The Democratic Party’s Nominating Process is Unfair and Should be Overhauled

April 20, 2016

New York’s primary is behind us and I hope it’s an anomaly in Bernie Sander’s quest for the Democratic Party nomination. There’s just one thing standing in the way, absent an indictment of Hillary Clinton—the Superdelegates.

Hillary Clinton had Hundreds of Superdelegates Before Anyone Voted

Hillary Clinton got 15% of the delegates needed to win the nomination before the first Democrat had even cast a vote. How is this fair? Her name recognition is one thing but she actually started wooing them early. Then include CNN, or as I call it, Corporate Nepotism Network, which insists on adding Superdelegates to the total amount of delegates and it shows that Bernie Sanders has a deep hole to climb out of. Can it be done?

Statistically it can. Momentum shows it can. New York may have been just a temporary setback and hopefully he can gain momentum back as other Northeast and Western states vote soon. However, you’d have to be on another planet not to notice the back-pocket deals that were made before one single person cast a vote for a Democrat. This is inherently unfair and the Democratic Party should do something immediately to revamp their system or they’re going to be the cause of creating a strong third-party.

Not that that’s a bad thing. We need a strong third-party. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party is going to create one from its inherently unfair system which awards Superdelegates based on back-room deals, corporate promises and other shady dealings. This shouldn’t be the way to the White House. Our Democracy should be better than that.

Time for a New Three-Party System

Unless the Democratic Party does away with Superdelegates–which Republicans barely have—there will be so many write-in votes for Bernie Sanders that it could erode any chance of Hillary getting into the White House. However, caveat emptor—it also may play right into the hands of the Republicans and allow a Trump or some other hatemonger to get elected. Is that what the Democratic Party wants?

The Democratic Party Better Rethink the Superdelegate System Immediately

If having so many Superdelegates is the reason Hillary Clinton gets the required amount of delegates, then the Democratic Party had better figure out what it’s going to do because it’s going to lose a lot of grassroots Democrat support. Many Bernie supporters are prepared to support him as a write-in or Third Party candidate.

It’s time for a three-party system anyway, and Superdelegates may be the impetus for it.

What do you think? I’d love to know your thoughts. PLEASE FOLLOW THIS BLOG by clicking “Follow” on the left-hand side and leave a comment if you’d like. Thanks!

Ronna Lambiasi DeLoe

New York District Court Judge Denies Emergency Order for Open Primary But Allows Lawsuit to Continue

April 19, 2016

A lawsuit was brought in a New York Federal District Court in Long Island seeking an order which would allow Independents to vote by affidavit or by provisional ballot. The lawsuit sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) challenging New York’s closed primary. The presiding judge is a George W. Bush appointee. Most of the challengers are Democrats, so the random selection of the judge doesn’t bode well for the challengers.

Judge Denied Temporary Restraining Order and Emergency Order

The judge denied the TRO but did not dismiss the lawsuit. In allowing the lawsuit to continue, the judge noted that the defendant was improperly designated as the New York State Board of Elections. Instead, the judge said that each county’s Board of Elections should be defendants in this lawsuit.

The judge’s decision is ludicrous and is going to make it more difficult to get results. As a New York lawyer and a former New Yorker for 50 years, I have never seen so many voting issues in the state.

If this suit were in Maine, where I live now, there wouldn’t be a problem–there are only 16 counties, and while it wouldn’t be prohibitive, each county’s Board of Elections could be served. New York has 62–not a typo, sixty-two–counties. This is going to make the lawsuit prohibitive, time-consuming, expensive, and it’s unknown what impact the lawsuit will have on the New York Primary, if any.

New York Voters Were Encouraged to Vote by Affidavit or Provisional Ballot

New York is one of the states which has a closed primary. Unless you are a registered Democrat or Republican, you cannot vote in New York’s primary. The problem with this is that many other states have open primaries or caucuses and there are many Independents in New York who cannot and could not vote in the primary. Likewise, there were monumental issues of disenfranchisement this time around. Somehow, election officials can’t explain it.

Many of the disenfranchised voters are in Brooklyn. One explanation is that when people voted after Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo allowed voting by affidavit because of the chaos that ensued after the storm. Brooklyn was one of the boroughs that was hit hard by Sandy. The mayor, Bill de Blasio,  stated there were more than 120,000 people who were unable to vote or who suddenly found that their names were missing from the voting rolls. He called for an investigation into this massive disenfranchisement. Actually, there were more than 126,000 people disenfranchised.

Others simply could not vote because they are Independents, and unless they signed up as a Democrat or Republican in October, they could not vote in the New York primary. However, there were many Democrats who couldn’t vote because their names were nowhere to be found.

New York’s Voting Registration Laws are Outdated

New York’s voting registration laws are not only outdated but they’re unfair. For a primary that is held in April, people would have to register to vote the previous October. As we all know, a lot has happened since October 2015. A little-known Bernie Sanders has suddenly arrived on the scene and he’s got to be taken seriously. His campaign has more momentum than any other candidates’ campaign. He went from a complete underdog to a possible contender in just a few months.

Most other states allow either open primaries, same-day voter registration or voter registration within weeks of the primary. Not so in New York. New York, the last state to convert to no-fault divorce, is surprisingly behind-the-times for such a progressive state.

During Primary Day, Voters Were Encouraged to Vote by Affidavit or by Provisional Ballot

Because of the uncertainty of the lawsuit, Election Justice USA urged voters to vote by either affidavit or by provisional ballot. Voters were urged to stick to their guns and stay at their polling places, refusing to leave until they were able to fill out a ballot of some sort.

