Election Day, Maine news, Comedy Central & more!

Posted by Rob Richie on November 07, 2017

News flash! Our communications director and senior fellow David Daley will be the
featured guest at 11:30 pm tonight on Comedy Central’s The Opposition with Jordan
Kleppe
r. David will discuss his investigative journalism about partisan gerrymandering
and the reform solution to gerrymandering embodied in the Fair Representation Act.
David’s been speaking around the country -- coming up is a featured slot at the State of American Democracy conference in Oberlin on Nov. 15-17. His recent writings include analysis for the New Yorker on the Gill gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court and for the Arizona Daily Star on Sen. Jeff Flake and the Fair Representation Act.

It’s Election Day across in many states and cities across the USA. Like many of you, I’d love to see fairer voting rules that give us greater choice and fairer representation. but it's troubling to see fewer than a half, quarter, or even tenth of eligible voters participate in our local elections. If your community has an election, I hope you'll enjoy your chance to participate - and thank your poll workers for their work.

I’m voting in a hotly contested ranked choice voting election in my home city of Takoma Park. Other cities voting with RCV today include Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota, where our deputy outreach director Grace Ramsey is helping FairVote Minnesota with voter education, and Cambridge (MA), which will hold fair representation elections with RCV citywide. FairVote's legal and policy director Drew Penrose goes deeper into what FairVote is tracking on Election Day 2017 with a post today.

November 13 Champion of Democracy Awards in New York City

FairVote is thrilled to honor a remarkable group of Democracy Champions this Monday evening in New York City. Our honorees are journalists Hendrik Hertzberg and Reihan Salam, law professor Lani Guinier, pro bono champion T. Clark Weymouth, FairVote Minnesota director Jeanne Massey, and New York state legislators Liz Krueger and Brian Kavanagh. Other presenters and speakers including Rashad Robinson, Jonathan Alter., Congressman Don Beyer, Douglas Amy and most of our staff and Board, including several new members and chair Krist Novoselic. Read more about our honorees and purchase one of the remaining tickets if you’re able to join us .

Ranked Choice Voting in Maine: A People’s Veto

Last year, Maine adopted ranked choice voting for all state and congressional elections, earning the second highest vote total in the history of Maine initiatives. But an adverse legal advisory opinion affecting certain uses of RCV and the resulting political battle culminated with the legislature and governor colluding to effectively repeal RCV.

Fortunately, Maine allows voters to have the final say, and across the state today volunteers will be collecting signatures to force a “people’s veto.” If successful in the next 89 days in collecting more than 60,000 signatures, the June primaries for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor and state legislature will use RCV and voters will decide whether to keep RCV for most elections going forward. The Committee for Ranked Choice Voting in Maine is leading this historic effort.

Reform Energy Builds in State Across the United States

Our election can be improved in many ways, but we’re prioritizing ranked choice voting and its fair representation cousin as how FairVote can best help achieve a better, more representative democracy. Just in the past month I’ve met with state legislators, election officials and reformers in California, Colorado, Kansas (where an elections committee held an all-day hearing on RCV where I spoke for 90 minutes), Missouri, and Utah

It’s been a treat to work with state reformers, many of whom are gathering for a strategy and training summit this month. Notable new efforts in the last year include Voter Choice Massachusetts, FairVote Virginia, FairVote Washington. RCV Colorado, and Nevadans for Election Reform, joining such long-time stalwarts as Californians for Electoral Reform, FairVote Minnesota and Sightline Institute and our own field staff from FairVote New Mexico and FairVote California. Look for updated online print and video resources for reformers being released later this month, and be sure to sign up to volunteer if you want to get involved..

Monopoly Politics 2018, Fair Representation Act Simulation, Gill Amicus, Social Media, and the Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center

Our legal, communications and policy teams are also doing great work. Here are just a few highlights from the fall.

  • Monopoly Politics 2018 and interactive spreadsheet: Our Monopoly Politics 2018 report explains the projections we made earlier this year in nearly nine in 10 House races using a methodology that has missed only one race out of more than a thousand in 2012-2016. We’ve called winners in all House races in more than half of states, and explore implications for reform. Take a spin through our interactive spreadsheet to see projections in races you’re tracking and the effect of changing the national two-party preference. You can also watch our news conference releasing the report.

  • Fair Representation Act simulation: I presented this paper initially at the annual convention of the American Political Science Association in August, and our updated edition shows the remarkable impact of HR 3057, the Fair Representation Act. My favorite finding from our simulation of plans in all 50 states: not a single part of any of our 38 largest states would likely end up with monopoly representation of only one party. We’d have real choices and a stronger voice everywhere, and use of ranked choice voting would mean no fear of “spoilers” affecting our choices and new incentives for candidates to find common ground. In July, Reihan Salam and I made this case in a well-received oped in the New York Times.

  • Amicus brief in Supreme Court case on gerrymandering: We were pleased to join with One Nation, One Vote in an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case that was heard last month on partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin. We agree that partisan gerrymandering should be subject to judicial review and that fair representation systems should be considered as remedies that keep the courts from getting too involved in the political thicket.

  • Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center: We helped create the Resource Center, where retired election officials directed by former North Carolina state elections director Gary Bartlett are a resource to the election administration community on implementation of ranked choice voting. I’m thrilled to see its progress and impact -- new usability testing of ballot designs and instructions, assistance with how RCV can be part of new voting equipment standards, best practices for voter education materials and much more. Visit its website to see a series of webinars and peruse its resources.

  • Representation2020: We also helped create Representation2020, which looks for nonpartisan systemic changes in rules and systems to provide more equitable representation of women across the political spectrum, including major attention to fairer voting rules like ranked choice voting and fair representation. Led by my wife Cynthia Terrell, Representation2020 has become a major player among those focused on women’s representation. Visit its website for new blogs, videos and an updated Gender Parity Index ranking of all 50 states.

  • Social media and revamped blog: You can follow our progress and reform news on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and take a spin through our blog - and then return later this month to see the release of an updated blog format that will regularly feature guest writer, regular commentary and news, video and our new podcast.


Thanks for reading, thanks to so many of you for your generous donations and happy voting!

 

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