July 24, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Opinion: Real Election Reforms Required as Venice Neighborhood Council Wraps Up 2021 Campaign

By Nick Antonicello

Why would someone like me who has lived in Venice since 1993 and has been a registered voter the entire time have to prove to the LA City Clerk’s Office residency when they know that already?

For that is the disjointed function and dysfunctional way this Venice Neighborhood Council has been conducted, verification from those who have already been vetted.

Instead of asking those they already know are qualified through their current voter registration, why not simply send them a ballot and allow them to vote instead of the other way around?

For the some 75 candidates seeking membership on the twenty-one member board have spent an inordinate amount of time and energy getting people registered for a ballot instead of offering voters a reason why they should be elected.

It is incomprehensible that every Venice registered voter was simply sent a ballot, the same way they were for the 2020 presidential contest.

Why was it easier to vote for presidential hopeful Joe Biden or incumbent Donald Trump then to select James Murez or Brian Averill or Ben Decker?

Inquiring minds would like to know.

For if the reverse logic was applied, instead of having some 2,000 or so Venetians jump through bureaucratic hoops to participate, the turnout of this election would have been in the tens of thousands, securing grass roots democracy and home rule being enhanced versus challenged by a process that is nothing more than text book voter suppression.

Now Venetians need wait for the next two weeks to count some 2,500 votes that were requested versus the tens of thousands that would been mailed back every registered voter received a ballot.

Wouldn’t a process that promotes maximum electoral turnout be far more accountable versus a system in which voters have to be persuaded to apply for a ballot when their residence and eligibility has already been established?

This kind of backward balloting needs to cease and those who do not live in Venice should be made to establish voter eligibility through property ownership or other affiliation with this seaside community such as employment or otherwise.

WHY VOTE FOR JUST ONE?

The second major reform that needs to be addressed when the new board is seated and qualified to serve is that why all Venetians are not able to elect all thirteen members who are running at-large for the position of community officer?

Despite the fact there are thirteen community officers; voters can only cast ballots for one.

In essence, stakeholders are relegated to casting votes for just 43% of the board.

Voters are not electing 57% of those who will be seated!

It is without question another example of voter suppression and a violation of one-man, one-vote!

This reform was defeated several years ago when I personally sought the revision, but failed to receive a second in committee.

Hence, this terribly calculated system was allowed to continue in this election cycle.

Who benefits from a system where Venetians only elect less than half of the Venice Neighborhood Council?

How do you have a system in which thirteen members are serving, but voters can only cast but a single ballot?

For the current system has been reduced to a popularity contest in a process where some sixty candidates for community officer have to find relatives, neighbor and friends to cast that singular ballot while the positions of president, vice-president, treasurer, LUPC chair, secretary, Outreach chair and communications officer will be elected by the entire voter pool and participating electorate.

Just who does this make sense too?

DONE?

The LA City Attorney’s Office who was notified in writing months ago and did nothing?

The campaign for the VNC has come to a close, but the overall participation has been thwarted and the ability to elect the entire board was institutionally denied.

As a resident of Venice I’ll make sure this new board is held accountable so that in two years maximum turnout is achieved and the ability to elect all twenty-one members is no longer denied.

The writer is a member of the Outreach, Oceanfront Walk and Parking Committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council. He can be reached at (310) 621-3775 or nantoni@mindspring.com

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