Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changing | Three Things Thursday

Unite America

The elections start coming and they don’t stop coming, do they?

Amidst an unprecedented groundswell of global protests demanding racial justice, this week certain parts of the country turned their attention back to the ballot box, with primaries in South Carolina, Georgia, South Dakota, Nevada, and West Virginia allowing Americans to channel their voice into their vote.

The results? 

Well, here are three things to think about this week: 

  1. … let’s talk about Georgia

Georgia was one state where voters headed to the polls Tuesday, only to face four, five, even six-hour long poll lines. With new machines and a shortage of poll workers, Georgia citizens were forced to wait in meandering lines just to get their voices heard. 

This week, Unite America’s Emily Baller breaks down  what exactly broke down in Georgia’s primary election, from their dependency on older poll workers (who were more likely to stay away due to the increased risk from COVID-19) to a shortage of machines, with volunteers not properly trained to use them. 

Ultimately, the issues in Georgia boil down to what we’ve long been saying: safe, secure elections depend on preparation and easily traced paper ballots. If other states want to avoid Georgia’s fate, the time to act is now.

  1. Change the rules, change the incentives

If 2020 seems like history repeating itself (an impeachment, a pandemic, a stock market crash, and a civil rights movement), it’s probably because history is repeating itself. 2020 has shown exactly how our system will create the same cycles over and over again. The reason? Our system is broken. 

This week, Unite America board member Katherine Gehl and her co-author Michael Porter write in Salon about how we can change the system by changing the rules of the game. Right now, there is virtually no overlap for elected officials between acting in the public’s best interest and winning reelection. And the result is a system that must suffer through impeachment hearings, cannot prepare itself for a pandemic, is unable to regulate the stock market, and continually fails people of color. 

Gehl and Porter unpack the five forces that continue to drive our political system downward, and lay out their plans for a new voting system that could change the incentives. Check it out.

  1. (Don’t) put your money where your mouth is (unless your mouth is with us!)

“Polarization is profitable,” says EarthX founder Trammell Crow in a column this week for the Dallas News. “It buys votes and sells ads. Neatly sorted by our prejudices, Americans across the spectrum are easy targets for those who pander to our fears. No politician or media outlet in a competitive market can resist the pull of this black hole.”

Crow proposes a different way forward: instead of donating billions of dollars to “win” the White House this year (an amount that only grows as the two parties work to cancel each other out), don’t. Instead, he encourages readers to come together, reject descending into inter-party madness. 

It’s good to be back… wear your bike helmets.

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