The Electoral Reform Act, a bill that would send a constitutional amendment referendum to the districts on the reform on Panem’s electoral college system, has passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, reports say. The bill will now head to the President’s desk, where there is intense pressure for him to sign it so the districts may act in time for the next presidential election. The bill was championed by House Speaker Constantin Richelieu (Liberty Party-D14) and was cosponsored by many prominent Liberty and Conservative Party members, particularly Senators Alexandra West and Peeta Mellark and the Conservative leader on the House Leadership Committee, Jackson Canth.
The bill would bring forward a constitutional amendment that would amend the electoral system to perform a runoff system. The Electoral College would remain in place, but should there not be one candidate with a majority at the end of the contest, the top two contenders would advance to a second round where Panem citizens would choose between the two. Whoever receives the top amount of electoral votes in that competition would win the presidency. In the event of an Electoral College tie, the popular vote winner would win the presidency (this scenario, however, is considered to be unlikely.) The amendment would also put the same system in place for vice presidential elections, as they are similarly governed by the Electoral College.
The votes in the House and Senate were hotly debated between the coalition and the opposition. Liberty and Conservative Party members were mostly solid in their support, with only a few Conservatives breaking against the bill. However, not one member of a party that formed the opposition voted in support of the bill and there was a contentious effort to kill the bill entirely through a series of filibusters by opposition members. In fact, the bill was so intensely debated that a formal censure was handed down to Civic House leader Georgia Landon after she directed her comments at Conservative House leader Jackson Canth, alleging that Canth was “disenfranchising not only his constituents that elected him, but also all of Panem’s political minorities,” going as far as to say that he is a “liar, traitor, and treasonous poison that doesn’t belong in public service.” Direct comments are highly discouraged in the House, but do not require punishment unless the attack is out of line with public decency. However, one censure wasn’t all that Landon received- she actually received a second censure as well for later actions during one of Liberty House leader Miranda O’Neal’s addresses to the House directly prior to the vote on the bill. O’Neal noted that the bill was a “landmark bill for Panem, and will prevent the catastrophe of divisive elections from occurring again in our lifetime.” Landon then stood up and shouted at O’Neal, saying that “Liberty is a direct reason that divisive elections occur” and that “Representative O’Neal is no better than the scum that is Representative Canth.” After that, she attempted to approach the podium, shaking her finger at O’Neal as she screamed at her. Representative Landon was then escorted by Capitol police and held in custody until the coalition leadership had left the building. Though police recommended charges of verbal assault and harassment to Representative O’Neal, she chose to not file charges against Landon. In a public statement, O’Neal said the following of the incident:
“In an exciting day in the House, there was a bit of a disruption today by Representative Georgia Landon. Though the disruption was by no means appropriate by House standards, I have chosen to not press charges against Ms. Landon. Ms. Landon is a good friend of mine, and while we may not agree on everything that we come across (much like today’s bill), I understand her concerns and her passion for representing her constituents and the people of Panem in a fair and ethical manner.” — Representative Miranda O’Neal (Liberty Party-D13)
Representative Georgia Landon issued the following statement:
“I have no regrets for my actions today. Though I do consider Ms. O’Neal a friend of mine, that doesn’t mean a friend cannot betray your trust. That is how I feel of Ms. O’Neal today. I stand by my previous statements, as her actions are not appropriate for the people of Panem. Minorities have a right to be heard in Panem’s politics, and this bill will effectively silence the Civic and Labor Parties in addition to any party that doesn’t agree or condone with the majority. There effectively will be no way that a minority party will be able to grow to become a majority party with this amendment, and that is why I believe that this bill cuts Panem an unfair deal. Our nation is based on the principle of freedom and everyone having a fair chance, not on corruption and one singular set of opinions. Ms. O’Neal referred to representing constituents and the people of Panem in ‘a fair and ethical manner.’ I advise her to remember that those words apply to everyone, and that party loyalty should come second to the good of the people of Panem.” — Representative Georgia Landon (Civic Party-D13)
Representative Jackson Canth responded to the events in a press conference:
“The events of today reflect the catastrophic effects of a lack of genuine respect and bipartisanship between the coalition and the opposition. What occurred was incredibly disgusting and unfit of a party’s main leader in a house of Congress. While her interests may have been sound in representing her constituents, breaking House etiquette and rules along with verbally attacking my integrity along with Ms. O’Neal’s was beyond the line of approval. Though I would much rather see Ms. Landon resign as both a representative and party leader, I am pleased with the House’s decision to censure her twice. I would also like to remind Ms. Landon that any further actions like that against me will be taken up with the proper authorities and I will seek to expel her from the House for extreme misconduct.” — Representative Jackson Canth (Conservative Party-D2)
President Rick Canth must now either sign the bill into law or veto the bill and risk his veto being overriden, causing public embarrassment. President Canth, however, will still face much pressure from both sides to do as they please. As a member of the Conservative Party and brother to a cosponsor of the bill, along with the disparaging remarks and actions due to the bill, it seems that President Canth will likely sign it into law despite opposition efforts to discourage him along with the fact that it may make it more difficult to be elected this next election.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 157-43. In the Senate, it passed by a party-line vote of 21-9.