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10 ideas for Equal Justice

July 2010 | Featured Idea Automatic Absentee Voting

10 Ideas for Equal Justice July 2010 National Director Hilary Doe National Network Coordinator Tarsi

10 Ideas for Equal Justice

July 2010

National Director Hilary Doe

National Network Coordinator Tarsi Dunlop

Lead Strategist for Equal Justice Matthew Fischler

Managing Editor Gracye Cheng


Sheri Holt

The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network 455 Massachusetts Ave NW Suite 650 Washington, DC 20001

Copyright © 2010 by the Roosevelt Institute. All rights reserved.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors. They do not ex- press the views or opinions of the Roosevelt Institute, its officers, or its directors.

10 ideas


Equal Justice

Congratulations to Aditya Mukerjee, author of Automatic Absentee Voting

Nominee for Policy of the Year

Inside the Issue


Combating Student Homelessness:


24-Hour Peer-Run Services Jenna Edzant et al

Making the MBTA Fare-Less Jason Leach


Broadening Opportunity to Litigate through Champerty Daniel Rosenblum


Incorporating Open Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, & Transgenders into the United States Military Jenna Edzant and Amreen Rahman


Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones for New York State Philip Verma


Demand-Side Enforcement: Reforming Prostitution Law Otilia Enica and Kelsey Jost-Creegan


The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College Ryan Hunter


Automatic Absentee Voting Aditya Mukerjee


Automatic Enrollment in Illinois Re-Entry Programs John Haak et al


Correcting the Inequality in FIFA Decision Making and Hosting the World Cup Brian Bartle


Roosevelt Review Preview:


Mixed-Member Proportional Representation - Fixing the “People’s House” William Organek

p Letter from Washington

We are pleased and proud to present the second edition of the 10 Ideas Series. Com-

prised of six journals, these articles represent the best of our student policy work across the country. Throughout the past year, our national policy strategists have supported hundreds of students chapters stretching from New England and Michigan to California and Georgia. As a peer-to-peer network, our student strategy team is unlike any other - they are both friends and mentors, strategists and promoters. Instead of waiting for their ideas to be approved in Washington, our Washington team looks to the field for our most innovative policies - and it is the student network that votes on the best proposals

of the year.

Within this volume, you will find a variety of ideas in motion. Some are new proposals being spread for the first time; others have already gained traction in their local commu- nity, as our campus chapters work to enact their policies today. Some will rise to higher prominence in the months ahead, gathering momentum as the idea is adopted through- out our national network of 8000 members. A few will be adopted by state legislatures and city councils; some make it all the way to Capitol Hill.

A year ago, one Colorado student published an idea about improving remote access to

health care via unused television waves; the state of California is now working with him to make that idea a reality. A pair of students in Chicago postulated that their school could start a revolving loan fund for energy efficient building and development; they now

help administer such a fund at Northwestern.

Whether intensely localized or built for the nation at large, these ideas all have the po- tential to become realities. We look forward to what comes next for these authors - and

if you can be a part of that change, we hope you’ll join us.


Tarsi Dunlop National Network Coordinator

Strategist’s Note P

At the dawn of a new decade, we find ourselves in an unlikely place. Despite “reaching the mountain top” by electing our first African-American President, our country faces se- rious challenges to the bedrock of American society: the equality of opportunity. While the Moses Generation perfected our union by erasing the stain of racial discrimination, our generation, the Joshua generation, faces new forms of discrimination and inequality in the 21st. Injustice cannot stand, whether it is through the legal profiling of Hispanic immigrants, or discrimination based on what you worship or whom you love. As Presi- dent Obama declared to the NAACP at the outset of his presidency, the most difficult barriers to opportunity today are the “structural inequalities that our nation’s legacy of discrimination has left behind.” We will tear these barriers down by rewarding work with living wages, reducing income inequality, making housing more affordable, ensuring nutritional food is more accessible, giving ex-offenders a second chance, and welcoming people from every background, and every country the chance to participate in our soci- ety and achieve their American Dream.

In its second year, the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network Equal Justice center re- ceived submissions from our best and brightest students for progressive solutions to the equal justice issues of our time. The ideas presented in these journals are not meant to sit idle on the shelf. They represent actionable plans that address inequalities on our college campuses, in city ordinances, state laws, and federal policies. Members from our chapter at UCLA tackle the growing threat of student homelessness at our public universities. At Columbia University, students ensure that every voice is heard in our de- mocracy by establishing “no-excuse” absentee ballots. Roosevelt fellows at UNC-Chapel Hill advocate for victims of the hidden sex trafficking industry in North Carolina.

These exceptional ideas demonstrate the commitment of our generation of progressive millennials to pave our nation’s future with a grand and open path to opportunity and justice. I am sure these solutions will inspire you to take action against inequality within your own communities.


Matthew Fischler Lead Strategist, Equal Justice

Combating Student Homelessness:

24-Hour Peer-Run Services

Jenna Edzant, Joelle Gamble, Lizzie Odendahl and Amreen Rahman University of California Los Angeles

Colleges should ensure that there is at least one secure, on-campus building open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide homeless/needy students with shelter.

With higher education comes a consid- erable financial burden as the price of attending college increases annually, and sometimes, bi-annually. Over the past few years, actions have been taken to al- leviate the strain that tuition places on students. The 2009 American Opportu- nity Tax Credit added course materials to the list of qualifying claims for parents and students. 1 The Student Aid and Fis- cal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), which was signed into law along with health care legislation in early 2010, significant- ly increased the amount of Pell Grant awards. SAFRA converts student lend- ing from taxpayer-subsidized private lenders to the more cost-effective Di- rect Loan Program, which lends money directly from the government. 2

Key Facts

Warning signs of student homelessness- can alert universities including: a lack of continuity in education, poor health and hygiene, or unusually large quantities of belongings carried on the person. 3

”For the 2009-2010 school year and fu- ture years. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-84) ex- panded the definition of “independent student” to include: (1) unaccompanied homeless youth; (2) youth who are in fos- ter care at any time after the age of 13 or older, and; (3) youth who are emanci- pated minors or are in legal guardianships as determined by an appropriate court in the individual’s state of residence.” 4

In a survey study conducted by the Cali- fornia Research Bureau on homeless youth in California, 24% of those inter- viewed at the time were attending either high school or college. 5

Despite efforts to create affordable high- er education, students are still suffering

from the effects of the financial crisis. In 2010, California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed to phase out the Cal Grants program that many California students relied on to pay for school.UCs have also established fee increases while drastically cutting enrollment. 6 At UCLA, some students resort to sleeping in libraries, showering in gym facilities and carrying their personal belongings with them to class. These are not isolated incidents. Fortunately, UCLA has a 24-hour campus library; otherwise, many students would have no shelter at night.

