Ontario Citizens Assembly has held first session, so Beware!

Via Fair Vote Canada:

The long-awaited convening of the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform took place at York University campus on the weekend of September 9-10. One hundred and three citizens, representing every riding in the province, began their work to determine whether Ontario needs a new voting system.

Assembly Chair George Thomson welcomed the 52 women and 51 men who will be meeting on several weekends each month through the fall and winter to learn about voting systems. They will hold public meetings across the province from late November to the end of January, and then make a recommendation in April or May on whether the voting system should be changed. If they do recommend a new system, that recommendation will go to a referendum, all but certain to be held with the October 4, 2007 provincial election.

The agenda for this first weekend session included an introduction to the role of voting systems. To gain first-hand experience on how different voting system can produce very different outcomes, the Assembly used three different voting systems to select their snacks for the three coffee breaks on the second weekend. To wrap up the weekend, Assembly members discussed what they expect elections to accomplish. The next five weekend sessions will go into detailed reviews of all major voting systems.

The Citizens’ Assembly sessions are open to the public. For more details on the schedule and topics, visit www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca.

As always, J.H. Snider has regular updates and links to news accounts, including a rather hysterical warning from Ian Urquhart in the Toronto Star of 9 September about “a leap of faith into electoral darkness.” In the Star article, we get these nuggets:

Two years ago, a similar assembly in British Columbia recommended a loopy new system called the “single transferable vote,” which hardly anyone understood…

Urquhart alleges that in BC,

the research director for the assembly was an individual who was already predisposed toward the single transferable vote…

I know who this is, and while he has done research on STV and probably thinks it has been, on balance, pretty effective over the past 90 or so years in Ireland, to say that this makes him “predisposed” (as in biased in favor of) the system strikes me as unfair and unreasonable for the reporter to say (unless he has some very specific evidence). Essentially, he is calling into question the sholarly integrity of an professional researcher. Anyway, in Ontario, the reseach director will be a:

professor of political science with no published record on the issue of electoral reform.

Wonderful. We certainly would not want someone who actually is an expert on electoral systems working to assist a group of citizens–most of whom have never thought about electoral systems before–tasked with recommending either a new electoral system or the retention of the current one! (I do not wish to imply that the scholar chosen is unqualified or will not do a good, professional job. I simply am questioning the principle of having chosen someone who is not a specialist in the field. Additionally, Wilf notes in a comment that the model of a non-specialist Academic Director supported by a team of elections experts was precisely the model that Fair Vote Ontario recommended.)

Urquhart also fears that “the playing field is already tilted against the status quo.” In a sense, that is probably correct. Given that jurisdictions do not regularly hold such extensive reviews of their electoral systems (though perhaps they should!), the very fact that a process is underway suggests there is doubt about how well the status quo serves the jurisdiction. And well there should be, though my own research on reform away from plurality shows that Ontario is not one of the cases that is most “objectively” in need of reform. The province has not had the record of severe anomalies that British Columbia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or pre-reform New Zealand have had.

Then, even after criticzing BC-STV, Urquhart implies that proportional representation necessarily is a system of “party lists” notwithstanding that there are no party lists under STV. He also claims that under PR candidates run on such lists “rather than in constituencies” (my emphasis), notwithstanding that one can have both, if one understands “constituencies” to mean single-seat districts and the form of PR adopted is MMP. (Of course, most non-MM PR systems, including STV, indeed have constituencies; jurisdiction-wide party-list systems, a la Israel or Ukraine, are exceedingly rare.)

Urquhart says that “permanent minority government” would be a cure worse than the disease, which he diagnoses as “presidentialization.” The latter term–highly misleading in any parliamentary system, but that’s a topic for another day–refers to the concentration of power in the premier. Apparently it has not ocurred to Mr. Urquhart that the reason the premier is so powerful is that there are no checks and balances on a single minority party (in votes) that is frequently given a majority (in seats) by Ontario’s current electoral system. Your premier will be a whole lot less “presidential” (not that he is now, but, again, that’s a topic for another day) once you have an electoral system that ensures, when there is no party with a majority of votes, that a minority party leads a minority government–or else, of course, a majority coalition.

