NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Two of the biggest culprits of today's partisan gridlock, according to participants at today's "No Labels" conference: gerrymandered voting districts and closed primary elections.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- one of the few politicians at the event who has left not one but two political parties -- is advocating major voting reforms in his state.
"The natural thing for politicians is to want to go from election cycle to election cycle...and not have to run the risk of being unemployed and having to go into private sector -- which scares the bejeezus out of them,'' he said. "They do what you would expect them to do-- they make sure they don't have competitive races."
Ellen Friedin, who spearheaded a constitutional amendment in Florida to take politics out of redistricting, noted that 75 percent of the state officeholders are Republican, yet there are 700,000 more Democratic than Republican registered voters.
"What does that tell you?'' asked Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican-turned-independent who recently lost a U.S. Senate bid. "They did a very good job of (gerrymandering) ten years ago.''
Also on site was California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who helped pass a measure that will allow the top two vote getters in the primaries, regardless of party, to advance to the general election.