Analysis The majority of college campuses across the country feature at least one facility de- signed as a “student recreational center” that provides services such as study rooms and access to computers, lounges, athletic facilities, locker rooms, program offices, and common areas. Needy students frequent such buildings for shelter, washing, or simply a comfortable place to rest. These buildings become the primary resource for a univer- sity’s homeless student population.


Next Steps At UCLA, these various services exist but are not centralized and are therefore ineffective in combating student home- lessness. Schools should guarantee that at least one secure building is open at all times to provide shelter for homeless students; this may be a library or student union, for example. These buildings should have secure lockers, restrooms, shower fa- cilities, and washers and dryers available to current students.

Talking Points

Due to the lack of statistically based studies on student homelessness, uni- versities primarily rely on anecdotal information. In order to quantify the problem, universities can initiate an identification process of at risk stu- dents through psychological services, financial aid, counseling and other stu- dent services.

Students may be considered homeless for several different reasons: unex- pected evictions, family crises or a lack of a nighttime residence due to long- standing financial issues. 7

Providing students in need with a de- pendable nighttime shelter, via a 24- hour on-campus location, is the first- step universities can take towards curbing the spread of homelessness throughout their student bodies.

However, secure facilities alone are not enough to meet the needs of a homeless student population. The university should also provide a food closet consisting of do- nations from local residents and interest- ed non-profit organizations. Possible non- profits include: SOME, Martha’s Kitchen,

the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Alliance to End Home- lessness. A system in which students donate extra meal plan passes to their homeless peers could be established. Funding can come from any existing resources for student welfare services. Many schools already have buildings open 24-hours, but do not pro- vide showers,washers/dryers, or food closets. Centralizing these facilities is key to the project’s success.

If funding allows, universities should institute a student-led organization to provide re- sources, and counseling that could identify homeless students and provide them with information. They would organize food drives to collect meal plan vouchers from the students and collect donations from their neighboring community. These groups could also hold fundraisers with alumni and other student groups.


1. Neil Paik, “Revised federal aid application released.” The Daily Bruin. January 27, 2010: 1,4.

2. “Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (updated 3.18.10) | EdLabor Journal | Committee on Educa- tion and Labor.” Committee on Education and Labor. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2010. <http://edlabor.>.

3. Nell Bernstein and Lisa Foster, “Voices from the Street: A Survey of Homeless Youth by Their Peers.” California State Research Library 1 (2008): 1-133. Web. ,

4. Paik 2010.

5. Eleanor J. Bader. “Homeless on Campus | The Progressive.” The Progressive | Peace and Social Justice

Since 1909. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2010. <>

6. Ibid.

7. Nell Bernstein and Lisa Foster. “Voices from the Street: A Survey of Homeless Youth by Their Peers.” California State Research Library 1 (2008): 1-133. Web,


Making the MBTA Fare-Less

Jason Leach, Tufts University

The Massachusetts state government should monetarily support the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) through increased state income tax, in part to eradi- cate fares and to allow everyone to ride for free.

Policymakers should aim to support the MBTA by increasing the income tax, thereby releasing the portion of the state budget that currently goes to the MBTA. This is simply an alternative way for the state to fund the service. It also proves to be more thorough and stable than the sales tax and trust fund currently in place. The money collected would slowly alleviate the MBTA of its burdensome debt, and would allow the Author- ity to make necessary repairs to its aging infrastructure. But, the primary goal would be to make the services of the MBTA available to all for no cost.

The MBTA is currently funded by the Commonwealth government in three ways. The MBTA, which provides ser- vice to 73% of the state population, 4 consistently receives 20% of revenue from the state sales tax, $160 million from the newly established $275 million Commonwealth Transportation Trust Fund (CTTF), and $150 million in rev- enue from service area assessments. 5 However, the Massachusetts sales tax has not seen the stipulated 3% growth because of the poor economy. In re- sponse, the Commonwealth set up the CTTF to further fund the MBTA, as well as other transportation institutions.

Key Facts

Raising the state income tax level to 5.95% is predicted to cover current fare revenue, as well as current state funding from a portion of the sales tax, the Commonwealth Transporta- tion Trust Fund (CTTF), and service area assessments. 1

Even though the tax increase might be unpopular, the MBTA provides ser- vices for over 73% of Massachusetts’ population. 2

US businesses lose $40 billion annu- ally due to traffic congestion. 3

Many citizens are disadvantaged because they cannot afford transportation. They are unable to find a job, keep a job, or simply access other parts of Boston and the rest of Massachusetts. Public transportation allows employees to arrive at work consistently and on-time. According to the American Public Transportation Association, “traffic con- gestion causes an annual loss of $40 billion to U.S. business,” and motor vehicle injuries cost $71.5 billion. 6

Analysis Raising the income tax rate, currently at 5.3%, to its 1999 level, at 5.95%, is predicted to increase revenue by an estimated $1.4 billion. 7 This would cover the $901 million the MBTA reports receiving from sales tax and local assessments funding, and $451 million from customer receipts. The extra $50 million could pay off the $5.2 billion debt and cover the expected budget increases for extra maintenance, repairs, and other operat- ing expenses that might be necessary after implementation.


The MBTA’s priority should be to keep its transportation services running regularly and without fares. The stability of funding the MBTA through income tax will help the organization with its debt and bud- get problems simultaneously. The MBTA will simply rely on the state government in a different, singular way.

Talking Points

The Commonwealth has burdened the MBTA with debt, primarily from the ex- pensive Big Dig, and has a responsibility to support the only form of public trans- portation in the state.

Sales tax revenue has not reached its projected growth, which has strained the MBTA’s growing budget.

Eliminating fares would allow the most economically disadvantaged residents of the state to find jobs, keep jobs, and sup- port local businesses.

The main advantage of this policy is to grant free public transportation

to everyone within the MBTA’s ser- vice areas. Fare-free transportation would provide for the economically disadvantaged who might not be able to use the MBTA because of the expense and looming fare increases. The alternative of waiving fares or offering discounts for low-

income individuals is only another bureaucratic hoop for those disadvantaged people, and loses the stability of the state income tax.

Of particular significance, those unemployed in areas provided by MBTA transporta- tion would have an easier time finding jobs, consequently increasing productivity for the state. Simultaneously, the universal incentive to use public transportation will also decrease the number of drivers and, thus, carbon emissions.


1. Doug Howgate, Nicholas Jenny, and Noah Berger, “Understanding Our Tax System: A Primer for Active Citizens.” Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center: MassBudget (2009).


