Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Rep. Mike Honda's latest hurdle: He can't vote for himself"

Quoted in this one in the San Francisco Chronicle

Seven-term Rep. Mike Honda faces some real challenges as he seeks re-election to his Silicon Valley congressional seat - one of the most unusual being that he can't vote for himself.
That's because Honda, a longtime resident of San Jose, doesn't live in the 17th Congressional District he represents. It's perfectly legal - but as fellow Democrat and former Obama trade representative Ro Khanna tries to wrest the seat away, there's the potential for it to become political ammunition.
Legally, "we have decided that it is OK if our federal representatives don't live in our district," said Jessica Levinson, a professor at the Loyola School of Law in Los Angeles. "But it's still something that bothers some constituents.
"And opponents will point it out," she said. "They'll say, 'When you vote for something, you're not even your own representative. Why aren't you dedicated enough to move?' "
Levinson, however, said that in some cases, a congressman's residency could become a "symbolic" measure of his performance.
"If you want to take it to the extreme, it's someone saying one vote (in an election) doesn't matter," she said. "Or, 'My house matters to me more than my vote.' "

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