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June Updates 2024


The map for 2024 is coming into focus and several states are looking to join Alaska in reforming their primary election systems. These six states (plus Washington, DC) have the opportunity to upend their divisive, partisan politics and return power back to voters. We talk regularly about the opportunity: if 5 states implement Final 4 or 5 Voting, that frees 10 U.S. Senators to form an “Axis of Adults”; freeing them to move beyond strict partisan fealty towards collaborative common sense problem solving. Those 10 Senators (not one or two fringe members)—governing in a bi-partisan and solutions oriented way—will determine the agenda for the Senate, for Congress, and in turn the American people.  This isn’t a fantasy - it’s a real possibility in 2024. 

 

Here are the states in play:


Voters passed a top-four nonpartisan primary election system in 2020 which went live in 2022.  The results have been extraordinary: increased turnout, diversity of candidates, a bi-partisan governing coalition that focused on issues important to Alaskans (not cable news or dark web conspiracies).  We need to defend this important reform - more on the impact of the election reforms here, and the repeal effort here.


Voters passed a top-five election system in 2022, and per the Nevada constitution must pass it again this year.  Unsurprisingly, there is opposition from both the Democratic & GOP establishment (one of the only issues they seem to agree on - opposing reform).  Navy veteran Brandon Moody, along with a number of volunteers, is leading the charge for us there.



Todd just returned from Montana Festival, where he gave a rousing speech to encourage Montanas to embrace their frontier, Big Sky Spirit in reclaiming their politics from insiders, and letting registered independents (who are the majority in Montana) vote in primary elections.  Our partners Montanans for Election Reform are off and running and on track to submit the needed signatures to get a top-four election model approved by voters in November.



Veterans for Idaho Voters, along with Reclaim Idaho, successfully turned in over 94,000 signatures to put a top-four ballot initiative before voters in November.  Hundreds of grassroots volunteers have powered the signature collection effort and the reform movement, and will continue to fuel the effort to educate voters before November.  Our Idaho co-founder, Todd Achilles, was recently appointed to the Idaho State Legislature and continues to be a stalwart advocate for reasonable, bi-partisan politics as well as election reform.



Colorado is moving forward with a ballot initiative (#310) that will give Colorado voters the opportunity to vote for a majority winner, all-voter election model in November.  Sadly, an 11th hour move from a Democratic incumbent (who won her election with only 8% of the vote) will create procedural hurdles for implementation, but nonetheless the voters will have the opportunity to express themselves (in spite of politicians not wanting to hear their opinions) in November.  Nick Troiano lays out perfectly what is unfolding in the Colorado legislature in an Op Ed he published this week. Tony Haas, our campaign leader for Colorado, Todd Connor, and a number of our Veterans for All Voters volunteers will join Colorado Voters First for a campaign training and launch event this week in Denver.


Arizona is a battleground state for the reform movement. The state legislature has referred two ballot amendments to voters to codify the status quo and prevent reforms. At the same time, our partners at Make Elections Fair will gather enough signatures for their ballot amendment to allow equal access for independent candidates and independent voters, to all public elections. Our Arizona veterans, led by Army veteran Ray Kimball, are fighting for a level playing field for independent voters and candidates, alike.  This article by our friends at Open Primaries illuminates the powerful opportunities before us in the Grand Canyon State.


A diverse, grassroots coalition led by South Dakota Open Primaries qualified a top-two open, nonpartisan primary election ballot measure for a vote this November. Now, the “Yes on Amendment ‘H’” Campaign has started in earnest with support from our outstanding South Dakota veteran leaders, Brian Bengs and Chris Roness.


Congratulations to Make All Votes Count DC Lead Petitioner & VAV Leader Lisa Rice who received a special shout out from The Washington Post for her work to make D.C. elections fair and inclusive. Veterans for DC Voters is working to bring open primaries and ranked choice voting to DC and enfranchise over 70,000 independent DC voters.