2. “Expense,” Help Fill the MBTA’s Deficit Hole,

3. American Public Transportation Association, “The Benefits of Public Transportation: An Overview,” Public Transportation Takes Us There. asp.

4. “Expense,” Help Fill the MBTA’s Deficit Hole.

5. Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, “FY 2011 Operating Budget Summary,” MBTA. http://www.mbta.


6. American Public Transportation Association, “The Benefits of Public Transportation: An Overview,” Public Transportation Takes Us There.

7. Doug Howgate et all, “Understanding Our Tax System: A Primer for Active Citizen.”


Broadening Opportunity to Litigate Through Champerty

Daniel Rosenblum, Tufts University

States should broaden their recognition of independent 3rd-party lawsuit financing to give low-income clients access to a fair trial.

“Champerty” is the practice of a third party sponsoring a lawsuit, or “buying into” a suit in which it has no bona fide interest. The third party and the client enter into a contractual arrangement whereby the champertor agrees to fund the case in exchange for repayment (usually with interest) and a part of the trial’s awards. The client has no obligation to repay if the lawsuit fails.

The ability to sue for damages is important for en-

forcing rights and deterring rights violations. For example, if an employer discriminates on the basis

of race, we rely on individuals to bring suit. With-

out sufficient resources to pose a credible threat, these individuals risk being strong-armed by wealthy corporations with expensive legal teams. The economically disadvantaged might also feel pressured to accept settlements that are signifi-

cantly lower than they might have earned had they more bargaining power. A well-implemented recognition of champerty can arm clients with the resources to choose representation beyond what

is offered pro bono, and stand up for their rights in court.

Key Facts

Even with widely available pro- bono representation, the legal needs of the poor aren’t fully met. Of lawyers who cannot freely offer their services, 69% cite lack of time as their prima- ry discouragement. 1

Other lawyers (15%) cite em- ployer-related issues, such as billable hours requirements. 2

Although some states recognize certain champertous agreements to varying degrees, most do not; champerty has been illegal through common law since the Middle Ages. 3 Some states forbid champerty, but define the practice very narrowly so that lawsuit

financing is allowable for certain cases. For example, in Florida and North Dakota, law- suit financing qualifies as champerty if the third party is an “officious intermeddler,” guiding the suit in a desired direction. In New Hampshire, the courts will not enforce

a champertous contract if it finds the suit to be purchased in order to create “litigious

strife.” Massachusetts and South Carolina abandoned their general champerty restric- tions, but reserve the right to strike down a champertous agreement if it violates the standard of “unconscionability, duress, and good faith” in the eyes of the court. 4 Even

where champerty is recognized, it is severely underused because of legal ambiguity. 5


A well-designed policy can help mitigate the typical concerns with champerty. First,

there must be provisions that ensure the disclosure of terms and require legal counsel to be present before any agreement is made. Instead of treating champerty funds as “investments,” we should treat them like loans and hold them to usury laws—preventing exorbitant, predatory interest rates. Additionally, there should be a licensing system for


champertors to help ensure that investments are made in good faith. Finally, champer- tors should also be prohibited from requesting information that would be protected by the attorney-client privilege.

A main concern surrounding champerty is the possibility of a conflict of interest be-

tween the client and the investor. However, attorneys who take cases on contingency

have a similar stake in the outcome: they only get the contingent fee (usually a percent

of the client’s net recovery) if they win or settle favorably. Such lawyers are de facto

champertors; the ethical rules established by bar associations that regulate contingen-

cy fees should be adopted for the broader practice of champerty. 6 To further protect

the independence of the client and attorney from third party influence, champertors should not be able to withdraw their investment except under limited circumstances (e.g. the client withheld important unprivileged information from the investor). This way, the financier cannot coerce legal decisions by threatening to withdraw funding.

Finally, in order to ensure that cases are being “sold” at fair prices, the state should regulate an auction market among interested investors. An initial bid price should be set by an independent panel of legal experts familiar with likely awards and settlements. Litigants then have the op- tion of selling their case to the lowest bidder. 7

talking points

The ability to pursue a lawsuit is an important re- course against rights infringements and illegal con- duct. However, there are high barriers for low-income individuals due to prohibitive court costs.

Independent investors can help finance lawsuits, giv- ing those who would not otherwise be able to afford a lawsuit the opportunity to defend their rights—even against significantly wealthier opponents.

Typical concerns surrounding the practice of cham- perty (e.g. conflict of interest) can be mitigated or eliminated through policy design.

Next Steps States should individually expand champerty through legislative action. In states where some champertous contracts are enforceable, its proper uses are unclear. If the legiti- macy of champerty continues to be decided by the courts on an ad hoc basis, financiers will be deterred from investing. In order for this to change, champerty must have clear rules and regulations articulated by the legislature. Ideally, this is accomplished first by individual states for experimentation. This would allow policies to be tailored in order to reflect the judicial needs and temperament of each state. If there are consistent trends in the effectiveness of certain implementations, these can be later adopted for federal use.


1. The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, “Supporting justice: A report on the pro bono work of America’s lawyers.” American Bar Association, (2005), 5. Ibid., 1309.

2. Ibid., 5.

3. Damon Leichty and Eric Thomason, “Investing in lawsuits: “litigation financing” and the consumer pro- tection imperative” (Washington Legal Foundation Working Paper Series, 2009), 6.

4. Ibid., 9-10.

5. Paul Bond, “Making champerty work: An invitation to state action.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review, (2002), 1304.

6. Ibid., 1309.

7. Ibid., 1316.


Incorporating Open Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, & Transgenders into the United States Military

Jenna Edzant and Amreen Rahman, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the United States Armed Forces and establish a non- discrimination policy specifically geared towards sexual minorities.

