Editor, Times-Union:

Besides periodic elections for public officials with terms in office that must be renewed at set intervals, other methods for limiting their time in office are term limits, impeachment, recall elections, annual vote to retain or not to retain in office elections, and a none of the above option. These methods should be a part of a complete package that empowers voters at the ballot box whether for local, state, or federal elections and even after an election is over. The first method for limiting political power is routine elections whether during peace time or war or other emergencies. Our nation has done this for over two centuries even during a civil war with the election of 1864. Arbitrary extensions of one’s time in office is an un-American pursuit plain and simple along with serving in the same office for a lifetime or passing the office down to heredity or appointed successors. Government is chosen by the people for the people with the people serving in it not by would be domestic monarchs.

Another part of routine elections is established thresholds for obtaining the consent of the governed whether it is a plurality, simple majority or supermajority of  participating voters, or eligible voters, or even the total population. Public officials and voters are going to have determine whether the winners in elections should be required to receive just a mere plurality of the vote of a high plurality in the 40% and above range. A simple majority (50%+1) or solid simple majority (51%) could be made a requirement which would mean more run-off elections. Then there is the supermajority requirement which is the 55% and above rule which would make more sense for referendum questions that have a deep and long-term impact.

The other methods of limitations on political power listed above will be highlighted in soon to follow letters to the editor.

Alexander Houze