Of course, these are not the only states with opportunities to open primaries and implement winner-majority models.  There are several other opportunities across the country - and in your community.  We will have our foot on the gas between now and November - because we know that structural election reform is the only thing that gets us off this treadmill of feeling like every election is worse than the last, the risk of every candidate seeming scarier and less qualified than the last, and the trend that fewer and fewer people will continue to participate (or be allowed to as registered independents).  This is how we reclaim America.


VAV Updates and Highlights


Nevada + New York – Veterans for All Voters has hired two new Task Force leaders – Navy Veteran Brandon Moody is leading Veterans for Nevada Voters and Army Veteran Seamus Murphy is leading Veterans for New York Voters.  In these capacities, Brandon and Seamus have both hit the ground running!



Las Vegas Chamber Military Affairs Committee MAC Night Out Awards Event

Brandon Moody met members and veteran owned business owners with the chamber. Albert Arevalo with Venta Outlets. (Left) Christopher M. Crooks -Chairman of Military Affairs Committee- received MAC Service Award (Right)




Brandon Moody attending the Solara Veterans And First Responders Club - Memorial Day Event


Montana Fest 2024 


Veterans for All Voters CEO and Co-Founder, Todd Connor, and Chief of Staff, Alex Littell, were in Bozeman, Montana for the inaugural Montana Fest. Todd spoke to a full auditorium of event attendees about the dire threats facing our democracy, the importance of election reform to ensuring representative government, and the leading role Montana can play in the pro-democracy election reform movement. His speech was electric and left the crowd motivated and inspired!



Let Us Vote - Citizen Spotlight: I Don't Fit In the Two Parties, Nevada State Volunteer Brandon Moody

 

"The fact that there are only two [parties] doesn't fit with me and it never has. And I don't think it fits for many people. A big portion of people do not fit, and that's a problem when this is supposed to be a representative democracy."


Veterans for All Voters also hosted a tent at the Montana Fest “Summer Camp” closing party, where they were joined by Montanans For Election Reform, the group spearheading the final-four and open primary voting initiatives in Montana. It was great to build relationships with the campaign and to support election reform education amongst the Monata Fest attendees!


 

Veterans know our politics are broken. As a Navy veteran and longtime educator, I’ve seen the fallout of broken politics from many angles.

 

Veterans aren’t strangers to being used by candidates when they’re trying to get elected and then promptly being ignored or maligned by our leaders. It’s time to hold our politicians accountable for the promises they make.



On Wednesday night, Unite America's Executive Director Nick Troiano and PBS Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff delved into how nonpartisan primaries shape our elections on "America at a Crossroads." Their discussion spotlighted Alaska's first top-four nonpartisan primary and instant runoff general election, emphasizing its role in enhancing representation and governance.




How open primaries and ranked-choice voting can help break partisan gridlock - PBS

 

How the parties select their candidates is a major factor in the increasing partisanship we've seen in recent years. Recently, Alaska has been trying something different. It's already showing results but facing some resistance. Judy Woodruff traveled there for her ongoing series about divisions in the country, America at a Crossroads.


 

The nation’s tiniest state legislative chamber has been unusually prolific lately. In its most recent session, Alaska’s Senate overcame years of acrimony and deadlock to pass major bills to increase spending on public schools, combat climate change and a state energy shortage, and strengthen penalties for drug dealers. “The universal feeling,” Cathy Giessel, the senate’s majority leader, told me, “was that this was the most productive two years that we have experienced.”


 

Last year, independents tied Republicans as the largest group of voters in the Grand Canyon State.  It’s right there in the voter registration data: 1.4 million Republicans, 1.4 million independents, 1.2 million Democrats. This rapid rise of independent voters echoes a national trend but is amplified in Arizona because of how evenly matched the two parties are with each other. Independents have become the kingmakers.


 

Connecticut’s Democratic governor announced Thursday the formation of a new working group to explore options and come up with a legislative proposal allowing ranked-choice voting in certain elections in the state.


 

Gov. Jared Polis faced pressure to veto the bill after The Colorado Sun reported on last-minute provisions added to the measure that will create a major barrier to efforts to overhaul the state’s election process

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