In 1994, President Clinton issued the National Defense Authorization Act, which set forth the current military position on openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual ser- vicepersons in the United States Armed Forces. The unofficial title of Section 571 of the executive order came to be known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” or DADT. President Clinton intended DADT to be a compromise with the military’s strict ban on sexual minorities in the armed forces. In its most basic form, DADT declares that any servicep- erson who is not exclusively heterosexual cannot reveal his sexual orientation. If he or she does, he is subject to dismissal. The rationale behind the DADT policy is that openly homosexual servicepeople in active duty would be detrimental to unit cohesion and general military effectiveness. 1

Key Facts

73% of surveyed military personnel are at ease with lesbians and gays. 2

25% of surveyed U.S. troops who served in either Afghanistan or Iraq personally know a member of their unit who is gay. 3

75% of Americans are in support of gays serving openly - up from just 44% in 1993. 4

Analysis Since the enactment of the policy, over 13,000 troops have been discharged. As the national movement for LGBT rights has begun to amass more support, the dis- criminatory nature of DADT has become a societal issue. 5 Since 1994, numerous em- pirical studies have examined the effect that open servicepersons have on unit co-

hesion and military readiness. In one study completed through the Palm Center at the University of California Santa Barbara, re- searchers shadowed multinational military units with openly gay members and officers; they observed no decrease in military cohesion or readiness. Aside from such studies disproving the justifications behind DADT, one of the most potent examples occurred during the first Gulf War. 6 During this war, the ban barring LGBTs from military service was temporarily suspended and resulted in undisturbed unit cohesion and readiness during the conflict.In fact, many military researchers believe that the troops that par- ticipated in the conflict had the highest amount of cohesion and camaraderie when compared to troops in other military conflicts. Furthermore, as of June 2009, 25 inter- national militaries allow the service of openly LGBT persons; places include the United Kingdom, France, Israel, and South Africa. 7

Aside from violating civil rights and heralding blatant employee discrimination, the cur- rent policy is fiscally irresponsible. The Blue Ribbon Commission reported the follow- ing financial costs accrued as a result of DADT: $14.3 million for travel expenses once servicepersons were discharged, $17.8 million for training new officers, $252.4 million for training enlistees, and finally $79.3 million for recruiting costs to replace discharged troops. 8


Next Steps Due to the growing movement opposing DADT within American society, issuing an ex- ecutive order to dissolve DADT would be the first step towards permanently removing discrimination against sexual minorities in the Armed Forces. But repeal alone is not enough; permanent elimination of the discriminatory policy requires resolute action by Congress. Current legislation, like the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, calls for a repeal of DADT coupled with a policy of non discrimination. Still, in order to achieve comprehensive integration of people with all sexual orientations, more decisive steps must be taken. 9

Talking Points

DADT hinders recruitment and retention of personnel which in turn directly affects military effectiveness and cohesion.

Sweeping reform integrating LGBTs into the military must include a mechanism to prevent rollback of the new policy.

The military is often a microcosm of civil soci- ety. In order to guarantee equal rights for LG- BTs reform in the Armed Forces is essential.

In the past, the military has been at the forefront of advocating for so- cial integration, allowing minorities to serve in the military during an era of legalized segregation. In order to follow their own model, initial steps must be taken to integrate sexual minorities. Full integration could be accomplished by allowing incor-

poration of LGBTs into all branches of the armed forces. Specific pro- tocols and plans for integration would be crafted in accordance to the needs of each specific branch. Monitoring and evaluation committees would be essential in assessing such sweeping reform. The issue of sexual minorities in the Armed Forces has been left vulnerable to the ideologies of changing administrations. In order to establish the per- manency of this policy, a provision should be implemented to prevent rollback of this policy by new administrations. This policy should emphasize a universal code of con- duct and expectations of behavior, as opposed to a policy of sensitivity and tolerance training, in order to decrease resistance and resentment. This multi-pronged approach to both eliminate a discriminatory act and create a new, positive policy that emphasizes integration is essential for the promotion of LGBT rights and equal rights in general. If this policy is implemented, the military can once again stand at the forefront of toler- ance, setting a standard that civil society can hopefully model.


1. Belkin, Aaron, Nathaniel Frank, Gregory M. Herek, Elizabeth L. Hillman, Diane H. Mazur, and Bridget J. Wilson. 2009. “How to End “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: A Roadmap of Political, Legal, Regulatory, and Organizational Steps to Equal Treatment.” Uni- versity of California, Santa Barbara: Palm Center. Gay%20Troops%20-%20final.pdf (accessed Jan. 2, 2010)

2. Zogby International, “Opinions of Military Personnel on Gays in the Military”(2006). Final.pdf. (accessed February 1, 2010).

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Service Members Legal Defense Network, 2008. (accessed Jan. 1, 2010).

6. Geoffrey Bateman and Sameera Dalvi. “Multinational Military Units and Homosexual Personnel.” Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities: University of California, Santa Barbara. (accessed Nov. 11, 2009).

7. “Countries that Allow Military Service by Openly Gay People.” Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities: University of Califor- nia, Santa Barbara. (accessed Nov. 11, 2009).

8. Blue Ribbon Comission, “Financial Analysis of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: How Much Does the Gay Ban Cost?”(2006), http://www. (accessed February 1, 2010).

9. Bernard D. Rostker, et al, “Sexual Orientation and U. S. Military Personnel Policy: Options and Assessment.” Santa Monica:

RAND Corporation, 1993. (accessed Jan. 2, 2010).


Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones for New York State

Philip Verma, Columbia University

New York should create buffer zones around medical facilities that perform abor- tions in order to reduce violent confrontations at these sites.

Although they are legally protected, women seeking access to abortion are frequently obstructed by protestors who claim protection under the First Amendment. Protestors have blocked clinic entrances and aggressively harassed patients and staff, sometimes leading to violent confrontations. 1 The New York State legislature should implement buffer zones around clinic entrances and patients to reduce violence and protect pa- tients’ rights.

Abortion clinics are feder- ally protected under the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), which prohibits threats and violence against individuals obtaining or providing reproductive ser- vices. 5 Although FACE has been generally effective, events like

the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller demonstrate that more must be done. New York should create buffer zones around facility entrances wherein certain acts of protest are restricted. As of 2010, a similar policy has been enacted in three states: Massachusetts, Montana, and Colorado, as well as in a number of cities,

including New York. 6 Regulations include fixed buffers around clinic entrances and floating buffers around individuals seeking to enter.

Key Facts

Since 1977, there have been 6,143 incidents of violence nationwide against abortion providers, including eight murders. There have been 156,961 incidents of disruption, and 763 incidents of clinic blockades. 2

Three states and a number of cities nationwide al- ready have buffer zones around abortion clinics. 3

60% of New York counties have abortion facilities, which is more than many other states. 4

Statewide, New York should implement both types of buffers, following the legal pa- rameters accepted by the Supreme Court in Hill v. Colorado (2000). Colorado’s stat- ute created an eight-foot buffer around patients within a 100-foot radius of a medical facility entrance, successfully balancing concerns about safety and free speech. The restriction on protestors’ speech limited the place and manner of communication, not the content of their message. The statute pertained to all medical facilities, including abortion alternative clinics, and was therefore relatively content-neutral. Finally, it only affected intentional approach; if a patient voluntarily came within eight feet of a sta- tionary protestor, the protestor was not punished. 7

Analysis There is legal precedent for limiting free speech to prevent violence. Conflicts at poll- ing places, government offices, and labor strike locations prompted restrictions on cam- paigning and protesting at those sites. The buffer for polling places, for example, is 100 feet, far greater than the 36-foot clinic buffer in Montana. 8 It is in the state’s interest to


protect individuals seeking or providing abortions from violence, as elaborated in Roe v. Wade and the Tenth Amendment, and New York is already bound by FACE to police and prosecute offenders. Furthermore, the state’s three largest cities—New York, Buf- falo, and Rochester—have already enacted buffer zone legislation around clinics. 9, 10


Patients, doctors, and medical workers would be positively affected by this law, and anti-abortion protesters would be protected from aggression directed against them. Decreases in violence would also benefit police

forces charged with containing clinic confronta- tions.

