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Election Protection Guru Brad Friedman Comments on Supreme Court Ruling on Redistricting in Arizona

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Brad Friedman, longtime advocate for election integrity, joins us to talk about a key Supreme Court decision upholding Arizona’s voter-enacted independent redistricting commission, preserving California’s version at the same time.Friedman operates, home of his daily Bradcast podcast.  We open with a recap of the decision and Justice Ginsberg’s majority opinion.  Then we talk about the comments Friedman got from retired Arizona Ted Downing in a recent podcast, available here.  While Downing is pleased that the Court upheld the right of voters to enact the commission, he offers important criticism of its flaws, namely that it favors the two major parties in the way commissioners are selected.

Then we detail the process of selection in California, which still permits leaders of the D and R parties to blackball candidates but is far more random than the Arizona system.  In the end, both systems succeed in reducing gerrymandering but fail in opening the process to third parties and independent candidates.  In California, it’s not due to redistricting; instead, it’s the result of a different voter-enacted reform, the “top two” primary.  Under this system, anyone can run in the primary, but only the top two vote-getters advance to the general election; since it went into effect in 2012, no independent or third party candidate has cleared these obstacles.

But, as Friedman notes near the end of the podcast, the good news is that voters in Arizona and California can use the initiative process to correct the flaws in these important reforms.