The idea that one can genuinely empower “ordinary MPPs,” as Urquhart wishes–at least without real presdentialization, that is, electing legislators and the executive separately and eliminating confidence votes–is quite frankly naive. Under a parliamentary form of government, individual members are arguably at their least powerful under plurality voting and the resulting tendency towards single-party governments. PR–of some form–is essential to what Urquhart claims to want to accomplish.

It seems Urquhart and his newspaper could use a primer from an electoral systems specialist. But of course we can’t be trusted to be objective about our areas of research specialization, can we?

0 thoughts on “Ontario Citizens Assembly has held first session, so Beware!

  1. “the reseach director will be a professor of political science with no published record on the issue of electoral reform.” Well, his title is Academic Director, and he was chosen as an outstanding educator. He has assembled an Academic Reference Group of 13 Ontario experts on electoral systems to advise during the Learning Phase, help support Assembly members who wish to undertake research on specific aspects of electoral systems, and answer questions from Assembly members or the general public.

    This is just what Fair Vote Ontario recommended. A single expert on electoral systems is bound to have opinions and create an appearance of bias.

    In the case of BC, is there specific evidence of bias? Well, while discussing MMP and dual candidacy, he told their Assembly Members “It can mean that politicians who are defeated in constituencies can end up getting elected for a list seat
    The Japanese don’t like this and call them zombie politicians!” Aside from the fact that Japan doesn’t use MMP, this relevance of this inflammatory statement is doubtful when no one — google confirms — in Scotland or New Zealand has ever used the phrase “Zombie politicians” nor has it been used of Germany that I know of. Some BC CA members have said it “rang true” and stayed in their minds as a problem with MMP.

    But the real problem in BC was that he didn’t help them design their MMP model that they nearly finished designing, but ran out of time and chose STV instead.

  2. I have been trying to get scholars on Japan to stop using the term, ‘zombie.’ It is cute, I suppose, but irrelevant. The so-called zombies are not losers brought back from the ‘dead’ by the list, but rather winners by one of the two distinct but related paths under which one may win a seat under such systems.

    Not only is the concept of members nominated in an SSD but elected off the list a non issue in Germany (and, I think, NZ), but also it’s an essential feature of a well functioning MM system (whether MMP or not).

    One of the best feature of MMP is that it is PR, but without depending entirely on party lists (whether closed, and hence relatively centralized, or open and hence opening up intraparty competition for votes). Under a mixed-member system that allows a candidate to be nominated in both tiers simultaneously, a candidate elected off a list nonetheless has incentive to cultivate ties to the constituency in which he or she is nominated even if he or she does not win that district contest. (This is more meaningful in MMP where literally “every vote counts” but the basic logic works in MMM, too.)

    If you legislators elected off lists are barred from also having stood in an SSD, then you really do have two classes of MPs, rather than a unified system linking the “best of both worlds” of proportionality and constituency ties.

    As for the remarks by the BC academic resource, as referenced by Wilf, they do not seem particularly damning. Saying that candidates who run in an SSD but win only off the list are called ‘zombies’ in Japan and viewed negatively is a factual statement. (Of course, I was not there–nor have I checked the transcripts–and do not know the full context.)

    However, I did ask him once if the BC Citizens Assembly members were at all concerned with the high degree of parochialism and the potential negative consequences of intra-party competition under STV, and he said they were not. Were they informed and not concerned, or was this objection to STV not presented to them?

    To assess electoral systems properly, the positives and negatives of each system on both the interparty and intraparty dimensions need to be presented to the citizens, and may the ‘best’ system win. (‘Best’ in quotation marks, because such a system does not exist; all are flawed, and one must decide which balance of tradeoffs works for the context in which it will operate.)

