Three things to think about this September 15th
It’s been a big week. The rundown? Well, primary season has officially come to a close. Alaska’s first Indigenous woman was sworn into Congress. We reflected, honored, and mourned the lives of those lost twenty-one years ago on the anniversary of 9/11. And today, we celebrate the 15th anniversary of International Democracy Day.
There’s a lot to unpack from this last week, so we’ve broken it down for you:
History was made (again) in Alaska this week. On Tuesday, Congresswoman Mary Peltola officially became the first Alaska Native to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and the first woman to hold the state’s sole seat. When speaking about her victory, Peltola spoke to how Alaska’s new election system — top four primaries and ranked choice voting (RCV) — is designed to facilitate the election of candidates who will better represent the overall voting population than those produced by partisan primaries.
“To have a seat at the table is different…but I am just always reminding people that I’m not here to represent just the 16% of Alaskans who are Alaska Natives. I’m here to represent all Alaskans,” said Peltola as she was sworn in.
Today marks the 15th anniversary of International Democracy Day —a day that encourages each of us to do our part to secure freedoms, protect the rights of all people, and safeguard fair elections. In honor of this day, let us reflect on the words shared by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres:
Join Unite America this Democracy Day in supporting Team Democracy’s Safe and Fair Elections Pledge.
Primary season has wrapped up in America. The outcome? The least competitive election cycle in our lifetime. Nick Troiano, Executive Director of Unite America, put it best during a recent interview with MSNBC,
“I think we spend a lot of time focused on who we elect and not enough time on how we elect…In our last election, only 10 percent of Americans elected 83 percent of Congress because the vast majority of our elections are decided not in the general election in November but in the primary election — and that problem is getting even worse this election cycle after the latest round of redistricting. We’re going to have the least competitive elections of our lifetime, which is going to lead to the least accountable Congress of our lifetime, so if we want different outcomes out of Congress we have to change the process.”
Just how much worse will this primary season be? That number is still being determined, but we expect it to be worse than 2020 when just 10 percent of Americans effectively elected 83 percent of Congress. Stay tuned for the official release of this year’s primary problem impact on democracy. And more importantly, stay tuned for more about the exciting reform efforts happening across the country, including updates on the ballot initiative in Nevada that would help solve the Primary Problem in the Silver State.