Talking Points

Patients, chaperones, and work- ers at abortion facilities are fre- quently harassed and blocked from entering the premises.

Buffer zones reduce violence by creating an eight-foot space be- tween protestors and patients within 100 feet of the building entrance.

These physical specifications were upheld by the Supreme Court in Hill v. Colorado (2000).

Next Steps The New York Assembly and Senate should work with local governments and police forces to create and monitor buffer zones. For the first five years after implementation, data should be gathered about violation and enforcement rates in the state. Anti-abortion groups have expressed concern that their supporters will stop protesting altogether, due to a fear of pros- ecution. 11 Free-speech and pro-choice groups should work with these groups to let them know what actions remain within their rights.


1. David L. Hudson, “Abortion Protests and Buffer Zones,” First Amendment Center, http://www.firsta-

2. “Violence and Disruption Statistics, National Abortion Federation, search/publications/downloads/about_abortion/violence_stats.pdf

3. State Policies in Brief.” Guttmacher Institute, pdf.

4. “State Facts about Abortion: New York,” Guttmacher Institute, pdf/new_york.pdf.

5. Hudson, “Abortion Protests and Buffer Zones.”

6. “State Policies in Brief,” Guttmacher Institute, pdf.

7. Hudson, “Abortion Protests and Buffer Zones.”

8. Rachel Entmann, “Picket Fences: Analyzing the Court’s Treatment of Restrictions on Polling, Abortion, and Labor Picketers,” Georgetown Law Review 9, no 8 (August 2002): 2583, 2588.

9. Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York 519 U.S. 357, 117 S.Ct. 855 (1997).

10. “Clinic Access Bill Passes,” NARAL Pro-Choice New York. caccess.shtml. 11.“New Chicago ordinance targets 40 Days for Life, tramples pro-life Americans’ free speech rights,” 40 Days for Life,


Demand-Side Enforcement:

Reforming Prostitution Law

Otilia Enica and Kelsey Jost-Creegan University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

North Carolina should adopt prostitution laws that distinguish between the roles of the accused, with higher penalties for purchasing than for selling and increased protection for victims of sex trafficking and exploitation.

Chapter 14, Article 27 of the North Carolina General Statues defines the crime of pros- titution as “the offering or receiving of the body for sexual intercourse for hire.” This law conflates clients and pimps with prostitutes themselves. The law does outline varying offenses, but the differing severity among these subcategories has no bearing in deter- mining penalties; all crimes, regardless of subcategory, may be classed as a Class One Misdemeanor and carry a 1-3 year jail sentence. 1

Analysis Our preliminary research consisted of analyses of charges brought under

the NC statutes. Data collected from

a sample of NC police reports filed

under Article 27 reveals that the im- plementation of the NC regulations on prostitution results in discrimi- nation against women. Overall, the

number of females arrested (56) was significantly higher than males (28). In addition, the subcategory under which the charge was filed varied according to the gender of the accused. 5 Research also reveals that law enforcement lacks awareness of the differences between sex trafficking and prostitution. The combination of discrimi- natory laws and ignorance may lead to unjust treatment of victims of trafficking.

Key Facts

It is estimated that 14, 500 – 17, 500 foreign- ers are trafficked into the U.S. annually. 2

293,000 children are considered at risk of child sexual exploitation in the U.S. 3

Average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is 12-14 years old, well below the age of consent. 4

To protect victims of trafficking and diminish discrimination, changes must be made. Definitions of specific industry terms - e.g. “john,” “call-girl” - and information about trafficking should be included in the law. The inclusion of this vocabulary is essential so that law enforcement is aware of correct and unambiguous definitions. Clarification of terms should be followed by increased emphasis on law enforcement education; NC recently made training about trafficking mandatory for new cadets and optional for an- nual renewal training. While these are positive steps, the latter should be mandatory. Penalties should be stratified according to charge subcategory. Relationships between prostitutes and clients or pimps are inherently exploitative. Women are often forced into prostitution or may initially choose to participate, but ultimately become trapped. Thus, acting as the john and the pimp should be considered more serious crimes and result in harsher penalties. The law should focus on eliminating demand, providing legal protection for victims of trafficking. The aforementioned changes have their foundation

in domestic and international law. Domestically, the Illinois End Demand movement ex-


emplifies proactive solutions for prostitution, and can provide a model for reform. End Demand compiles research on domestic and international laws to establish best prac- tices and develop effective legislation focused on targeting demand regionally. 6

Movements to address prostitution from the demand side are gaining support around the world. In 1999, the Swedish Parliament legalized solicitation, but not the purchase of prostitution. The government considered this reform central to its moral obligation to fight gender inequality. Follow-up research suggests that prostitution and sex traffick- ing in Sweden have declined; implementation of this legislation supplies a case study to support efforts to combat trafficking by targeting demand. 7

Next Steps NC prostitution laws need to be re- formed to penalize the demand-side of prostitution and ensure legal protection for victims of sex trafficking. Clear defini- tions of crimes associated with prostitu- tion must be provided in state law, along with harsher penalties imposed upon those who manage and purchase prosti- tutes. Penalties should be lessened, and eventually eliminated, for prostitutes

themselves, and law enforcement must undergo mandatory human trafficking training. Such reforms, which are supported by movements and research domestically and abroad, would decrease prostitution overall and ensure that trafficking victims are not treated as criminals.

Talking Points

Provide clarification of terms in the law.

Include information about trafficking in NC legislation.

Make trafficking workshops in law en- forcement re-training mandatory.

Increase penalties for purchase and man- agement of prostitutes while decreasing penalties for solicitation.

Ultimately, eliminate penalties for sale in favor of harsher penalties for purchase.


1. State of North Carolina. “Chapter 14: Criminal Law, Subchapter I.” General Provisions, North Caro- lina General Statutes. Chapter_14.html (Accessed April 23, 2010).

