Three things to think about this October 6th
The aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which struck Florida last week, has left much destruction. Lives were tragically lost, homes were destroyed, and entire bridges were washed out to sea. However, even amidst the loss and the sadness, we have witnessed the best emerge in the days that have followed — people have come together, regardless of background, and extended a hand to their neighbors in need. This is the magic that happens when people put aside their differences and put one another first.
It shouldn’t require a catastrophe striking for us to put our differences aside to solve problems. So, in that spirit, we’re proud to invite you to join us virtually tomorrow for the first-ever Un-Convention, an event we are co-hosting alongside the Bipartisan Policy Center and Smerconish for Independent Minds, in an effort to bring Americans together before a “hurricane” hits our democracy,
While the in-person event is sold out, you can register to become a virtual delegate! We hope that you can join us and contribute to the conversation as we strive to respectfully find common ground and community, regardless of political differences!
So, on that note, here are three things to think about this week:
The start of the 21st century arrived with gusto, bringing forth new and advanced technologies — from cell phones and renewable energy to the Internet and more — all of which modernized society. Yet, despite these advancements, it is apparent that Congress is not keeping up with the times. In an effort to change Congress’s antiquated ways, The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (“Mod Comm”) — a bipartisan working group of members who’ve worked to catapult the institution into the 21st century — was established in 2019 to bring Congress up to speed. This week, “Mod Comm” had its last hearing and, while there still is much more to get done, the 12-member committee of equal Republicans and Democrats are well on their way to implementing 125 out of 195 of its recommendations for improving the U.S. House.
Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Chair of the Committee, is hopeful that it will continue on, as he recently stated, “The good news is, throughout this process, the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties has been really on board with the work we are doing. [...] Everybody wants this. Listen, there are people that want to burn down Congress, but I think [generally] the people here want to improve the institution.”
Read more about the accomplishments of this lesser-known bipartisan committee, by checking out a blog post written by Beth Hladick, our Senior Policy Manager.
Election day is just around the corner and there are some exciting ballot measures to support and keep an eye on. Portland, Oregon is seeking to pass ranked choice voting in city elections. According to a new poll, 63% of Portland voters support this measure. Voters in Fort Collins, Colorado will also vote on ranked choice voting, as will San Juan and Clark counties in Washington, among others. And let’s not forget about Nevada’s pivotal Question 3 ballot measure, which would establish an Alaska-style nonpartisan primary system and better represent Nevada voters (if passed this year, it would need to pass again in 2024 to take effect.)
Advocates across the country are hard at work and support for these reform campaigns is greater than ever. The sheer fact that so many exciting reform measures made it onto ballots this year marks another HUGE milestone in the movement to put voters first.
Can you imagine doing only 39% of assignments all semester, yet still somehow find your way onto the dean’s list? Fat chance. And yet this is how we elect our lawmakers. This year, 120 candidates won primaries with a plurality of votes — meaning they received less than 50% of votes yet still advanced and will be on the ballot for the general election. And, to make matters worse, of these 120 winners, the average candidate won with only 39% of the vote. So, what does this mean for voters? Well, come November, the majority of voters (61%, almost one million voters) will be represented on the general election ballot by someone they did not vote for in the primary, skewing representation and leaving those elected to answer only to a minority of their constituents. This is the Primary Problem in action.
To learn more about the negative effects of plurality victories in 2022 primaries, check out our partner, FairVote’s recently published a mini-report.