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Things that are scarier than monsters

A Halloween Three Things Thursday, including Arizona's conspiratorial turn, Texas's gerrymandering, and ranked choice voting across the US.

Brett Maney
Sr. Communications Manager
October 28, 2021

It’s spooky season. Whether it’s the undead election conspiracy theories that just won’t seem to die or the frankensteined redistricting maps terrorizing voters, the monsters of our broken political system abound. 

As we like to say, there is no silver bullet reform that can cure all of the ails of our democracy — but there might just be a wooden stake or two. (I’m probably pushing this metaphor too far). 

Anyway. Here are three ~spooky~ things to think about this week. 

  1. An undead army of democracy deniers

After an election audit that became the target of national ridicule and found no incidents of fraud, you’d think the Arizona GOP would be eager to turn over a new leaf. Not so in the Copper State, where the Primary Problem has forced Republican elected officials into an ultimatum: support election conspiracies, or lose. 

It’s a dynamic that is by no means unique to Arizona, but one that has been especially palpable since Donald Trump lost the state in 2020. In the face of defeat, rather than shift policy, the party has decided to attack the election system — creating an untenable dynamic that threatens the very existence of the state’s democracy. Read Politico’s full breakdown here.

  1. How to create zombie districts

Texas became the latest state to complete the redistricting process, with new legislative maps that are no one’s idea of fair. Republicans in Texas (much like Democrats in Illinois) have created a gerrymandered system designed to serve themselves. Voters are merely pawns in this system, designed to fuel the party, rather than using the parties to serve the voters. 

On NPR this week, listen to journalist Bret Jaspers break down how these gerrymandered maps create distorted outcomes for voters that silences their voices. Gerrymandering allows parties to keep power and leaves voters out in the cold. (Curious how your state’s doing? Check out the latest grades from our friends at Princeton Gerrymandering Project & RepresentUs!)

  1. An antidote!

Forgive my mixing of monster metaphors, but we’re ending on a positive note: next week’s election will represent the most jurisdictions using ranked choice voting. 23 cities in Utah alone will be using ranked choice voting next week, along with 11 cities across the country. Three municipalities will be voting on whether to adopt ranked choice voting. 

It has been a HUGE year for ranked choice voting, after New York City voters used the system for the first time, marking the largest ever expansion of the system. 2022 is looking no less exciting, with Alaska poised to become the second state to use ranked choice voting, and the first to use it with nonpartisan primaries. Read more here.

Happy Halloween! There’s nothing scarier than the threat of losing our democracy!