  3. Pingback: Fruits and Votes

  4. Will the OCA Members and ALL of the *academic* persons be informed about the ANTI-Democracy math of the Ontario regime — since day 1 that Ontario existed ???
    ———

    2003 ONTARIO ELECTION MINORITY RULE SUMMARY MATH

    103 SINGLE MEMBER GERRYMANDER DISTRICTS

    PTV – PERCENT OF TOTAL VOTES

    VOTES PTV

    687816 15.3 37 LOW LIB
    174674 3.9 9 LOW PC
    105934 2.4 6 LOW NDP

    968424 21.5 52 LOW WIN ***

    865992 19.3 35 HIGH LIB
    407531 9.1 15 HIGH PC
    23289 0.5 1 HIGH NDP

    1296812 28.8 51 HIGH WIN

    2265236 50.4 103 ALL WIN

    —————————-

    536193 11.9 31 LIB
    976976 21.7 79 PC
    531507 11.8 96 NDP
    187332 4.2 213 OTHER

    2232008 49.6 419 ALL LOSERS

    —————————-

    2090001 46.5 103 LIB
    1559181 34.7 103 PC
    660730 14.7 103 NDP
    187332 4.1 213 OTHER

    4497244 100.0 522 TOTAL VOTES

    —————————-

    1029512 22.9 52 LOW LIB ***
    —————————-

    *** ANTI-DEMOCRACY MINORITY RULE PERCENTAGES
    —————————-
    PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION SEATS — PRS

    Party Seats = Party Votes x Total Seats [103] / Total Votes [4497244]

    GSW GERRYMANDER SEATS WON

    PRS >> PRS GSW PRS-GSW

    47.9 48 72 -24 LIB
    35.7 36 24 12 PC
    15.1 15 7 8 NDP
    4.3 4 0 4 OTHER
    103.0 103 103 0 TOTAL

    DATA- ELECTIONS ONTARIO
    ———-
    The above gerrymander ROT is derived from the gerrymander formation of the ye olde English House of Commons in the 1200’s and carried into Canada with the British Empire conquest in the 7 Years War in the 1700’s.

    Modify the below a very small bit for the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly — at stake — the survival of Western Civilization.

    ———–
    It is blatantly UNEQUAL and ANTI-democratic (that is, mathematically and politically INSANE) for each legislator to currently have one vote in a legislative body regardless of —
    (a) the UNEQUAL number of votes for each winner and
    (b) the UNEQUAL total number of voters in a district.

    FIRST PRINCIPLE – A legislative body exists ONLY because ALL of the Electors (voters) in the legislative body area involved can not assemble in person and enact legislation.

    Remedies —

    Equal nominating petitions in Art. I, Sec. 9.

    Proportional Representation (P.R.) (of ALL voters — to get both indirect majority rule and minority representation) in Art. I, Secs. 10-11.

    Basic P.R. — Party Seats = (Party Votes x Total Seats) / Total Votes

    Exact P.R. — Party Voting Power (of all Party Seat winners) = Total Party Votes (to make ALL votes count)

    Approval Voting method (vote for 1 or more, highest wins) for nonpartisan elected executive officers and judges in Art. I, Secs. 8 and 12.

    NO primaries and conventions are needed.

    Democracy NOW (via 100 percent P.R.) in all nations — before it is too late.

    ———————-
    Model State Constitution, 9 May 2006
    Variable items in [brackets].

    Note- Bill of Rights language would be put in the various Articles or in an additional Article.
    —————————
    [Year] [State Name] Constitution

    Article 1 Elections

    Sec. 1. (a) An election shall only be held [between [7] A.M. and [8] P.M. [local time]] on [date] of each year (except for removal elections).
    (b) All election areas shall exist [40] weeks before the election.

    Sec. 2. (a) Each Citizen of this state who is or will be [18] or more years old on an election day and who has registered to vote in his/her precinct of residence at least [4] weeks before the election [(except those lawfully convicted and in jail)] shall be an Elector having the right to vote in such precinct.
    (b) Each such Citizen not having a residence in the state shall be registered in the state capitol.
    (c) An Elector may vote in secret [in person or] by mail [or electronic] ballot in any election in his/her precinct.
    (d) Elector forms for petitions shall have [10] point or larger type, be [8.5] by [11 or] [14] inches and shall be verified within [4] weeks after being filed.
    [(e) If a new area becomes a part of the state, then the registered Electors in such area [8] weeks after it becomes a part of the state shall be deemed to have voted in the last regular election.]

