voter restrictions inn order to keep legitimate voters from voting. The urban myth of voter fraud specifically is being used in New Mexico and elsewhere to restrict voting unnecessarily. Tighter voting restrictions often lead to significant voter disenfranchisement which can swing or alter the outcome of elections.
In terms of her plans for 2012 Oliver said that her office will be engaged in a major outreach campaign to help voters with the voting process in 2012.
“Voting will be easy, accessible and transparent. It shouldn’t be hard to vote and voters’ rights should always be respected and honored.”
According to Oliver specific plans are underway to reach out to voters across the spectrum so that students, older voters, voters from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and others have the information they need in order to engage in the voting process. The office of the County Clerk plans to assist voters to take advantage of the voting option of their choice whether it’s absentee, early voting or election day voting convenience centers.
For additional election information visit the County Clerk’s website at http://bernco.gov/clerk/ or call the office at 505.468.1290.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Albuquerque Protests in Support of Constitutional Amendment Spurred by Anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision
The following is a report from Contributing Writer Suzanne Prescott.
A group of about 20 people gathered in Albuquerque at the home of Margaret Viers, to plan protests against the US Supreme Court decision nearly two years ago which ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. While awareness of what Citizens United vs. the FEC means has grown, as we approach the January 2012 two-year anniversary of the decision, its impact is still not widely understood. Protests in Albuquerque against the Citizens United decision are planned for the third week of January, specifically January 17th and 20th. In addition to increasing awareness of the ways in which the Supreme Court decision destroys the integrity of elections, the protests are focused on gathering support for a constitutional amendment which will make it clear that corporations are not people.
The controversy centers on the Supreme Court’s ruling that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited. Citizens United is a conservative non-profit organization. The case, known as ‘Citizens United v Federal Election Commission,’ allows corporations to use their general funds to buy campaign ads. Previous to this ruling, campaign finance rules prohibited TV attack ads funded by outside groups. The decision opened the door for unlimited contributions by corporations as well as unions. The high court cited the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of the right of free speech, and it was the first time a corporate entity was treated like a person. Detractors of the ruling cried foul and correctly point out that the decision by the Supreme Court hands lobbyists even greater powers. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official, “If you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.” The ruling also opened the door for foreign governments to affect the outcome of United States elections.
The planning meeting was sponsored by five national organizations, and held at the home of Margaret Viers, who said of the impact of the Citizens United decision, “The court’s decision gave corporations the same status as people and this unprecedented move increases the influence of corporations in politics at a time when Americans are clearly concerned about corporate influence and are looking to restore the power of people in a government of by and for the people.”
The Citizens’ United ruling was especially welcomed by Republicans who respond to corporations in exchange for campaign contributions. The cozy relationship became more obvious after reports that two Supreme Court Justices attended a secret Koch Industries strategy meeting prior to voting to extend free speech rights to corporations just in time for the 2010 midterm campaigns. The midterm elections saw a record amount of campaign contributions from anonymous sources that were illegal for years until the high court broke with precedent and gave personhood to corporations. The rash of Republican governors’ victories and subsequent corporate favoritism and tax cuts at the expense of poor and working class Americans is evidence that there is a serious need for accountability and transparency in campaign financing.
Margaret Viers also points out an additional concern about the ruling involves its secrecy, “Even worse, the Supreme Court decided that there was no need to disclose where the money came from. By protesting the Citizens United Decision, we hope to spread awareness of the dangers of the ruling and to increase the momentum for a Constitutional Amendment which makes it clear that corporations are not people.”
Details about times and locations will be available shortly. Persons interested in more information should contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or 505-242-4107.