Three things to think about this December 1st
We hope you all had a safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. Here at Unite America, we enjoyed a week away from our desks, allowing us to spend quality time with friends and loved ones. Now, we’re back — rested and ready to hit the ground running in the final sprint of the year. The midterm election might be over (well … almost — we see you, Georgia!), but the work to advance election reform continues. And, we’re not the only ones jumping straight into the necessary work keeping our democracy functioning: so, too, is our Congress … well, sort of.
Here are three things to consider this week:
As early voting kicks off this week for Georgia’s second high-profile Senate runoff election in two years, “there's a growing movement afoot to get rid of them” altogether, writes Axios. Georgia law mandates that a candidate receive a majority of the vote. If the threshold is not met in the general election (it wasn’t this midterm), then the two top candidates must face off a second time in a runoff. Thus, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker are back on the campaign trail, making their final appeal to voters ahead of the December 6th runoff election.
Keeping this in mind, here’s what you should know ahead of Georgia’s runoff:
We know there’s a better way to produce majority winners AND simultaneously save millions of dollars: it’s as simple as passing election reforms that make instant runoff voting — popularly known as ranked choice voting — the go-to. So, if this money-suck in Georgia wasn’t enough to convince you that there’s a better way to conduct elections, check out our blog underscoring why it’s time to give runoffs the boot.
Thanksgiving Eve marked a historic moment for the election reform movement: Alaska certified the results of its first general election using a top-four nonpartisan primary and ranked choice voting general election system. The outcome can be summed up as a resounding win for voters.
Alaska’s nonpartisan election system produced higher voter participation and gave voters more choices on the ballot, as reflected in the results of the House, Senate, and gubernatorial races. Let’s break down why this race was so notable.
The bottom line? It’s not the political parties that benefit from election reform — it’s the voters who do. So, while this system is still in its nascent stages, it’s already proved to be producing the sorts of representative outcomes it’s encouraged to incentivize. Hopefully, more states will follow in Alaska’s footsteps.
This week, lawmakers returned to Washington to address the final to-do list before the holiday season recess. Needless to say, they (unsurprisingly) haven’t made much progress. An updated government funding bill, which just so happens to have a 16-day deadline, is at the top of the agenda. A bipartisan full-year appropriations deal may or may not be within reach. Partisan bickering may again result in Congress “kicking the can down the road” to next year.
Sadly, annual stalemates around government spending have become a norm, almost a new albeit awful American tradition. However, moments like these also remind us why passing nonpartisan election reforms are crucial. If we wish to have lawmakers incentivized to work side-by-side on important issues, such as government spending, then we must change the way our elections are conducted to foster a more functional government that better serves all voters.
Lastly, if you’re interested in helping advance the Voter’s First movement, Unite America is accepting applications for a Partnership Director position. The candidate selected to fill this role will engage in a diversified strategy to win reforms at all levels of government with legislation, ballot measures, litigation, and partners who believe in putting voters first.