    Sec. 3. (a) A constitution amendment, law or law referendum petition may be signed within [2 years] by registered Electors respectively equal to [10], [8] or [5] percent of the number of Electors at the last regular election.
    (b) A constitution amendment (law) petition may be signed within [28] days by [two-thirds] [three-fifths] (a majority) of the Legislature.
    (c) The full text of the constitution amendment or law (including any added, amended or repealed sections) shall be filed with the Supreme Court and given a year-number.
    (d) Petition Form- [CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT] [LAW] [LAW REFERENDUM] PETITION [YEAR-NUMBER].
    (I) (We) have seen or heard the full text of such petition and (I) (we) approve it.
    Elector or Representative signature(s), printed name(s), address(es), and date(s) signed
    (Sponsor’s name and mailing address)
    (e) The full text in a valid Elector (Legislature) petition shall be submitted to the Electors at the next regular election at least [12] [(40)] weeks after it is filed.
    (f) If the constitution amendment or law is approved by a majority of the Electors voting on it, then it shall take effect immediately unless it has another effective date.
    (g) If 2 or more constitution amendments (laws) approved at the same election conflict, then the amendment (law) receiving the most YES votes shall prevail.
    (h) An approved law shall not violate this constitution and may only be amended or repealed by the Electors, but the Legislature may propose to amend or repeal the law.
    (i) The above above shall apply in like manner to the Electors, Councils and ordinances in cities.

    Sec. 4. Each person in an elected office shall be a registered Elector in the election area and during the term involved [in addition to any other qualifications in this constitution].

    Sec. 5. (a) The Electors shall elect [101] Representatives in the state and an odd number of Councilors (at least [5]) in each city in each year for 1 year terms.
    (b) Each legislative body district shall have between 5 and 10 times the total number of Electors at the last election in all districts divided by the total members in the body.
    (c) Appeals Court Judges and District Court Judges shall be elected from districts based on judicial activity.
    (d) As nearly as possible, each district shall consist of 1 or more cities or part of 1 city and be contiguous and square.
    (e) No change in a district shall reduce the terms of office involved.

    Sec. 6. The Electors shall elect the following executive officers in each year for 1 year terms- a Governor and Vice Governor (jointly), state Attorney, state Clerk and state Treasurer in the state, 1 to [5] Sheriffs and 1 to [5] District Attorneys in each District Court district, other state executive officers provided by law (if any); a Mayor and Vice Mayor (jointly), City Clerk and City Treasurer and other city executive officers provided by ordinance (if any) in each city.

    Sec. 7. The Electors shall elect the following judicial officers in [odd] [even] numbered years- [3] Supreme Court Judges in the state for 6 year terms, 1 to [5] Appeals Court Judges in each Appeals Court district for 2, 4 and/or 6 year terms and 1 to [5] District Court Judges in each District Court district for 2, 4 and/or 6 year terms.

    Sec. 8. All elected executive officers and all judges shall be nominated for and elected at nonpartisan elections.

    Sec. 9. (a) A candidate’s name shall be put on the ballots by a petition signed within [24] weeks by registered Electors in the election area involved equal to [0.2] to [0.6] percent of the number of Electors voting in such area at the last election.
    (b) It shall be filed at least [12] weeks before the election and shall not be withdrawn.
    (c) An Elector may sign 1 or more petitions for the same office.
    (d) Petition Form- NOMINATING PETITION – [PARTISAN] [NONPARTISAN]
    (I) (We) nominate (candidate’s name and address) (of the (political party name, if any)) for (office) in (election area) at the (date) election.
    (Signature, Printed Name, Address, Date Signed)
    (Candidate’s name and mailing address)
    (e) An incumbent [judge] seeking re-election to the same office shall file an affidavit provided by law.
    (f) It shall be filed at least [36] weeks before the election and shall not be withdrawn.
    (g) Candidates may have a [0.4 inch by 0.4 inch] symbol next to their names on the ballots. Partisan candidates shall have their political party’s name (of not more than [15] letters and spaces) next to their names.
    (h) Nonpartisan candidates shall have the word “Nonpartisan” next to their names.

    Sec. 10. (a) Each legislative body candidate shall get a list of all candidates in all districts at least [4] weeks before the election.
    (b) Each candidate shall rank the other candidates in all districts (using 1 (highest), 2, etc.) and file such list not later than [4] P.M. [3] weeks before the election.
    (c) The lists shall be made public immediately at such deadline. If a valid list is not filed, then the candidate’s name shall be removed from the ballots.