2. Fact 1: Polaris Project, “Human Trafficking Statistics.” Trafficking-Statistics.pdf (accessed May 12, 2010).

3. Fact 2: Child Exploitation And Obscenity, “Child Prostitution: Domestic Sex Trafficking of Minors.” U.S. Department of Justice. (accessed May 12,


4. Fact 3: Richard J. Estes and Neil A. Weiner, “The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.” The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work: 2001.

5. Tarheels Impacting Policy,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

6. End Demand, “End Demand Illinois,” Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. http://www.endde- (accessed April 23, 2010).

7. Gunilla Ekberg, “The Swedish Law that Prohibits the Purchase of Sexual Services,” Violence Against Women 10 (2004): 1187.


The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College

Ryan Hunter, American University

The Electoral College is an archaic institution that is incompatible with the demo- cratic values of the twenty-first century; abolishing it would result in presidential elections that would reflect the true will of the nation’s citizens, like all other U.S. elections.

The Electoral College elects Presidents of the United States. 1 Each state has a mini- mum of three electors, since the number of a state’s electors is the same as the num- ber of members the state elects to Congress. The legislatures of each state are free to choose their electors in the manner they see fit, but sitting members of Congress cannot serve as electors. Electors are not constrained to vote based on the will of the state’s voters. 2

Key Facts

The Electoral College allows a presiden- tial candidate to win when another can- didate may have received more votes from the American people (this has hap- pened four times: in 1824, 1876, 1888, and


Lack of transparency: The Constitution does not specify that states must make the list of electors available to the public or how they should choose electors. 3

European republics such as France have runoffs to ensure that a presidential candidate wins a majority of the votes. These more democratic countries have much higher voter turnouts in general elections than in the U.S.

Small states are overrepresented by the Electoral College: in 1988, for example, the combined voting age population of the seven least populous states carried the same voting strength in the Electoral College (21 Electoral votes) as the state of Florida. 4

Analysis The College is an outdated method for electing the President of a democratic nation. Implemented in a time when most people in the United States were illiterate and regional sectionalism was a threat to national unity, the writers of the Constitution did not trust ordinary citizens to vote without bias. The Found- ers also doubted that most citizens would be informed enough about the merits of each candidate to vote responsibly.

The paternalistic nature of the College contradicts the democratic ideals embod- ied in the Declaration of Independence. This document contends that although “governments should not be changed for light and transient causes,” often people “are more disposed to suffer evils than to right themselves by abolishing the forms

to which they are accustomed.” The Col- lege has become an instrument of gov- ernment that is “destructive of these ends,” and “it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.” 5 Proportionally, the College drastically under-represents voters in larger states. Majority groups in small states are incentivized to discourage the minority from participating in an election.

The College allows each state legislature to appoint its electors. There are no uniform checks on partisan bias in this process, nor is there anything that prevents dishonest deals from taking place. Electors in fact are often former governors, retired congres- sional representatives, state party chairs, legislators or administrative officials. 6 The


Electoral College has no place in modern America. When the College mirrors the popu- lar will, it is unnecessary; when the electors disregard the popular vote, the College circumvents democracy. Since we base our system of government on the principle of sovereignty of the people, the Electoral College clearly violates this principle. 7 Such an unjust system should not continue.

Next Steps Article V of the Constitution holds that in order for an amendment to be proposed, two-thirds of the total members of Con- gress must agree to its introduction, or two-thirds of the state legislatures must agree to a national convention. Since members of state legislatures have a clear interest in retaining the College, such an amendment to abolish it would likely find little support. 8 Nevertheless, public pressure should be applied in the form of grassroots organizing. Citizens should write to their members of Congress urg- ing them to introduce an amendment to abolish the College. If members of Con- gress are not persuaded, citizens should vote their congressional representatives out of office.


Talking Points

Electoral College defenders argue that it encourages third-party movements to assimilate into one of the two main par- ties. On the contrary, this system allows the main parties to ignore third party op- position. 9

No uniform laws prevent “faithless” elec- tors from disregarding the popular vote.

Ordinary citizens in the states do not get to choose electors.

Even if a candidate wins a large percent- age of the national popular vote, if his or her votes are spread throughout the states, he or she could lose to someone who takes less of the popular vote but amasses more support in the College. 10

1. U.S. Constitution. Art. II, sec. 2.

2. William C. Kimberling, “The Electoral College.” US Election Atlas. 2008. Jackson County, MO Elec- tion Board. 2008.“ php””

3. U.S Constitution.

4. William C. Kimberling, “The Electoral College.”

5. Charles C. Tansill. “Declaration of Independence.” The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy. 2008. Lillian Goldman Law Library. Yale Law School. 2008. “


6. Richard E. Berg-Andersson. “The Green Papers: 2008 General Election.” “Duly Appointed Presiden- tial Electors.” 2008. The Green Papers. 2008. “ phtml”

7. William C. Kimberling, “The Electoral College.”

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.


Automatic Absentee Voting

Aditya Mukerjee, Columbia University

Youth voter turnout and civic awareness can be increased by allowing voters to place a standing request for an absentee ballot during voter registration.

In the past decade, New Yorkers aged 18-25 were 17% less likely than older citizens to vote in presidential and midterm elections. 1 This gap reflects several factors, such as a more transient age group or lack of civic awareness. These issues are addressed in part by providing automatic, no-excuse absentee voting as an option on voter registration forms.

New York provides a three-week window for absentee ballot requests. Youth at- tending college in another state or who do not keep track of election dates may miss this window, especially for local and spe- cial elections. Absentee ballots are only granted for a few specific reasons, such as absence from the polling district. Citizens who do not fall under one of the predefined categories must vote at the polling location on Election Day. Most citizens who do not plan on being out of town on Election Day

are not permitted to receive a ballot in the mail. Automatic, no-excuse absentee voting functions as a long-term standing request for an absentee ballot. However, citizens would not need to fulfill the current criteria for absentee voting.

Key Facts

Washington State, which allows au- tomatic absentee voting, has youth voter turnout 5% higher than the na- tional average. 2

Youth voting turnout in Oregon, which holds all elections by mail, is 8% high- er than the national average. 3

Youth voting turnout in New York, which requires individual requests for absentee ballots and does not al- low no-excuse absentee voting, is 2% lower than the national average. 4

Washington State has implemented this program. Voters may request absentee ballots for all future elections during registration, with no additional requirements. Due to the popularity of this program, several counties conduct their elections solely through the mail, though state law still allows in-person voting. Youth turnout in Washington is 5% higher than the national average. 5 In Oregon, all elections are conducted by mail, and youth turnout is 8% higher than the national average. 6

Analysis Young voters may fail to vote in elections because they miss the absentee ballot re- quest period, are unaware of upcoming elections, or are unable to go to the polls. These problems particularly apply to local and special elections, which generate less press coverage, and to students who attend college out-of-state. By requesting an ab- sentee ballot for all future elections, youth are notified of every election. In addition, they may research candidates’ platforms before voting, decreasing blind, uninformed voting.

