Here’s my 2-step cure for our unfair elections disease

ACHTUNG: The following is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.

Save our republic!

Because the two-party political system in the United States has deteriorated, I hereby call for all elections below the state level to be non-partisan. Furthermore, I call for all elections with more than twice the number of candidates as offices to have a runoff between the top two vote-getters.

Voting is the only power we everyday working stiffs have in our so-called democracy. Even though the Republican Party is doing its damnedest to suppress the ability of poor people and people of color to vote, implementing my two prescriptions would create a more fair playing field.

My proposal calls for all contests for township, village, city and county offices to be non-partisan, no party affiliation. This would eliminate the instant victory for all Republicans in West Michigan and all Democrats in the Detroit area.

In other words, it would eliminate the one-party stranglehold system that has plagued certain areas of this state for so long.

The two-party system that we have now has been a part of the problem, not the solution. Republicans and Democrats don’t seem interested in solving problems. They seem to want much more to punish their opponents.

The result of this perpetual gridlock is that we have a lot of serious problems, but no prospects of solutions.

In my less than stellar journalism career I have seen too many intelligent, thoughtful, quality candidates for political office turned away at the ballot box only because of the letter affixed next to their names. Conversely, I have seen too many lazy and inefficient bozos elected for the same reason.

Local school boards have elections that are non-partisan, so it’s not as though this can’t be done. The Wayland City Council’s members all are elected on a non-partisan basis, and I fail to see where local city government is any worse than that of area villages and townships and the Allegan County Board of Commissioners.

Strictly non-partisan elections would attract more candidates, so I suggest we have primaries in August to determine finalists for a runoff in November.

I am weary of reading about people getting elected to political positions despite not getting a majority of the votes. This occurs most often when there are multiple candidates for just one or two seats.

As I have duly noted in this space before, virtually all state representatives have been elected, since Paul Hillegonds, without winning 50% of the vote in their first primary races. Patty Birkholz, Fulton Sheen, Bob Genetski and Steve Johnson all were declared the winners in their first quests for a seat in the State Legislature, yet none of them polled 50%. And once you’re elected, you’re guaranteed six years in the House and eight years in the Senate.

Unless you’re Cindy Gamrat.

Johnson, the most recent winner, earned just 29.3% of the vote in the 2016 GOP primary for the 72nd District and because the other four hopefuls split the remaining votes and each received less than him. So he was the winner of six years in Lansing with nearly a half million dollars as the prize.

It’s just not fair.

So besides implementing a non-partisan political system for township, city, village and county races, in all cases my plan would be ensuring that indeed somebody with at least 50% of the vote eventually would win. Let the will of the people be heard.

My greatest hope in my proposals is that perhaps it would lead to greater cooperation and more swift problem solving, something sorely lacking in national, state and local government today.




  • Mr, Editor,

    Please explain your asinine statement about Republicans want to suppress poor people and people of color to vote. Just how does that happen?
    Asking for identification to match a registered voter with the voting rolls? Don’t you show identification if you vote in person? If you ask for an absentee ballot, you must sign the voting form so your signature can be checked with your registration signature. How is that depriving anyone?
    The Democrats can’t win without cheating because they have such poor candidates and poor performers as presidents, governors, and mayors. California, New York, Illinois, Virginia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, New York City, Chicago, all shitholes run by Democrats.

    You need another tune to hum, yours is off key!

    • It’s very simple. If you deliberately make something more difficult to do, they won’t do it. Strange that it’s happening wholesale almost immediately after the results of the 2020 election, which Trump still is whining about. Mail-in voting, which I support 100%, did in the mentally ill Trump and the GOP wants to put a stop to it. It’s not rocket science. You are insulting with what you wrote. Don’t make me resort to the dreaded Cancel Culture.

      • Oh yes, the absentee mail in voting that a certain Georgia county now can’t prove that 25% of their vote was even real?

      • So you support cheating? Be honest, you know Joe got so many more votes than Obama, really… a man with no accomplishments and a dementia riddled old man. Remember when he said on election night when the vote counting stopped, wait until all votes are counted? He knew the fix was in with mail-in ballots. Come In Man!
        You can cancel me any time you want, that is your prerogative. I help keep your readership alive.

          • Not sure what the newspaper has to do with it, other than a weak attempt to deflect from the fact that the Fulton County Registration & Elections can’t prove that 25% of the drop box absentee votes are real. Keep spinning though, we might be able to hook up a turbine and generate some electricity. Speaking of “newspapers” with an agenda, I guess you would know. But I’m feeling helpful, so I’ll do part of the work for you.
            404-612-4000 is the main # for Fulton County, but you can use 404-612-7020 for their direct elections line. Ask for Mariska Bodison, since she is the county official who actually said paperwork is “missing” and “misplaced”, which you apparently didn’t read. Know what happens in court when you can’t prove something?

