News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
Justin Merriman/Getty Images

The latest Priorites USA lawsuit states that a pair of Michigan laws makes it "even more difficult for voters for whom voting is already difficult." This includes seniors, minority voters, the disabled and the poor.

Priorities USA files new lawsuit over ballot access in Michigan

A Democratic advocacy group has filed a lawsuit challenging Michigan laws that ban both rides to the poll for many voters and organized absentee ballot application drives.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court Tuesday by the super PAC Priorities USA, against Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, also a Democrat.

It is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed in recent weeks by Democratic groups challenging laws that they believe make it more difficult for people to vote. One of the laws the new suit challenges makes it a misdemeanor to hire a vehicle to transport voters to the polls unless the voters are not able to walk.

The second law makes it a crime to organize efforts to assist voters in submitting applications for absentee ballots.

Keep reading... Show less
Voting
True
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

"Ranked-choice voting used to be a 'nice to have' favored by academics and small liberal cities," argues Kevin Johnson.

New York City shows us how to rank civility over extremism

Johnson is executive director of the Election Reformers Network, an organization of election experts advancing nonpartisan reforms to American democratic institutions.

Americans have been long talking about different reforms to our election system, but it's a young upstart — ranked-choice voting — that is rocketing to center stage.

In New York City, most people had never heard of ranked-choice voting when the city's Charter Commission announced in April that the reform would be on the November ballot. Yet a week ago, nearly three-quarters of city voters embraced the reform, despite opposition from the NAACP and the City Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. The result tripled the number of Americans living in jurisdictions using RCV to more than 12 million, with many more likely to follow.

In part the appeal of ranked-choice voting is practical; it is a simple, intuitive change that gives citizens more choice and more impact, and ensures election results reflect the will of the majority. In places like New York that rely on runoffs, it also saves taxpayers' money.

But practicalities don't propel popular movements; ranked-choice voting is on the rise across the country because it offers hope, hope to citizens who are fed up with polarization, who want civility and consensus in an era dominated by divisiveness and discord.

Keep reading... Show less
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Computer company Hewlett Packard received a perfect score from the index for its policies on political spending disclosure.

Big companies disclosing more could-be-secret political spending, analysis shows

An increasing number of the country's largest publicly traded companies are disclosing more than ever about political spending habits that the law permits them to keep secret.

That's the central finding of the fifth annual report from a group of academics and corporate ethicists, who say the average score among the biggest companies traded on American exchanges, the S&P 500, has gone up each year since 2014.

Though corporate political action committees must disclose their giving to candidates, those numbers are very often dwarfed by the donations businesses make to the trade associations and other outside groups that have driven so much of the steady rise in spending on elections. Conservatives say robust disclosure of these behaviors is the best form of regulating money in politics and is working fine, and this new report reflects that. Those who say campaign finance needs more assertive federal regulation will argue such corporate transparency is inconsistent and inadequate to the task, and the new report underscores that.

Keep reading... Show less
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon is joined by fellow Democratic members of the House and Senate this summer to discuss legislation that would attempt to prevent hacking into the country's election systems. Intelligence officials announced late last week an outline for how to release information about possible hacks during the 2020 elections.

Intel community promising more transparency about election hacking efforts

A year from the presidential election, U.S. intelligence agencies have adopted a new framework for how they will inform candidates, groups and the public about attempts to disrupt our country's elections by foreign operatives.

But the one-page summary of the plan, released late last week, is so general that it remains unclear what the intelligence community plans to do if and when it discovers something suspicious.

The summary by the director of national intelligence states that the federal government will "follow a process and principles designed to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that notification decisions are consistent, well-informed and unbiased."

The new framework is designed to prevent a repeat of some of what happened after the 2016 election.

Keep reading... Show less