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Tale of Two Primaries and How to Uphold Majority Rule

Posted by Rob Richie on August 16, 2017
Tale of Two Primaries and How to Uphold Majority Rule

Next spring, states will start voting in primaries for the regularly scheduled congressional midterm elections in every state. On August 15, however, two states held primaries to fill vacancies -- for U.S. Senate in Alabama as the permanent replacement to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and for U.S House in Utah to fill Jason Chaffetz’ seat in the third congressional district. The outcomes were instructive for how rules matter -- with Alabama upholding majority rule and Utah allowing non-majority nomination winners -- and for why the nation should follow Maine’s ranked choice voting primaries with a close eye next June.

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Amherst Likely to Vote on Charter Commission Recommendations that include Ranked Choice Voting

Posted by Myeisha Boyd on August 07, 2017
Amherst Likely to Vote on Charter Commission Recommendations that include Ranked Choice Voting

In 2016, a Charter Commission in Amherst (MA) was approved by a majority with 60% voters in favor. The commission is proposing elections be held with ranked choice voting (RCV). The task of the Charter Commission is to study Amherst government and recommend changes within two years. After a 16 month study, the Charter Commission recommended replacing Town Meeting with a town council, among other recommendations. Charter Commission Chairman Andy Churchill said the proposal would call for 13 town councilors, three at large and two each will become five wards instead of the current 10 precincts. Churchill wrote, “We believe the result is a set of recommendations that reflect the varied interests of our residents.”

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Better Design, Better Democracy: Why Ballot Design Matters in Ranked Choice Elections

Posted by Marie Lemieux on August 04, 2017
Better Design, Better Democracy: Why Ballot Design Matters in Ranked Choice Elections

The American conscience is etched with memories of the eventful 2000 elections, where the Palm Beach Post found that Palm Beach County’s Butterfly Ballot cost Al Gore the presidential elections. This example illustrates the importance of ballot design, where the position of elements on ballots can create misunderstanding for voters, increase the number of irregular ballots (ballots which include marking mistakes or other mistakes that make counting the ballot impossible), and ultimately de-legitimize an election.

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Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse: A Q&A with Richard Hasen

Posted by Myeisha Boyd on July 27, 2017
Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse: A Q&A with Richard Hasen

FairVote had the opportunity to catch up with Richard Hasen regarding his recent article published in the New York Times, “Don’t Let Our Democracy Collapse,” focusing on our democracy and the electoral process in the United States. Hasen writes, “the future is scary. Public confidence in the fairness of the election process is already largely driven by who wins and who loses.”

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