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February 2024 Updates



Friends,

 

We’ve had a busy few weeks here with travel to Alaska to present to the Alaska Warrior Partnership and host a happy hour, the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers annual convening in Denver, the Democracy Communications Collaborative in DC, and other events across the country (Eric and three of our exceptional state leaders recorded a wonderful podcast interview here, as well).  The point is not the pace of activity, but rather the urgency with which our fellow citizens are waking up to the power of election reform: if you change the incentives, you can fix politics.  

 

You’ll see daily (hourly?) evidence about what is obvious, pathetic, and broken in our political system, but we’ll continue to remind you of the power of citizens to reclaim our government and make it work for us, again.  Let’s go!



NEW PODCAST – The Purple Principle – Season 4, Episode 2: Systems Level Failure? Veterans for All Voters Takes on Polarizing Elections – Featuring our Founder and State Leaders Glomani Bravo-Lopez, Crystal Ellington and Mike Escobar.

 




One of our VAV state leaders' wrote an Op-Ed in the Fulcrum that was picked up by over 30 different newspapers, nationwide!


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.



News from the States


 

Alaska



Our new Chief of Staff, Alex Littell, presented to a group of over 25 veteran support organizations at a Alaska Warrior Partnership meeting in Wasilla, Alaska. The message was well received and a number of veterans in the room joined on as supporters. A number organizations requested material to hand out to customers in their workplaces; namely, the Alaska Small Business Development Center, the Alaska VA PACT Social Work Clinic, and Operation Restored Warrior. This Alaska trip served as a “proof of concept”- even in one of the most conservative parts of the country, our innovation model can be well received if presented in a nonpartisan, genuine way. 

 

Alex then held a happy hour for our Alaskan supporters at King Street Brewing Company in Anchorage. Approximately 15 veterans were able to get together to network, discuss our current political environment, and champion the reforms that define Veterans for All Voters. It was extremely energizing to see our movement continue to grow in size and strength!



 
Washington D.C.


The Democracy Communications Collaborative (DCC) working summit in DC

 

Our Founder attended a convening in DC of over 50 national partner organizations focused on strengthening our Constitutional democracy through civic engagement, trusted messengers and structural reforms. The DCC’s goals include:  “building overall trust in the electoral process; lessening polarization around democracy, and adopting and deploying language that resonates across our collective reach.”




While he was in DC, Eric helped organize and lead an inspiring happy hour in support of Petition 83 and the Make All Votes Count DC campaign for semi-open primaries and ranked-choice voting.  Our outstanding Veterans for DC Voters leader, Lisa Rice – the lead Proposer for this active ballot initiative – spoke at the event attended by over 40 people.  Thanks to all of our VAV leaders who attended:  Isaac Riddle (VA), Stefan Katz (DC/NH), Mike Cantwell (VA), Mike Pellittiere (MD) and Wayne O’Donnell (MD) 


 

Colorado




National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers (NANR) Summit + Denver Press Club Event!

 

The NANR working summit was a big success, with over 50 national and state-based reform partners represented.  During the summit, our partners at Open Primaries and Unite America launched an exciting new initiative, in support of independent voters, called #LetUsVotehttps://www.letusvote.org/ – Please sign the petition today!

 

The reform movement heard from state campaign leaders in:  Idaho, Colorado, South Dakota and Oregon. As we’ve said before, 2024 is going to be a tipping point year for the reform movement, and Veterans for All Voters is playing a pivotal role in over 10 states.  We’re refining our 3 year strategic plan to ensure we put wins on the board in key states.

 

Lastly, the Unite America Institute released powerful new research, “Not Invited to the Party: Independent Voters and the Problem with Closed Primaries.”  This outstanding report takes a deep dive into the plight of independent voters in closed primary states who are treated like second-class citizens and locked out of the public election their taxes help fund.  Sometimes, we refer to this as “Taxation Without Representation 2.0”



 

South Dakota




The Brookings Register - Poll shows early support for open primaries in South Dakota

 

From Veterans for SD Voters State Leader, Air Force Veteran Brian Bengs:  “I know one of the sponsors and do presentations on the amendment in my part of the state. At this point they have essentially met the minimum signature threshold but do not yet have enough to safely offset the signatures that will be excluded after review by a hostile Sec of State. They are well funded though so getting the extras should not be too much of an issue as we get into spring.”

 



Virginia



The Virginia Task Force helped to defeat a closed primary bill

 

The Virginia Task Force and our pro-democracy coalition partners worked hard to defeat HB 1439.  If this bill became law, Virginia would move from being an open primary state to a closed primary state, thereby excluding hundreds of thousands of Independent voters, including veterans and active duty military members, from the primary process. The Virginia Task Force also lobbied to advance a bill that would expand the option to use Ranked Choice Voting to all local offices.  This bill is making its way through the Virginia General Assembly and VAV members anticipate it will pass the House and the Senate and become law.



On Feb 18 The local league of women’s voters also hosted an event and we were there to support and connect with the local representatives who arrived. 


On Feb 20, Update on Charlottesville VA, the city council all vocalized unanimous support for RCV (A photo above of our Virginia State Leader, Nick Co




 

News and Articles from around the country




Virgin Islands Republican Caucus Leads The Way With RCV - FairVote

 

Although the Republican presidential primary is down to just two major candidates, the Virgin Islands caucus ballot will include the names of candidates who have already dropped out. In states with choose-one primaries, many voters “waste” their vote on such a candidate – 700,000 Republicans cast these “zombie votes” in 2016, and 3 million Democrats did so in 2020. RCV solves this problem and makes more votes count: If a voter’s 1st-choice candidate drops out, their vote simply counts for their second choice. 



 



Can Congress Still Do Its Job? How Polarization Threatens Your Favorite Cause - Independent Voter News

 

A couple weeks back, Senate negotiators released final language of a bill that would address the growing crisis at America’s southern border while also providing aid to Ukraine and Israel. This would be great news, if House Speaker Mike Johnson hadn’t announced the bill was dead on arrival before the bill had been written.





Collapse of Border Bill Proves Need for Electoral Reform

 

"It seems hard to overstate the significance of last week’s stunning failure of the Senate’s compromise immigration reform bill. For months, Senators Lankford for Republicans, Murphy for Democrats, and Sinema, now an independent with a track record of bipartisan success, have been working on a proposal aimed at addressing what’s widely recognized as a crisis at the border."



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