Need help voting (no, seriously)

Normally I avoid posting political threads, but I don’t have a choice now.

This Sunday (July 10th) Puerto Rico will hold a referendum for the purpose of voting on whether we want to shift from a two-part government system (that is, with a Senate and a House of Representatives, just like in the USA) to an Unicameral one, or remain the way things are.

The cause of this were the results of the last local election (held last November): For the first time in a long while, the government is split almost 50/50 between members of the PNP (The Pro-Statehood party) and the PPD (which favors the current status). The Senate is under the control of one and the House, of the other. As you can imagine, this has resulted into a lot of bills approved by one to be blocked out by the other, apparently out of political spite. Even the National Budget for the next four years hasn’t been approved yet! The Governor himself is so angry that he asked for a Referendum so people can decide if the system should be permanently changed.

Thus, my quandary: what to vote for? Yeah, a one-house system sounds like it would get things working faster… but the whole idea of the two-house system, I believe, was to provide a check-and-balance against possible abuse of power. I’m actually worried because this isn’t going to affect us just for the next few years, but for generations to come. (Thought I suspect that the results of the referendum, even if they approve the change, might take quite a while to get implemented, mired in political mud.)

I can make my mind on my own, I just need more data on the subject (I know this has been proposed at times in the USA too) not to mention opinions from people who aren’t biased by being from around here.

So: any pundits here got an opinion on the matter?

Follow your heart.

I’ve never understood the purpose for bicameral houses in states and US territories. Based on Georgia, our legislature has both a House of Reps and a Senate. However, the Senate serves no purpose. They’re up for election every two years, and their districts can be redrawn. Effectively, in Georgia, the Senate is just the House of Representatives with fewer members.

Bicameral legislatures have more of a purpose, in my opinion, when you’re dealing with two inherently different legislative beasts. The US has one to (ideally and originally) represent the states on one side and the people on the other. I also want a professional Georgia legislature, but that’s a different matter entirely.

So Wilf, how is the current Puerto Rican legislature set up? Does the Senate have fixed seats and districts that can’t be redrawn? Do senators serve for 6 years? Or, is the Puerto Rican Senate effectively only a HoR with fewer members? If it’s the latter, I honestly would vote to make the legislature unicameral.

However, there’s another way to look at it. I’m sure the Puerto Rican political pundits have analyzed the situation, and they’ve started predicting which party would come into power under the new legislative system. If you think only in the short term, would the party you support come into power? Would they be in the minority? Or would it be completely pointless and still have deadlock?

And damnit. Vote to become a state already! >:E

It depends. You’ve pretty much got to make up your mind according to the local situations, but it should be noted that while unicameral legislatures are great in that they’re fast and efficient they’re also a whole lot more likely to turn into mobocracies. What you’ve got to do is ask yourself if your politicians are responsible enough and if the other controls and balances are strong enough or if the risk is worth the reward sand vote accordingly.

While I am biased by having some of the most corrupt politicians ever seen on the face of the earth, the unicameral legislature is too utopic. There’s a reason for why the power is split in the first place: Focusing it into reduced numbers is dangerous.

Then again, I know nothing about your country or the urgency of the situation, maybe you guys can handle the unicameral system or just really need a faster procedure. These are just my two cents.

Just so you know, Wilf, one US state has a unicameral house. Nebraska. I mention that only because US states are the most apt comparison to Puerto Rico given its territorial status.

The US federal government has a house to represent people by the numbers, whereas the senate represents states, so it balances out the distribution of power so more populous states don’t get bullied by less populous ones while at the same time, states with a lot of people still carry a lot of clout.

Before getting rid of a bicameral system, you need to ask why you have one in the first place. Like 984 asked, is the senate nothing more than a mini HoR? What level of government are we looking at? You also have to watch out for imbalances in power. In this case, you want people to have power, but later in the future, will that be a good thing? There needs to be checks and balances.

Maybe this will help…

Taran: Thanks, but I was already reading it.

So far, the impression I’m getting is that it’s NOT the system that’s wrong. It’s been in place for decades and seems to work well. It’s the current generation of politicians who seem to care more about their parties than about doing their jobs.

I still need to decide if unicamerality will be the best thing for future generations…