Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Apr. 8, 2014 – 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 8, 2014 – 12:13 am

Whether it’s football, tiddlywinks, poker or politics, the rules of the game can play a big role in determining who wins.

Every election produces examples of that adage – of elections won or lost because of the rules governing voting procedures, setting the boundaries of legislative or congressional districts, limiting campaign contributions and/or expenditures, or prescribing how votes are to be tallied.

The 2000 presidential election, one might recall, hinged on conflict over “hanging chads” and other minute details of voting in Florida that was eventually settled by a divided U.S. Supreme Court.

Two years ago, California voters faced two very contentious ballot measures, one to raise taxes, the other to weaken the political clout of labor unions.

However, the issues themselves were overshadowed by a big blowup over $11 million that flowed into campaigns from an opaque string of front groups.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission vigorously pursued the sources of the money, but only some of the original donors were revealed. It levied fines against the groups it could identify.

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