    [Option 1 – Party Votes P.R.]
    Sec. 11. (a) Each Elector may vote for 1 candidate for each legislative body.
    (b) Party definition- the candidates of a political party. All independent candidates shall be deemed to be in 1 political party.
    (c) Party Votes definition- the votes for all candidates of a political party in all districts.
    (d) Each Party shall get an initial number of Party Seats equal to its Party Votes multiplied by the Total Seats divided by the Total Votes for all candidates in all districts.
    (e) The highest fraction(s) shall get any fractional seats. [PS = (PV x TS) / TV]
    (f) The votes for each candidate of each Party not getting any seats shall be moved to the Party getting any seats which is highest on each such candidate’s rank order list.
    (g) The (d)-(e)-(f) math shall be redone.
    (h) The candidate(s) of each Party (equal to its Party Seats number) getting the most votes in all districts shall be elected.
    (i) The votes for a losing candidate shall be moved to the elected candidate who is highest on the losing candidate’s rank order list.
    (j) Each elected candidate shall have a Voting Power in the legislative body equal to his/her original votes plus any moved votes.
    (k) Example- 100 Votes, 10 Seats
    Votes Seats
    Initial
    A 38/10 = 3.8 4
    B 35/10 = 3.5 4
    C 24/10 = 2.4 2
    D 3/10 = 0.3 0
    100/10 = 10.0 10
    Final
    A 38/10 = 3.8 4
    B 35/10 = 3.5 3
    C 27/10 = 2.7 3
    100/10 = 10.0 10

    Winners – Voting Powers
    A 38 = 11 + 10 + 9 + 8
    B 35 = 12 + 12 + 11
    C 27 = 10 + 9 + 8
    100 = 100

    [Option 2 – Top N Winners P.R. – quicker but less accurate]
    Sec. 11. (a) Each Elector may vote for 1 candidate for each legislative body.
    (b) [The candidates (equal to the total number to be elected in all districts) getting the most votes in all districts shall be elected.] [The [5] candidates getting the most votes in a district shall be elected.]
    (c) The votes for a losing candidate shall be moved to the elected candidate who is highest on the losing candidate’s rank order list.
    (d) Each elected candidate shall have a Voting Power in the legislative body equal to his/her original votes plus any moved votes.
    (e) Example- Elect 5 in a district
    A 25 + 0 = 25
    B 23 + 0 = 23
    C 21 + 0 = 21
    D 20 + 0 = 20
    E 8 + 3 = 11
    F 2 – 2 = 0
    G 1 – 1 = 0
    100 100

    [Option 3 – Equal votes per winner P.R. – quicker less accurate math]
    Sec. 11. (a) Each Elector may vote for 1 candidate for each legislative body in an election.
    (b) The Average shall be the Total Votes for all candidates in all districts divided by the Total Members to be elected in all districts, dropping fractions. Ave = TV/TM.
    (c) A candidate who gets the Average shall be elected.
    (d) The most excess votes above the Average shall be repeatedly moved to 1 or more unelected candidates, using the elected candidate’s rank order list.
    (e) Only the votes needed to get the Average shall be moved to any 1 unelected candidate.
    (f) After all of the step (d) and (e) moves, the candidates with the most votes in all districts shall be elected, equal in number to the Total Members to be elected.
    (g) The votes for all losing candidates shall be deemed to be moved to the elected candidates with less than the Average.
    (h) Example- 100 Votes, Elect 5, Average 20
    A 26 – 2 – 4 = 20
    B 20
    C 18 + 2 = 20 (2 from A)
    D 15
    E 10
    F 7 + 4 = 11 (4 from A)
    G 4
    Excess A votes moved.
    —–
    A 20 Elected
    B 20 Elected
    C 20 Elected
    D 15 Elected
    F 11 Elected
    —–
    E 10 Loses
    G 4 Loses
    —–
    The 14 E and G votes are deemed moved to D and F so that all 5 elected candidates have 20 votes each.

