Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guest Post: Where do Florida Senate Candidates Stand on Senate Filibusters?

The following is a guest post from Michael Martinez, Professor of Political Science and department chair at the University of Florida. He studies elections, voting behavior, and public opinion.  


Florida media outlets have done a reasonable job informing voters about the issues in the U.S. Senate race. But voters also should know whether Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek, and Marco Rubio support reforming the Senate itself. Currently, a minority of 41 Senators can block votes on most legislation and nominations. Several of President Bush's judicial nominations were delayed for years by a minority of Senate Democrats who refused to allow the nominations to come to a vote, and a minority of Senate Republicans has stalled consideration of many of President Obama's initiatives.

Several proposed reforms would weaken the minority’s power to obstruct votes. One would reduce the votes needed to break a filibuster, and another would require the 41 Senators objecting to a vote to actually be present on the Senate floor.

Before we know which party will have a majority in the Senate as a result of this election, we should ask each candidate whether he favors reform of the Senate itself.

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