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May 2024 Updates


Idaho qualifies, Sen. Sullivan meeting (R-AK), and other events around the country


Friends,

 

While the presidential race and elections in general across the U.S. feel depressing these days (we noted Pennsylvania’s deplorable 29% turnout rate in their primary last week), there is cause for optimism all across the U.S. Active ballot campaigns, led by citizens and military veterans, are popping up in states across the U.S. to make their elections more competitive, open to independents, and more in service of the majority of voters (not politicians or special interests). 

 

Check out some of the news below, and join us at upcoming events in Denver, Montana, DC, and beyond!

 

-Team VAV

VAV Highlights

Late in April, Virginia state leader and Marine Corps Veteran Issac Riddle and our Chief of Staff (pictured above) spent an afternoon gathering signatures in support of Petition 83 for open primaries and ranked-choice voting. Last week, Eric Bronner, VAV Founder, and Alex Littell, VAV Chief of Staff spent a couple of hours at Dupont Circle gathering signatures. The Make All Votes Count DC campaign team is on track to submit over 30,000 signatures by early July, to put these reforms before DC residents, for a vote, this November. Veterans for All Voters is honored to be supporting this campaign.



 

Our outstanding Board Member and Operations Director for the Afghanistan War Commission, Jeremy Butler, joined Eric Bronner, VAV Founder, and Alex Littell, VAV Chief of Staff to present an award to Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan.  At the meeting, our delegation shared about Veterans for All Voters, and thanked the Senator for his leadership in getting over 400+ military holds released last December.


 


Eric Bronner, VAV Founder, and Alex Littell, VAV Chief of Staff spent a couple of hours at Dupont Circle gathering signatures in support of Petition 83 for open primaries and ranked-choice voting. We gathered over 30 signatures. The Make All Votes Count DC campaign team is on track to submit over 30,000 signatures by early July, to put these reforms before DC residents, for a vote, this November.


 

Former Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, Jr., graciously spent some time with Eric Bronner, VAV Founder, and Alex Littell, VAV Chief of Staff at Metro 29 Diner in Arlington, Virginia.  We gave General Casey a copy of “The Primary Solution” book by Unite America’s Executive Director Nick Troiano, and we heard some great stories from an inspiring servant leader of the highest order.


 

Our VAV CEO, Todd Connor hosted a group of MBA and MPP military veterans from the University of Chicago to enlist them in our work in election reform, and to challenge them to stay in the fight, even as they take off the uniform and transition into civilian careers and life.


News from the States


Colorado


Last week, the Unite America Institute released a new report that reveals fewer than one in five eligible Colorado voters actively shape the outcomes of crucial races for the U.S. House and State Legislature.




The report outlines how “Colorado’s Primary Problem” suppresses the will of the majority and punishes cooperation on important issues, a worrying dynamic given that the state’s legislature is ranked the most polarized in the country.


Key Insights:

  • Limited Competition: In 2022, 75% of Colorado's U.S. House and 84% of state house races were safe for either Democrats or Republicans, making general elections predictable and emphasizing the primary as the decisive election.

  • Low Voter Turnout: Only 18% of eligible voters participated in consequential U.S. House races, and the turnout for state house elections was even lower at 13%.




Wisconsin

Challenges to Final Five Voting and Our Rebuttals - Brian Coker | VAV Wisconsin State Volunteer 

 

We have been fortunate enough to take part in hearings in both the Assembly and the Senate. Now that the dust has settled and we have had some time to digest all of the raw testimony and emotions associated with being in the room, I thought it would be good to summarize the arguments laid out for and against.



Final 5 Voting Coalition Meeting led by Wisco Voters First - Re-cap from VAV Wisconsin State Leader: Mark Pfost

 

"Our Final Five Coalition meeting in Baraboo was a success. About twenty-five people showed up, with a couple more on Zoom. Five were veterans--at least three being official VAV members. We discussed the progress that the coalition made in the past year and strategized on what lays ahead. Strategies may be multifaceted because this year's elections could put us on three different trajectories. Following the meeting we joined together at AL.Ringling Brewing Company for lunch. The event helped cement the teamwork and friendships developed throughout the past year."



Pennsylvania



Voter turnout didn’t even hit 30% in Pennsylvania’s presidential primary - The Philadelphia Inquirer 

 

Turnout was down statewide and across both parties in Pennsylvania’s primary on Tuesday. Just 29% of registered voters turned out to vote in the primary, down from 41% in the 2020 presidential primary election.



Idaho



Top Four Nonpartisan Primary Initiative in Idaho Surpasses 84,000 Signatures - Independent Voter News

 

An initiative that would open the taxpayer-funded electoral process in Idaho to all voters has more than 84,000 signatures, according to the group spearheading the initiative, Idahoans for Open Primaries. 



Alaska


Majority of Alaskans voted across party lines in ’22 primary, study says - Alaska Public Media

 

Alaska has the highest proportion of independent voters in the country: In 2022, the first time the state had nonpartisan, open primary elections, a majority of Alaska voters split their tickets, meaning they didn’t vote for candidates that were all from the same party.



Nevada



LetUsVote Highlights VAV Nevada State Volunteer, Mike Escobar


Mike Escobar believes that ideas and values change over time, and he thinks this is right to change your mind is a defining quality of independent voters.

 

"Anytime that you ask me about a position, I'm going to have to start it with an asterisk, like, 'disclaimer: this is based on my best knowledge at the moment and what I've been exposed to so far.' One thing that should characterize an independent person is that attitude. I feel like once you give your allegiance to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, questions stop."

North Carolina

The North Carolina Team and Better Ballot NC attended the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival this past weekend - got about 140 supporters to signup. On display was VAV gear and infographics.



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