    Sec. 12. (a) Each Elector may vote for 1 or more candidates for each elected executive office or judge (including 1 write-in for each position).
    (b) The candidate(s) getting the most votes shall be elected (for the longest terms respectively in the case of 2 or more positions with different terms).

    Sec. 13. The terms of office of all elected officers shall begin at noon [on [date]] [10 days] after the election.

    Sec. 14. (a) A petition for a removal election of a legislative body, elected executive officer or judge may be signed within [12] weeks (and during the term of office involved) by registered Electors in the election area involved equal in number to [25] percent of the number of Electors in such area at the last regular state election.
    (b) Petition Form- REMOVAL ELECTION PETITION
    (We) (I) petition for the removal of (the name of the legislative body or the name and office of the officer or judge) in (election area) because: (reason(s) in not more than [50] words).
    Elector signature(s), printed name(s), address(es), date(s) signed
    (Sponsor’s name and mailing address)
    (c) The reason(s) shall not be reviewed, except in libel cases in the courts against the sponsor.
    (d) The full text of the (b) petition language with YES and NO shall be submitted to the Electors in the election area involved between [12] and [18] weeks after a valid petition is filed and during the term of office involved.
    (e) If there is a YES majority of the Electors voting on a petition, then the officer(s) shall be removed from office immediately.

    Sec. 15. (a) A legislative body candidate or member may file a written rank order list of persons to fill his/her vacancy, if any.
    (b) The qualified person highest on the list shall fill the vacancy. If the preceding does not happen, then the legislative body involved shall fill the vacancy with a person of the same Party immediately at its next meeting.
    (c) The inability of a Governor, on request of the Vice Governor or the Legislature, shall be immediately determined by the Supreme Court which shall determine if and when the inability ceases.
    (d) A Governor vacancy shall be filled by the Vice Governor.
    (e) A Vice Governor, state Attorney, state Clerk, state Treasurer, Sheriff or District Attorney vacancy shall be filled by the Governor [by and with the advice and consent of the Legislature].
    (f) A judge vacancy shall be filled by the Supreme Court [by and with the advice and consent of the Legislature].
    (g) If a judge vacancy occurs more than [26] weeks before an election which is not the regular election for the office, then candidates shall be elected at the election for the remaining term of office.
    (h) The inability of a Mayor, on request of the Vice Mayor or the Council, shall be immediately determined by the District Court Judge(s) of the District Court district(s) within the city who shall determine if and when the inability ceases.
    (i) A Mayor vacancy shall be filled by the Vice Mayor.
    (j) A Vice Mayor, City Clerk or City Treasurer vacancy shall be filled by a Mayor [by and with the advice and consent of the Council].

    Article 2 State Legislative Power

    Sec. 1. (a) The state legislative power of the People, not retained by the People, to enact laws is in a Legislature having Representatives of the People.
    (b) A majority of the total voting powers shall be required for any action in the Legislature unless a higher or lower fractional part is specified in this Constitution.

    Sec. 2. (a) The Legislature shall meet when the terms of its member begin, may meet any time or in committees, in person, by written proxy or electronically, may choose its officers, may determine the rules of its proceedings, shall keep a journal of its proceedings and publish the same daily unless the public security otherwise requires, may punish a member for disorderly behavior and may, by a [two thirds] vote, expel a member.
    (b) Members shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the Legislature.
    (c) Members shall not be questioned in any other place for any speech or other lawful legislative activity in the Legislature.
    (d) The names and votes of the members voting on any question shall be entered in the journal by a [one fifth] vote.
    (e) All legislation shall be by bill containing the full text of the title or amended title, all new sections, amended sections and existing sections which are to be amended or repealed.
    (f) The names and votes of the members voting on the final passage of bills shall be entered in the journal.
    (g) Journal copies shall be available to any person at cost.
    [(h) Any increase in member compensation (including but not limited to salaries, expense allowances and pensions) shall require the approval of a majority of the Electors voting thereon with at least [12] weeks notice. If 2 or more compensation items approved at the same election conflict, then the item receiving the most YES votes shall prevail.]

    Sec. 3. The Legislature may by a [two thirds] vote remove any state executive officer or judge from office.

