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December Updates




2024 is going to be a BREAKOUT year for the independent reform movement!

 

In 2024, Veterans for All Voters will be working to defend the Alaska Election model and supporting reform campaigns, for some version or component of the Alaska Election Model, in:  Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Boston and Washington, DC, along with a few other possible “late breaking” campaigns.




Veterans for All Voters Annual Report Download


We would like to thank all of our supporters for creating a rippling effect in this reform movement. Without you, Veterans for All Voters wouldn't be possible. Please download our Annual Report to get a snapshot of this year and the years prior.














VAV Leaders attend Two National Conferences

VAV's Co-Founders and Virginia leader Mike Cantwell attended a national convening “Defending Democracy: Veterans for a More Perfect Union” at the McChrystal Group Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. More Perfect and their Co-Chair General Stanley McChrystal partnered with Blue Star Families to convene leaders representing veterans and military families to identify concrete actions that can be taken to protect and renew American democracy.



The night before these meetings, Veterans for All Voters joined the monthly #democracydrinks (no-host) happy hour for everyone in the democracy + civic health-promoting ecosystem at Free State Bar (Pictured here left to right: Wayne O’Donnell (US Coast Guard), Caleb Christen (USN JAG), Jeff Chiow (USMC), Stefan Katz (US Space Force + his son, Oliver - the reason why we’re all doing this work!) Eric Bronner (USN) and Mike Cantwell (USN)




National Civic League – The Future of Citizenship







VAV Founder Eric Bronner presents a gift to one of our original Board Members, Jake Harriman, Founder of More Perfect Union. Jake’s servant leadership has been instrumental to the success of VAV, and as part of our original Advisory Board, Jake helped this organization launch and build a strong foundation. Thank you, Jake!







News from the states


BIG NEWS!  On December 12th, there was a hearing on the bi-partisan Bill (SB-528) for Final 5 Voting in front of the Wisconsin Senate Committee on on Shared Revenue, Elections and Consumer Protection





Veterans for Wisconsin Voters built and submitted a digital petition in support, and Veterans for Wisconsin Voters leader, Army veteran, Kevin Miller testified in front of the committee








Ranked choice voting bill moves to hearing in front of Wisconsin Senate committee - ABC News




A bipartisan bill that would dramatically change how Wisconsin residents choose congressional candidates by asking them to rank their top choices instead of voting for one of two candidates had its first public hearing in the state Legislature on Tuesday.

The hearing comes just a week after opponents circulated a proposed constitutional amendment to ban ranked choice voting. It’s unclear whether either measure has enough support to pass, but the movement shows the idea is gaining attention in the battleground state.



A Case for Electoral Reform - A Veterans Perspective featuring Eric Bronner and Joshua Wilson



On December 6th, LeaderEthics – a Wisconsin nonprofit/nonpartisan organization committed to promoting ethical leadership among elected officials – Hosted our Founder Eric Bronner and Veterans for Wisconsin Voters leader Josh Wilson for a statewide Zoom call


Outgoing Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg to urge SC to support a new way to vote



The resolution, which was released Dec. 14 ahead of the council’s Dec. 19 meeting, calls on the state’s Legislature to add instant runoff, or ranked-choice, voting as an alternative to current election methods. The proposed method eliminates the need for separate runoff elections by allowing voters to rank candidates, then eliminating the lowest vote-getter until one candidate has a majority of ballots cast.







Chris Himsl, director of the state’s chapter of Veterans for All Voters, speaks in support of ranked-choice voting in local elections in South Carolina. He was joined by representatives from four statewide organizations at a press conference Dec. 14, 2023, behind City Hall applauding a resolution to be introduced at City Council’s next meeting.







Warts and all, ranked-choice voting will be back in 2024



Both de Ferranti and his board colleague Libby Garvey said they are stuck with the wording that was legally advertised by staff, focused only on the primary. But each said they expect the 2024 board at its January meeting to adopt ranked-choice voting for County Board general elections, as well.


Great News from Arlington! It looks like the Arlington County Board is going to vote to permanently implement RCV for County Board primaries! 



The agenda has been been released yet but they sent out a public notice yesterday. This should finally put to bed the idea that RCV was a failure or that Arlington abandoned RCV after trying it once.



Hampton Roads:  State Leader James Shull gives a presentation on ranked-choice voting to students at Norfolk State University





Veterans for Idaho Voters continues to lead the charge on the proposed ballot measure to bring the Alaska Election Model to Idaho in 2024.  Army veteran and state leader Todd Achilles noted that signature gathering is going really well and the team is ahead of their monthly targets.  In the past month, Veterans for Idaho Voters has:

  • Presented at over 20+ meetings with local Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis Clubs with well over 500 attendees, total

  • Posted their seventh Op-Ed 

  • Started connecting with the approximately 160,000 Idaho Veterans -- More than the number of registered Democrats in the state!



Other News and Articles


Opening Up Primary Elections Is a Voting Rights Issue - Governing.com



The primary is often the only real contest in choosing those who will represent us. Closed party primaries are unrepresentative and undemocratic, and they disenfranchise more than half of the voting public: independents.






Competitive districts are defined as General Election races within 5% points. This graph was featured in a recent No Labels e-newsletter.






From Democracy Found’s Oct. Newsletter …

“While we are witnessing chaos and uncertainty around the world, our own House is not in order. This peak level of dysfunction is dangerous, irresponsible, and another reason we need Final Five Voting.


More Context: All eight members who voted to oust McCarthy come from districts that are considered uncompetitive in the general election. Therefore, this group was effectively elected to the U.S. House in party primaries that were decided by an average of just 11% of eligible voters in their districts. The votes cast in these primary elections represent just 0.2% of eligible voters in the country. Healthy competition in the general election would not flip these seats blue, nor should it. These are strongly red districts, but a bit of electoral accountability might incentivize more collaborative behavior when we need to show leadership, both at home and abroad.”


As an aside, Republican Senator Dan Sulilvan of Alaska was instrumental in breaking the hold on senior military appointments that his fellow Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville put in place. Why would would one Senator adhere to the most ideologically extreme while the other chose to speak in support of the common sense that serves the U.S. military - we think election incentives have something to do with that. Watch the video here.




From Joel Searby’s 11/17/23 “New Way” Blog Post …


“Rich and consolidated democracies don’t usually die – until they do.”


This is the haunting opening line of a chapter in the new book “When Democracy Breaks” which is available for free online. This chapter in particular is a sobering warning for us, though rooted and focused in the scholarship of looking at what happened in ancient Athens. This section, in particular, stands out:


The questions of under what conditions democracy breaks is of obvious relevance today. This volume is but one of many contributions devoted to developing some answers. The evidence from the contemporary world suggests that democratic breakdown occurs in the aftermath of military coups, or when leaders lose legitimacy or cannot solve political problems, and it is more likely under presidentialism, when inequality is high, or when the country has past experiences with authoritarian institutions. Breakdown also occurs through the erosion of checks on elected leaders. (emphasis added) *** Democratic stability rests instead on economic growth, strong states, and liberal institutions, such as a robust rule of law, free and fair elections, and individual rights.

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