The court proceeding was scheduled earlier but was moved to 2:00 p.m. Because the outcome was unknown, Independents and disenfranchised voters were told to vote anyway because their ballots might be counted.

Now it’s possible that we may not have accurate results from New York for a while.

Why Did it Take so Long for a Lawsuit to be Filed?

This is the question of the day and nobody seems to be able to answer it. An earlier-filed lawsuit might have made a big difference in the outcome of the New York Democratic primary. After all, many of Bernie Sanders’ supporters are Independents and a positive outcome would have favored him.

During today’s primary, there were issues of voter irregularities such as voting lists which have been purged, broken ballot machines, lost ballots, and more. The New York Attorney General’s Office normally gets about 150 complaints by voters during elections. Within the last few days, the AG’s Office received more than 702 complaints.

It remains to be seen if the provisional ballots and affidavits filled out by disenfranchised people will count. Stay tuned for the latest on this developing story. The takeaway is, of course, that the results of the Democratic primary in New York do not, at this time, accurately reflect the will of the New York voting public.

What difficulties did you encounter when voting? Did you vote in the city, suburbs or upstate New York? Please leave a comment and click the “follow” button on the left.

Ronna Lambiasi DeLoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merrymeeting’s Closing in Maine May Not be Related to Section 17

April 7, 2016

An abrupt end to the company known as Merrymeeting Behavioral Health in Maine happened on April 1, 2016. That’s when the company, which offered in-home services by case managers and daily living support (DLS) workers, closed its doors. It was originally scheduled to close on April 8, 2016 but it abruptly closed after the owner, Jim Talbott, said that DHHS’s health care cuts and a media frenzy were responsible for the early closing.

Not so fast, Mr. Talbott. Questions are being raised by DHHS and Merrymeeting employees about the true reason for the closing. Closing such an agency had to be done with at least 30 days’ written notice but it was closed with little notice to its employees and almost no notice to the people they serve. DLS workers had to either tell their clients, lie to their clients, or were told to avoid the subject entirely.

Clients Still Unaware of Merrymeeting’s Closing

As of April 6, 2016, some of the clients were still unaware that Merrymeeting had closed. Closing the agency in this manner was a breach of contract with DHHS. The more troublesome issues are:

  • How the clients will deal with the closing
  • How some clients will be able to transition to new providers
  • How some clients will be able to cope
  • If the employees will ever be paid for their last few weeks plus unused vacation time.

Former Employees Concerned About Their Clients and About Getting Paid

Former employees are of course concerned about their clients. The employees are also concerned they will never be paid. Some of them are owed several weeks’ pay. Jim Talbott, the owner, in a letter to team leaders, also cited the following reason for closing:

This extraordinary media coverage caused the bank with which we do business to become alarmed. By this time I had secured the services of an attorney…but even his interventions were not sufficient to keep the bank from freezing all our assets and essentially draining all monies from the corporate bank account which we used to fund payroll.

The letter goes on to say things such as, “(H)ad the bank not seized our money” we would have made next weeks’ payroll. It also states that he has no idea if the employees would be paid because the people who do billing are no longer employed and, as Mr. Talbott said, “I am not able to do it myself.” The letter is not dated.

Talbott Able to Afford Recent Trip to Greece

A Merrymeeting employee indicated that Mr. Talbott had recently taken trips to Greece and to Spain. Other employees concurred that they were aware of his recent trips.

DHHS also stated that Mr. Talbott had never reached out to them for assistance. DHHS and Merrymeeting employees are doubting that Section 17 had anything to do with the loss of their jobs. In fact, on Friday, April 8, the date the company was supposed to close, there were meetings in Augusta to protest the changes to Section 17. This resulted in extensions of 120 days, with the possibility of further extensions to June 30, 2017.

Talbott said that this will not affect Merrymeeting and that Merrymeeting is closed. If Section 17 was truly the reason for the closing, the extension should have caused Talbott to do an about-face.

Court Order Required for Bank to Freeze Assets

When assets are frozen, a court order is usually required. That means Mr. Talbott knew that one or more creditors were going after him for money. This author is a licensed attorney in another state and is aware of court procedure.

When a bank freezes assets, it’s often because a creditor–which could be the bank itself–has brought an action in court to have the assets frozen. Perhaps the speculation that the company was already in financial trouble or was considering bankruptcy has merit.

That would mean that Section 17 may not have had anything to do with Merrymeeting’s closing its doors. If that’s the case, it would also mean that much of Talbott’s letter may not be true.

Former Employees Invited to Job Fair

Former employees were invited to a job fair in Brunswick on April 11, 2016. Many have filed for unemployment, wondering how they’re going to pay their bills. Without advance warning of losing their job, employees didn’t have time to prepare for it.

Some employees have contacted the Department of Labor and the Maine Attorney General’s office to investigate the closing.

Follow Blog for Further Updates

If you were a Merrymeeting employee, please contact me at sociallyunjust@gmail.com if you have a story that should be told. Anyone who is interested in further updates, please click “follow” in the left margin of this column.

Have you been a victim of Merrymeeting as a client or as an employee? You can tell your story in the comments below or contact me at sociallyunjust@gmail.com.

Ronna Lambiasi DeLoe

 

Continue reading “Merrymeeting’s Closing in Maine May Not be Related to Section 17”