    Article 3 State Executive Power

    Sec. 1. (a) The state executive power of the People, not retained by the People, to take care that the laws are faithfully executed is in the elected and appointed state executive officers.
    (b) The appointed officers shall be appointed by 1 or more state executive officers [by and with the advice and consent of the Legislature] as provided by law.

    Sec. 2. (a) The Governor shall be commander in chief of the armed forces of the state and have other state executive powers and duties provided by law.
    (b) Sheriffs and District Attorneys shall respectively have the same salaries and state executive powers and duties provided by general laws.

    Article 4 Judicial Power

    Sec. 1. The judicial power of the People, not retained by the People, over alleged injuries and/or crimes is in 1 Supreme Court, 1 Appeals Court (if any) (holding 3 judge courts) and 1 District Court (holding 1 judge courts).

    Sec. 2. (a) Each Supreme Court Judge may by law also be an Appeals Court Judge and/or a District Court Judge.
    (b) Each Appeals Court Judge may by law also be a District Court Judge.
    (c) The Judges of the same Court shall have the same salaries.
    (d) Each Appeals Court Judge or District Court Judge shall hold court only in his/her district (except in time of public danger).
    (e) Each Court may appoint its officers.

    Sec. 3. (a) Each court shall have original and/or appellate jurisdiction as provided by this constitution and/or law.
    (b) The Appeals Court or Supreme Court may grant pardons or reductions in punishments after criminal convictions.

    Article 5 Cities

    Sec. 1. (a) Cities shall be the only political subdivisions of the state and shall have equal legislative and executive powers and duties provided by general laws.
    (b) The state shall pay for any city activity required by law.

    Sec. 2. No change in any boundary of any city (and boundary related assets and/or liabilities) shall take effect without the approval of a majority of the electors voting on the question or questions at a regular general election in each city involved with at least [12] weeks notice.

    Sec. 3. (a) The city legislative power of the People of each city, not retained by the People, to enact ordinances is in a Council having Councilors of the People.
    (b) General provisions applying to the Legislature and Representatives shall apply to Councils and Councilors.
    (c) A Council may by a [two thirds] vote remove any city executive officer from office.

    Sec. 4. (a) The city executive power of the People of each city, not retained by the People, to take care that state laws and city ordinances are faithfully executed is in the elected and appointed city executive officers.
    (b) The appointed officers shall be appointed by 1 or more city executive officers [by and with the advice and consent of the Council] as provided by law or ordinance.

    Article 6 Offices and Officers

    Sec. 1. (a) A person may hold only 1 office.
    (b) All officers shall before taking office take the following oath or affirmation: I swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the [Year] [State Name] Constitution.

    Sec. 2. The salaries of elected state executive officers and judges (or elected city executive officers) may be decreased during a term of office only if there is a general salary reduction in the entire state (or city) government.

    Sec. 3. (a) The qualifications of all candidates for any appointive office shall be based on competitive examination and performance exclusively on the basis of merit, efficiency and fitness.
    (b) Appointments, promotions, demotions or removals in any appointive office shall not be based on party, race or religion.
    (c) Any appointive officer may be removed from office by the appointing officer(s) for reasons provided by general laws.
    [(d) A vacancy in an appointive office shall be filled by the appointing officer(s).]

    Temporary Section

    (a) This Constitution shall take effect [at noon on [date]] and shall replace the prior [State Name] Constitution.
    (b) All existing laws and ordinances not in conflict with this Constitution shall continue.
    [(c) All elected officers shall be elected on [date] as if this Constitution is in immediate effect [but that initial deadlines, percentages and terms may be reduced by law].] [Three Supreme Court Judges shall each be initially elected for 2 year terms, 4 year terms and 6 year terms.]
    [(d) [The votes for the office of [Office] at the [date] election] [The number of registered Electors on [date] shall be the first base for Elector petitions.]
    [(e)] Each existing [names of non-overlapping local government types] shall become a city [but that any such unit that had less than [number] Electors at the [date] election may be merged by law.]
    [(f)] The net financial assets of any abolished government shall be moved to the city or cities in the area of the abolished government when this Constitution is approved within [2 years] after this amendment takes effect, as provided by law.
    [(g)] The net financial debts of any abolished government shall be paid off [by 1 or more lotteries].
    [(h) Other temporary language for courts especially.]

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