Just like you, we’re all reeling here at FairVote in reaction to the slew of daily challenges coming with the coronavirus. We’ve shifted to working remotely and trying our best to substitute online hangouts for in-person collaboration.
First and foremost, I trust you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. It is sobering to witness so many Americans getting sick, losing their jobs and facing financial challenges.
But it’s also a time to underscore our commitment to democratic institutions that are increasingly being put on hold -- presidential primaries, state legislative sessions, Supreme Court arguments, and the list goes on. After this year, it will be an easy lesson not to take our democracy and our republic for granted.
It’s a big year of decision for the nation, and elections are still happening. Presidential primaries are being held today in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and, possibly, Ohio. To learn how best to keep our elections on track, I recommend this new Brennan Center analysis.
Today also marks the publication date of a terrific new book by our senior fellow David Daley that is a followup to his influential book about partisan gerrymandering. Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy earned a glowing review in the Washington Post and tells the story of reformers winning change in states across the country. While Dave’s slew of upcoming speaking engagements are largely cancelled, I trust his voice will remain heard through the media (he’s on Buzzfeed TV today) and his readers.
We’re also proud that FairVote and FairVote Action have played a central role in helping four upcoming presidential primaries stay on track, upholding our democracy and republic while also keeping voters safe. The next states to hold presidential primaries will be Alaska, Hawaii and Wyoming on April 4, with Kansas voting a few weeks later on May 2. The Democratic parties in these states have mailed ranked choice voting ballots to all their voters - replacing their old caucus system and avoiding the challenges other states are having with polling place elections and giving their voters new power with ranked choice voting.
All 50 states should vote with RCV and provide the option for vote by mail in 2024. More than two million voters in primaries this month voted early for their presidential candidates of choice, only to have that candidate drop out before their vote was counted. The upcoming states using RCV will allow those votes to count for a backup choice -- a fact that has earned strong editorial support for RCV in the last month in the New York Times and leading papers in cities like Buffalo, San Antonio and St. Louis. We’ve been telling this story all over print and television, and policymakers are listening.
FairVote is redoubling our commitment toward such national goals. With a big vote for RCV this month in Maine’s largest city Portland and new legislative wins in Utah and Virginia, I’m confident we will see more victories in the states as well.
For now, we must secure the basics of democracy. Let’s keep our elections on track, our democratic institutions intact, and our communities as strong and healthy as possible.