Three things to think about this April 13th
Greetings, fellow fans of hockey and democracy! OK — so that’s not your typical combination. But as the puck drops in the NHL playoffs next Monday, it's an exciting time for hockey enthusiasts like me, especially since my record setting Boston Bruins go into the playoffs as a top-seed. My hopes are high but as any fan knows, nothing is certain in the playoffs, and upsets happen when we least expect it. Just take the 20M+ March Madness brackets that were busted before the Sweet 16 had even started a few weeks ago.
What does this have to do with the Voters First movement, you ask? Well, just like an underdog team can defy the odds and come out on top, so too can election reform. Alaska, California, and Washington have already seen their nonpartisan primaries “upset” partisan control in their elections while ranked choice voting is winning up and down the ballot in 63 cities, counties, and states including the Virginia Republican Party’s nomination process. So, as you cheer on your favorite team this playoff season, take a moment to consider the power of an upset, how it benefits the fans (i.e. voters), and the potential for change when we come together to put country over party. (When it comes to my Bruins, though, I’ll be rooting for the overdog.)
Politicians have been trying and failing to tackle this issue for the entirety of this century. Finding common ground to pass meaningful legislation has seemed like a game of tug-of-war between our two major parties but without any possibility of success. The reason for this? A broken political system that rewards partisan entrenchment over progress — because one party’s idea of perfection always ends up being the enemy of the good.
Semafor, a news and media platform, recently launched a new video series called "The Agenda," which explores Washington's highest-stakes challenges and the good faith efforts to solve them. And what's their first issue? You guessed it — the border crisis. In the video, independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona notes, "The reality is that the extreme positions on both ends of this political debate are hurting our ability to solve this problem and get things done." Sinema and Republican Sen. Thom Tillis are members of a bipartisan working group attempting to find common ground and offer solutions that many Americans agree on with this issue.
We hope they succeed and more efforts like theirs become common place as election reforms start changing the incentives of not just how our leaders are elected, but how they legislate and work across the aisle.
Check out their video to learn more!
SPOILER ALERT: They love it! Remember when we told you about The McKinley Research Group’s latest report on Alaska's new election system a few weeks back? Well, if you missed it, not to worry, as it’s so good we’re covering it again! The "Alaska's Election Reforms: Voter Perceptions & Experiences" report provides valuable insights into how Alaskans feel about their new election system in its first year of implementation. We've got all the juicy details and graphics in a tweet thread, so don't miss out on this gem of a report. Check it out now and let us know what you think!
As election reform gains traction across the country, partisan lawmakers are fighting tooth and nail to maintain their grip on power. In states like Idaho and South Dakota, laws prohibiting ranked choice voting (RCV) have already been signed, with Montana and Texas considering following suit. And it's not just about RCV; Arizona lawmakers have introduced a resolution that would prevent nonpartisan primaries and any new voting methods from being implemented. Why are these lawmakers so determined to keep the status quo? Because the current system serves their interests and maintains their power, at the expense of voter choice, accountability, and representation. As was written in an Independent Voter News article this week:
“There is a tremendous demand for change in how the US elects its representatives. Voters see the deteriorating state of public discourse as a result of a system that rewards partisanship, and inevitably punishes people who would put people above party.
Voters see a system that seeks only to divide Americans to serve the private interests of those in power. They feel the disenfranchisement that has left them without a voice and without meaningful representation.”
The good news is that with more and more Americans demanding an election system that takes into account all their perspectives, election reform is pointed in a winning direction.