What Montana teaches us about vote at home | Three Things Thursday

Brett Maney
Senior Communications Manager
Unite America
Team
2.11.2021

It’s hard to believe that we’re in the middle of another impeachment trial. I’m not sure how much you’ve been paying attention to the proceedings, but the images, information, and testimony coming out of the capitol is harrowing. 

We held on — but just barely. No matter how the Senate votes, we’re going to have to make changes to our democratic systems if we want to keep our nation moving forward. With that in mind, here are three things: 

  1. What Montana teaches us about Republicans and voting

We talked about this a bit last week: across the country, over 100 bills have been introduced that would restrict or otherwise limit voter access, making the process more difficult for those who wish to participate. Overwhelmingly introduced by Republican lawmakers, these bills are a partisan response to the fraudulent claims of “election fraud” that were peddled by former President Trump, most specifically, as it relates to the use of mail-in ballots.

There’s a myth that vote at home helps one party over the other. But that’s actually not true: in Montana, for example, a state that conducted their elections almost entirely by mail, turnout soared, and Republicans swept. Far from hurting Republicans, higher turnout and easier voting access seems to have helped the party win the Governor’s office, the House seat, a Senate seat, and increase margins in the state legislature. 

When more voters vote, we all win. Read our blog this week to find out why Republicans should embrace reform instead of turn away from it. 

  1. Change the system, change the incentives, change the outcomes

The rules of the game govern how players play the game. It’s true in politics, too. 

As Timothy Egan of the New York Times points out this week, those rules may have impacted how some Republicans responded to January 6th. In Washington state, two Republican representatives voted to impeach the president; yet despite being censured and condemned by their local parties, these brave representatives who put country over party may still have a fighting chance thanks to Washington’s nonpartisan primary system.

In nonpartisan primaries, all candidates (regardless of party) run in a primary together, and — in Washington — the top two vote getters advance to the general election. It means that elected officials are beholden to all voters in their district, not just those in their party. While the party might not be happy with their actions, if the majority of the people they represent are, the Washington representatives will be fine. They’re empowered to put the interests of the country first, not their political party. Imagine the possibilities. 

  1. FILM RECOMMENDATION: Check out the Reunited States

You know that we love a good documentary here at Unite America. Allow us to introduce you to another one called The Reunited States, which is a powerful and urgent documentary that follows the unsung heroes on the difficult journey of bridging our political and racial divides. Each of these bridge-builders have realized that while our divides run deeper than they ever could have imagined, so does the love and hope to bring our country back together. 

TONIGHT, the filmmakers would like to invite YOU to attend The Red and Blue Carpet Premiere presented by Van Jones and Meghan McCain at 5PM PST/8PM EST! In fact, our very own Nick Troiano will be a special guest as a member of a panel ahead of the film’s premiere. Register to attend here (and check out the film beforehand here!)

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