When Oregon implemented “mail-only” voting, the costs of running elections decreased by 20%, because counties no longer had to maintain polling stations on Election Day. 7


In the 2000 primary election, the first presidential primary after the switch, the cost of the election was $583,791 less than the estimated $3,396,272. 8 If this program achieves sufficient popularity, the number of polling locations may be reduced,

lowering the cost of holding elec- tions.

Talking Points

Receiving ballots in the mail ensures that a voter is less likely to forget upcoming election dates or miss absentee ballot request periods.

Implementing automatic, no-excuse absentee voting reduces the cost of elections by up to 20%. 9

Voters enrolled in a no-excuse automatic ab- sentee ballot program are less likely to see un- familiar names on the ballot, as they have the opportunity to research all candidates before mailing the ballot.

Next steps Implementation requires a two- part bill. The special requirements for requesting an absentee ballot should be eliminated, so that any registered voter is able to vote by absentee ballot for any elec- tion. Also, voter registration forms should be amended to include the option of requesting an absentee ballot for all future elections.


1. Carrie Donovan, Mark Hugo Lopez, and Jared Sagoff, “Youth Voter Turnout in the States during the 2004 Presidential and 2002 Midterm Elections”. July 2005, 3.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. FairVote. “Vote By Mail”. <> April 26, 2010

5. Carrie Donovan, et all. “Youth Voter Turnout in the States during the 2004 Presidential and 2002 Mid- term Elections”.

6. Ibid.

7. FairVote. “Vote By Mail”.

8. Common Cause. “Getting it Straight for 2008.” Common Cause, 2008. Print. 6.

9. Carrie Donovan, et all. “Youth Voter Turnout in the States during the 2004 Presidential and 2002 Mid- term Elections”.


Automatic Enrollment in Illinois Re-Entry Programs

John Haak, Benjamin Sanders, and Jamie Weil, Northwestern University

Illinois prisoners should be automatically enrolled in re-entry programs upon release in order to increase participation in these programs and reduce recidivism rates.

Adult prisoner recidivism rates in Illinois are 51.8 percent, as of the most recent count, meaning that over 20,000 of the adults released from Illinois prisons each year will return to correctional facilities at some point. 1 Not only is this a burden on the community, it is a burden on Illinois’s budget; the an- nual cost to the state of incarcer-

ating just one prisoner is $23,394. 2

A recent survey found that one

year after release, only 24 percent

of ex-convicts were employed full

time. 3 In order to lessen the bud- get strain, programs that help prisoners re-enter society should be expanded. If pris- oners are automatically enrolled in re-entry programs, with the option of opting-out, then more will enroll and recidivism rates may begin to decrease. Adult prisoners will re-enter society with fewer problems than those who did not participate in a program, and will be able to obtain jobs more easily and sustain themselves. Since recidivism rates are lower for prisoners who participated in programs, the State of Illinois will ulti- mately spend significantly less money on detention centers.

Key Facts

In 2003 adult recidivism in the state of Illinois was at a rate of 54.4%, in 2004 it was at rate of 54.6%, and in 2005 it was at a rate of 51.8%. 4

Recidivism rates are substantially lower among individuals who enter re-entry programs after exiting prison.

Among graduates of the Sheridan program (an Il- linois based reentry program) within its first two years, recidivism rates were nearly 40% lower. 5

Annual costs per prisoner in Adult Transitional Centers (ATC) range from $18,245 to $44,725. 6

•Annual costs per prisoner in Adult Correctional Facilities range from $16,321 to $64, 116. 7

Analysis There are a host of barriers that stand in the way of effective implementation. The first and most formidable is the availability of reentry programs. With the thousands of people reentering society, it is one thing to have them signed up for a program, but it is another thing completely to make sure quality programming is available. The answer


any lack of programming cannot be wait lists, as this essentially negates the benefits


a reentry-training program. The real solution to a dearth in reentry program avail-

ability is to find a model program and provide funding for the creation of new ones and expansion of the existing ones. Rather than providing felons with the information

about programs in their area, any person leaving prison will have to sign a form so as

to not be automatically enrolled in the program nearest to where they are moving. As

these programs already have a process for enrolling, one will not have to be created. The state will simply have to become the actor in the sign up process. This should be simple, fast, and inexpensive.


Stakeholders This policy would benefit ex-con- victs who cannot find work and revert to crime after release from prison. It will also benefit residents of neighborhoods that are heav- ily populated with ex-prisoners because crime will decrease once prisoners are readjusted to society. Lastly, Adult Transitional Centers (ATCs) will benefit from increased usage.

Talking Points

Adult prisoner recidivism rates are up to 40% lower for graduates of re-entry programs. 8

Re-entry programs will help increase employ- ment rates among ex-convicts.

Although some ATCs may be more costly to the state than prison annually time spent in an ATC is shorter than in a prison (24 months is a common maximum for ATC stays), so long- term costs decrease.

One year after release, only 24% of ex-con- victs reported being employed full time. 9

Next Steps Illinois State Legislature should work to implement the policy of opt-out re-entry pro- grams. To do so, public and private ATCs must be expanded to accommodate more prisoners. Also, funding should be reallocated to ATCs. The state must become a facilitator in the sign-up process to enroll all prisoners.


1. Community Safety and Reentry Working Group, “Inside Out: A Plan to Reduce Recidivism and Improve Public Safety,” by Jesse Jackson and Kevin Lyons, 2006, < ports/other/Governor’s%20%20Reentry%20Commission%20Report%20FINAL.pdf> (25 April 2010).

2. Michael P. Randle. “IDOC Financial Impact Statement,” 2008, < reports/financial_impact_statements/Financial%20Impact%20Statement-FY2008.0001.pdf> (25 April


3. Vera Kachnowski. “Returning Home Illinois Policy Brief: Employment and Prisoner Reentry,” Urban Institute and Justice Policy Center, August 2005.

4. Community Safety, “Inside Out: A Plan to Reduce Recidivisim and Improve Public Safety.”

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Vera Kachnowski. “Returning Home Illinois Policy Brief: Employment and Prisoner Reentry,”.


Correcting the Inequality in FIFA Decision Making and Hosting the World Cup

Brian Bartle, Michigan State University

The current structure of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and its World Cup criteria places a disproportionate amount of power within the FIFA presidency and wealthy nations who host the World Cup, reinforcing European and South American dominance as well as the organization’s capitalist interests.

