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Election Reformers Network

Our Mission is to advance nonpartisan reforms addressing significant problems in U.S. democracy, in coordination with other reform organizations; and to strengthen the reform movement in the United States through the interjection of information on global best practices in democratic institution-building.

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Many states have made changes to election laws in response to the pandemic. And those changes have led to hundreds of lawsuits.

How the rest of the world avoided Covid election chaos

With only a handful of days until Election Day, some voting procedure questions are finally being resolved. The Pennsylvania Legislature declined to allow election officials to process absentee ballots before Nov. 3. The Michigan Legislature grudgingly allowed earlier ballot processing, in some counties. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to reduce the number of ballot drop boxes is still in court.

These issues are all part of a great battle over election procedures during the pandemic. Most states expanded early voting and mail-in ballots this year, and those changes have been the center of a mind boggling 377 lawsuits, according to the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project.

We're not the only country holding elections during Covid-19. But a look at what has happened elsewhere presents a dramatic contrast with the United States, where public-health decisions became a partisan legal conflict.

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Are elected secretaries of state inherently conflicted?

Following up on Kevin Johnson's Election Dissection post Tuesday about the dangers of politicizing election fraud investigations, it's a good time to highlight the Election Reformers Network's comprehensive report examining how the presence of elected secretaries of state can undermine confidence in the vote. Secretaries of state need to be umpires, not players, in the elections they supervise, the report says.

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Gilbert Stuart/Wikimedia Commons

John Adams words still hold sway, writes Kevin Johnson.

Our laws will carry us through the 2020 election

John Adams issued a mantra amidst the American Revolution: "Ours is a country of laws not men." In today's time of turmoil, as President Trump questions the integrity of the upcoming election, the words of the second president should give us some solace.

During the debate, the current president asked for supporters to show up at the polls and "watch carefully," which sounded to some like a form of voter intimidation. Here's some perspective on the laws that govern poll watchers and political activity around polling stations.

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Big Picture
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European election monitors meet with the president of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, in 2013. The United States needs its own version of a monitoring organization, writes Larry Garber.

Proposing a commission of prominent Americans to monitor our elections

Garber has worked on overseas elections for 35 years and is on the board of the Election Reformers Network, a nonprofit founded by such international specialists now working to improve American electoral systems.

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