Somewhat like the famous comedian from the 1920’s and1930’s, Will Rogers, who so famously said, “All I know is what I read in the papers” and what I read tells me that public sector unions are bankrupting many of our cities (see almost any article about Detroit, Chicago or any large city) and that the number of voters who also happen to be employees of the government at all levels can swing elections by decisive margins. For evidence of this see almost any analysis of the recent gubernatorial election in Virginia.
If we want to reduce, or even eliminate, the undue influence of public sector unions on the selection and election of candidates for public office, why don’t we treat union members exactly the same way that we treat judges? After all, even members of the Supreme Court, who are, generally speaking, above reproach, will recuse themselves from deciding any case in which they might have a vested interest, or have been involved in any way with the parties to the dispute before them. The vast majority of people think that this is a pretty good system to insure fairness, and to remove any bias that might be involved if the jurist can’t ask themselves “What’s in it for me?”
So why not “recuse” ALL public employees from voting, making sure that public employee union members are included in that word “ALL”. They certainly have a vested interest in whether our taxes will be raised, whether the next school board will approve a raise for teachers, whether cops and firemen get lifetime pensions and medical care beginning as young as forty years old and so on … and on and on.
Voters act as jurists when they judge the merits of the candidates for election in the same way judges view the plaintiff and the defendant in a civil or criminal case.
Or at least they SHOULD judge the two sides impartially.
If a citizen feeds at the public trough, how reasonable is it to believe that they will ignore their own financial interests when they go in to the voting booth? If the desire to vote on the major issues of the day facing the nation (or the state, the county, the city, town, village, hamlet or school district) outweighs the desire for a cushy job with fantastic benefits and the ultimate in job security, then they should find a job in the private sector which would restore their right to vote.
Until then, recusal for government employees from their ability to vote seems the only option left.
How could such a recusal be enforced? Before each election, every government employee would have to submit a statement from the local Board of Elections that they have informed the BoE that they are government employees and the Board has to certify that the government employee has been removed by the BoE from the list of eligible voters. Absent such an acknowledgement from the Board of Elections, the government employee would no longer be able to receive a paycheck. And to quote our President, that statement would be followed by “Period!”