By Mark Wachtler
March 4, 2015. Glendale, CO. (ONN) When Christina Tobin and Free and Equal speak, people listen. The organization and its founder have led the fight for free and fair elections in America for years. And they have just announced a November meeting to be held in Colorado. It’s the second annual Voting Methods and Election Integrity Symposium. While the gathering is mainly attended by state opposition activists and Party leaders, some of the most well known fighters for fair elections from around the country are also participating.
Christina Tobin, our hero and one of, if not thee, foremost authority on America’s political opposition. Image courtesy of TaxpayersUnitedOfAmerica.org.
Free and Equal’s Christina Tobin is one of our political heroes here at Opposition News and she’s become somewhat of a matriarch of America’s political opposition. She organized and moderated both the 2008 and 2012 Presidential debates which included all the opposition party candidates with a mathematical chance of winning. And she all but single-handedly got both debates televised on national TV. We’ve known her for two decades. And in all that time, this author has never once heard her put one opposition party above another. She defends us all. She represents us all. And she does it with a kindness, sincerity and passion that is unequalled.
‘The second annual Voting Methods & Election Integrity Symposium will take place at Infinity Park in Glendale, CO on Saturday, November 14th, 2015 from 9am-4pm MT,’ the Free and Equal announcement last week began, ‘The event is hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation and co-sponsored by Fair Elections for Colorado, with additional sponsors expected to be announced. The Symposium will be live-streamed for free online.’
Last year’s inaugural conference was also organized and hosted by Free and Equal. It was co-sponsored by organizations such as Fair Elections for Colorado, FairVote, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, the national Libertarian Party, the Center for Election Science, and our longtime friends at Ballot Access News. Showing just how impactful the now annual gathering is, the 2014 symposium kicked off with an opening address by the host city’s Mayor, Mike Dunafon. Colorado’s Deputy Secretary of State also participated and addressed the gathering of political leaders.
Some of the individual speakers last year included Rob Richie (FairVote), Bill Redpath (Libertarian Party), Aaron Hamlin (Center for Election Science), Richard Winger (Ballot Access News, Free and Equal), and Harvie Branscomb (Coloradans for Voting Integrity). Local opposition political leaders that spoke at the 2014 symposium included Harry Hempy (2014 Green Party gubernatorial candidate), Lily Williams (2014 Libertarian candidate for Colorado State House & Colorado state leader for Our America Initiative), and Matthew Hess (2014 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate).
While the November 2015 Colorado Symposium is still a long way off, it’s safe to say the participants and speakers will be just as impressive as last year, if not more so. The announcement from Free and Equal describes a number of topics that will be discussed, including various alternative voting systems and methods. Just as unequal ballot access laws and systems like Top Two voting have proven to be devastating to opposition parties and their candidates, other voting methods have shown to be beneficial.
‘With the issues facing America in the world, it is important to not only address, but implement these various solutions sooner rather than later, ideally by the 2016 presidential election,’ event organizers explain, ‘Even something as simple as getting the public more involved in election watching, where individuals watch the votes being counted to ensure accuracy and fairness, can do wonders to make sure that the voters’ voices are heard. Many states have already used alternative voting methods, from approval voting in Oregon to ranked choice voting in Maine on the municipal level. These solutions are not abstract, they are practical and vital to the future of open and transparent elections.’
About Free and Equal
The Free and Equal website explains the group and its mission saying, ‘Free & Equal Elections Foundation is a non-partisan organization, whose mission is to create open and transparent elections that give power back to the individual voter. Uniting people from all parties to Independents, from musicians and celebrities to student leaders, journalists and activists, from all races, creeds, backgrounds and social standings to reform our electoral process by empowering more young Americans to vote and run for elected office.’
The site goes on the detail, ‘As a 501c3 non-profit, non-partisan organization, the Free and Equal Election Foundation’s mission is primarily educational. We work to give all ballot-qualified candidates the opportunity to debate important political issues in public forums. We want to help level the political playing field and to inspire more independents and alternative party candidates to run for office. We want to empower and encourage more people, especially young people, to get involved in the discussion, participate in the political process and hold their government accountable. We believe that “more voices, more choices” will help shift the political power back to the people, away from the control of a few corporations and political elites, creating a more balanced system where all are free and equal in their ability to participate.’
For more information, visit Free and Equal. Catch opposition announcements from local parties like the Greens and Libertarians streaming live 24/7 on the Colorado Page of the Opposition News States Section.
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