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February 2024 Updates



Friends,

 

2024 is off to a roaring start.  We hosted our national volunteer call Monday with folks from around the country, and the energy of our volunteer network is palpable.  We have work to do to protect competitive elections and access to the ballot for registered independents in places like Alaska and Louisiana, and expand access and competition in elections in states like Idaho, Nevada, Wisconsin, and beyond. 

 

If you have not yet signed up to join us in this mission, please do so here.  2024 - let’s go!

 

Below check out an article by Todd published last week in The Catalyst, join Eric next week for a Happy Hour in DC, and check out other news, events…




News from the States


Nevada

State Leader and Marine Corps Veteran Mike Escobar interviews with Open Primaries (far right). "The meeting was facilitated by our friend and partner Cesar Marquez in Nevada, whom we've been working with for some time. It was good to participate/contribute once more, and I look forward to more opportunities for this sort of outreach and tangible product!" - Mike Escobar



 
South Carolina


Editorial: SC’s military and overseas voters get this option. Why don’t the rest of us? - The Post and Courier


The usually routine task of mailing out military and overseas ballots became news on Wednesday because that action all but mooted a quixotic lawsuit attempting to get Donald Trump’s name removed from South Carolina’s Republican presidential ballot.



Veterans for South Carolina Voters state leader, Chris Himsl addresses the crowd during the Instant Runoff Voting Rally at the State Capitol on Jan 23rd


Chris Himsl Veteran for All Voters, Rep Jermaine Johnson (L), Chris Saxman (R), and Nicole Sanchez President Better Ballots South Carolina at the Instant Runoff Voting Rally State Capitol


 

Washington D.C.



Is D.C. ready for ranked-choice voting? - FOX5 Washington D.C.


A potential ballot initiative could give D.C. voters a crack at overhauling the election system. The proposed Initiative 83 would create a "ranked-choice voting" system, and open primaries up to all voters, including independents. Lisa Rice, our D.C. State Leader is behind the push and she makes her case on "The Final 5."



 

Virginia




Over 130 "Democracy Warriors" participated in "Democracy Day" on January 23rd in Richmond. The Virginia Task Force and our coalition partners worked the hallways of the Virginia General Assembly to advocate for common sense pro-democracy reforms.

 

Our Virginia State Leader, Mike Cantwell attended along with many other coordinators and advocates including: UpVoteVA: Liz White, BigMoneyOutVA: Nancy Morgan, Heidi Draushak, Jessica Mott, and Bill Millhouser, LWVoters: Joan Porte, CommonCause: Lauren Collette, RepresentUS: Bo Harmon, Clean Virginia: Kendl Kobbervig and

many others.




On Saturday, January 20th, Task Force Leader James Hull conducted an RCV presentation to the American Assoc. of University Women at Virginia Beach Sentara General Hospital.


Idaho



Open primaries initiative - Idaho Mountain Express

 

"As a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I feel that I have more than earned the right to vote. But I am an Independent and, as a result, denied the right to vote in Idaho’s closed primary elections.

 

There are 160,000 veterans in Idaho. Many are Independents. A large segment of our state’s voting population has no voice in our primaries."



 

News and Articles from around the country




Why Is Polarization a Problem? Isn’t It Normal For Us To Strongly Disagree? - Starts With Us

 

Polarization…is the single greatest weakness of the United States as a country today.”    –Francis Fukuyama

 

It seems like everyone is talking about toxic division and polarization. In response, you might have wondered, “America has always had a lot of disagreement and conflict. How is this different?” 



 




Democracy reformers rank open primaries as top priority in 2024 - Fulcrum

 

Democracy reformers may not always agree on the best ways to improve the American political system, but a survey of reform leaders shows some consensus on structural priorities that could make elections more competitive and result in more moderate elected officials: open primaries, ranked-choice voting and nonpartisan redistricting.

 

“[Open Primaries] allow the largest voting block in our country – Independent/nonpartisan/unaffiliated voters – to fully participate in all of our taxpayer-funded public elections,” said Eric Bonner, founder and chief operating officer of Veterans for All Voters."




Via Open Primaries: Wall Street Journal: New York's Voter Suppression

 

“New York is guilty not only of erecting barriers to voting—but of hypocrisy as well. In June of 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul appropriated the name of a true voting rights hero in signing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York, which her office described as guarding against “voter suppression, dilution and intimidation.” She preened, “At a time when the very foundation of our democracy is under threat, New York is leading the nation with new laws protecting the fundamental right to vote.”




Non-majority Rule Here and Abroad - Fairvote.org


“For me, the most powerful value of ranked choice voting is the new incentives RCV creates for voters and candidates to engage with one another. Doing so ultimately brings citizens closer to the people who represent them. But RCV also directly improves the fairness and legitimacy of outcomes and makes it harder for operatives seeking to game the system. This thread is designed to showcase examples of correctable flaws in our own plurality and runoff elections and those around the world.”




Iowa and New Hampshire add to the case for electoral reform - The Fulcrum


The problem with statistics is that they can be manipulated to support or refute any argument, and the Iowa caucus results are no exception. But despite some conflicting narratives that twist the results in different ways, Iowa and New Hampshire add two more brush strokes to an already clear painting – one that depicts a broken system of caucuses and primary elections.




6 states are rethinking how they run their primaries in 2024 - NBC News


Eight states, including Nevada and Pennsylvania, have completely closed primaries, in which only registered party members can vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, while many others have some restrictions on who can participate. Sixteen states allow voters to choose a primary to vote in, while a handful of states, including California and Alaska, have a single primary and allow multiple candidates to advance to the general election. Here’s what’s happening in each state that’s mulling a change.





Leadership After Hours: Ep44: Are the two political parties gaslighting us? Eric Bronner Voting for Veterans Founder

 

Eric Bronner, Veterans for all Voters founder and Sean Patton look at real facts and truths about the current political system. Eric discusses his clear solutions and way forward.

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