Fédération Internationale de Football Associa- tion (FIFA) was established as a governing body to promote and standardize football across the globe. Yet FIFA now “governs a global business comprising ‘shifting alliances of marketing com- panies, media networks, multinational corpo- rations and opportunist technocrats.’” 5 These commercial interests have seeped into the World Cup and its selection process, leading to an in- crease in infrastructure and technology require- ments for host countries that inherently favors wealthier nations. FIFA needs to increase demo- cratic consolidation in the organization’s govern- ing body and provide financial aid to countries hosting the World Cup, generating more equality within the organization and shielding FIFA’s deci- sion making from commercial interests.

Key Facts

FIFA generates around $250 billion USD annually, making it larger than General Motors, and employs 200 million workers. 1

FIFA garners 94-97% of their revenues from the World Cup by selling marketing rights like broadcasting rights. 2,3

Africa and Asia represent the largest potential markets for FIFA. Television broadcasting rights revenues in Asia and North Africa from 86 million USD in 2007 increased to 113,183,000 USD in 2008. 4

Analysis The first task in correcting the democratic deficiencies in FIFA is wrestling power away from the FIFA president to the FIFA congress. While FIFA has opened itself up beyond Europe and South America, in doing so it also consolidated power within the execu- tive to push through reforms. Now that FIFA has been restructured, there needs to be a push for further democratic consolidation within the organization, starting with the redistribution of power from the executive to the congressional body. A complimentary step to the redistribution of power within FIFA is an increase in transparency in the or- ganization. This combination of steps would create more accountability in the organiza- tion, especially in preventing commercial interests from holding disproportional weight in FIFA’s decision making.

FIFA also needs to restructure the hosting process of its most prized possession, the World Cup. As it stands now, the World Cup reinforces the power imbalance found in FIFA with the selection criteria favoring Europe and South America. With the in- frastructural, stadium, and technological criteria set by FIFA for countries to host the World Cup, the selection process is drastically impartial toward European countries. Even though South Africa and Mexico were formerly selected to host World Cups, the infrastructural and other expenditures left lasting financial burdens. South Africa is a


prime example of a country burdened with financial hardship after hosting the World Cup in Cape Town. Cape Town chose to have its World Cup venue in the township of Athlone to promote more development in the impoverished community. FIFA decided that Athlone did not provide the aesthetic qualities that are desirable for commercial inter- ests. FIFA then forced Cape Town to settle on a new stadium in Green Point. Though the decision improved the mar- ketability of Cape Town and the World Cup, it sacrificed Athlone’s develop-

ment potential. Furthermore, the new stadium has held no other games since the World Cup and is estimated to be a R10-R12 million South African Rand annual financial burden on South Africa. 6 To promote equality in hosting the World Cup, FIFA should allocate a portion of World Cup revenues to offset the technological, infrastruc- tural and stadium costs that deter most countries from hosting the event. 7

Talking Points

FIFA’s decision making power primarily re- sides in the presidency over the congress creating a democratic deficiency.

Even with increasing technological and in- frastructural criteria for hosting the World Cup, FIFA offers no financial assistance to hosting countries, creating a situation that favors wealthier candidates.

Increasing the power of the FIFA congress and granting financial assistance to host nations would ameliorate FIFA’s demo- cratic deficiency and impartiality in the World Cup selection process.

Next Steps Through the restructuring of FIFA’s governing body, it is up to the Confédération Afric- aine de Football (African Football Confederation or CAP) and the Asian Football Con- federation, with their large representation in FIFA’s governing body, to further equality in the organization. The CAP alone represents almost a quarter of FIFA’s governing body and with its renewed prominence in FIFA they have the most to gain , along with AFC, and the most to lose in regards to increased equality in the organization if FIFA does not restructure. Increased democratic consolidation and transparency within FIFA, pushed by the CAF and the AFC, is the first stop in alleviating major structural issues within FIFA. This should be followed in orchestrated precession with making the World Cup more accessible to be hosted by more countries. Still, these restructuring ideas are merely steps, not end goals, to the issue of global representation in FIFA. Like every international organization, FIFA too must constantly adapt to the ever-changing global dynamics as well as keeping up with the rapid evolution of the game of football.


1. Peter Alegi, “’Feel the Pull in Your Soul’: Local Agency and Global Trends in South Africa’s 2006 World Cup Bid.” Soccer and Society 2.3 (2001): 1-21.

2. Franco Carraro, “FIFA Financial Report 2008.” Rep. FIFA Congress, 17 Mar. 2009. Web. 11 May 2010. <>.

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.

5. Peter Alegi, African Studies 67.3 (2008).

6. Brown, Oliver. “South Africa’s Gem is In Danger of Losing its Luster.” The Daily Telegraph [London] 6 Oct. 2009.

7. Alegi, Peter. “’A Nation To Be Reckoned With’: The Politics of World Cup Stadium Construction in Cape Town and Durban, South Africa.” African Studies 67.3 (2008).

8. John Peter Sugden, “FIFA and the Contest for World football Who rules The People’s Game?” Cam- bridge, UK: Polity, Blackwell, 1998.


Roosevelt Review Preview:

Mixed-Member Proportional Representation - Fixing the “People’s House”

William Organek, Columbia University

Abstract As “the People’s House,” the US House of Representatives is supposed to be the most representative organ of the Federal government, matching the composition of the country more closely than any other branch, elected or appointed. Yet, our electoral system – the single-member district, first-past-the-post system (collectively known as the winner-take-all, or WTA, system), ensures that the House is incredibly unrepre- sentative, in almost every way imaginable. Voter turnout is low, incumbency rates are stratospheric, women and minorities have extremely difficult times getting elected, and voters are constantly placed in the difficult position of “sincere vs. sophisticated vot- ing,” where voters must choose lesser-of-two-evils candidates, or be forced to either waste their vote, or worse, vote for a spoiler candidate who in turn causes the election of the voter’s least-preferred candidate. Finally, our WTA system is the most direct cause of the two-party monopoly, which leaves entire parts of the ideological spectrum unrepresented, thus leaving many voters dissatisfied and apathetic, and contributing significantly to the low turnout rate in elections.

After a discussion of these issues, a form of proportional representation (PR) known as mixed-member proportional representation (MMP) is suggested as a way to remedy this situation. First, an explanation of how PR systems generally can remedy many of the problems associated with the WTA system is furnished, followed by an explanation of a major flaw of a pure PR system. Next, the MMP system is explained, as a compro- mise between the WTA and pure PR systems, which overcomes many of the problems of each. Finally, legal and institutional barriers to implementing an MMP system are discussed, and solutions are suggested for each.

To read more, visit for the full white paper, part of the forthcoming Roosevelt Review.