        • “If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.” — Fudd’s First Law of Opposition

          I hereby announce for the first time in the more than nine years of Townbroadcast, the indefinite suspension of commentary from “Don’t Tread on Me.” I charge him with the “crimes” of personal and excessive vitriol and wantonly spreading dirty fascist lies, not to mention the unfairly taking advantage of the hospitality extended by Townbroadcast for all these years.
          Please note Mr. DTOM has given me permission.

          • Thanks Dave his one sided Bull Shit was hard to read. I wish you would make people use real names. No hiding from big words and big talk and No facts.

  • I believe a runoff election would be wise for elections that have a winner below 50%. Unfortunately it may be a moot point because people who don’t care who wins if their candidate loses may not even bother to vote if their desired winner is not in the runoff. Nevertheless, this point does have a good foundation of logic behind it, in my opinion. My father-in-law was going to run for a local position in Gaines township before he heard of another person interested in running for the same person. He respectfully bowed out knowing the integrity of the other individual and not wanting to siphon votes away from him or the other runner.

    I’m a bit more skeptical about the other point. Too many people lie to get elected and knowing ones party preference at least gives you a chance to vote for someone whose base ideology aligns with your own. But again, in too much of government, corruption, greed, and fruad run rampant on both sides to know if any candidate is actually sincere. It’s an interesting idea but I really think it would only further the lying and cheating of candidates in order to win. You would be better off have no names on the ballet with just A, B, C, D and a statement of values next to each letter and their voting record next to that. They could still lie about their values but their voting record would be a statrment of truth.

  • For primary elections, I would like to see all partisan primaries for county state and federal offices implement a ranked ballot voting system. Mr. Young gave examples of multiple candidates for state representative who won their primary with less than 50% of the vote.
    I agree that everyone running for city or township council, mayor or supervisor run without party labels. Let them make local decisions without mucking things up with the flavor of the month issue they have no control over at their level any way.

    Here’s an example of how ranked ballot voting would have affected the 2016 August primary for MI House District 72. Here are the results according from Ballotpedia.org
    Total vote for all candidates was 7,573
    Steve Johnson 28.8% 2,257 votes
    Tony Noto 23.08% 1,748 votes
    Ryan Gallogy 20.53% 1,555 votes
    Bill Hirsch 18.05% 1,367 votes
    Robert Coughlin 8.53% 866 votes

    Using a ranked system, no candidate came close to 50%. But the top 3 all got 20% or more, so in two weeks there would be another vote. If one of the three eclipses 50%, they are the nominee. If not, there is one more election, with the two top vote getters. Maybe Steve Johnson wins or maybe Tony Noto or Ryan Gallogy win a head-to-head vote with only two names on the ballot.

    About the Georgia Star from MediaMatters.com

    From the link:
    Georgia Star News, which debuts Thursday, is the latest project of Star News Digital Media, a growing network of partisan websites that dress up right-wing media content and talking points to look like local news. The organization’s explicit aim is to deliver pro-Trump propaganda to residents of battleground states, coating local news in the same grievance- and conspiracy-filled vernacular, as is used by outlets like The Daily Caller and Breitbart.

    And that’s no surprise, since two of the figures behind the Star News sites — John Fredericks and Michael Patrick Leahy — are conservative talk radio hosts with deep ties to characters throughout the MAGA-verse, including Breitbart and its former executive chairperson, Steve Bannon.


    Breitbart and The Daily Caller are the same disinformation bomb throwers promoting the phony child trafficking story where the HQ was purportably in the basement of a DC Pizzeria joint.

    Star News Digital Media started in Feb 2017 with The Tennessee Star and has since added The Ohio Star, The Minnesota Star, The Michigan Star, The Virginia Star, The Georgia Star News and The Florida Capital Star. If you like Steve Bannon and Breitbart, you’ll like Star News digital offerings. They will never publish a discouraging word about GOP pols efforts to limit voters and praise pols who are in positions to purge voter rolls among other issues important to “conservative causes.” They follow the Russian and former USSR formula of propaganda — an ounce of truth mixed with a lot of unfounded accusations and disinformation.

    It’s what we have since anyone with enough financial capital (and/or donors) can create a string of digital news publications, run them out of one office and make them appear to be local.

  • Wildcat48,

    Time and time again the Star Media online outlets make bombastic headlines to create big splashes and when their claims are exposed to be incorrect they stall or ignore their previous headlines. Sometimes they issue sort of a correction buried beneath other headlines.

    But as purveyors of initial headlines to make a splash, those headlines have a long life due to people like yourself who repost them on multiple platforms.

    Bottom line is Star Media is National Enquirer without the assets to be sued and works very hard to appear as a local outlet.

    Why weren’t members of the Trump 2016 campaign and it’s state organizers concerned about Trump’s 2016 wins by 0.77% in WI, .072% in PA or the 0.23% in MI yet the 2020 was a “stolen election”?

  • Not listing political affiliation does not create non-partisan voting. It simply makes it harder for voter to assess political views of candidates for local offices. Those views do affect performance in office. Ranked voting would help if the county clerk had capacity to accurately tally.

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