Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Mapmaking commission effort comes up way short in Nevada

Nevada congressional districts
mapchart.net

Nevada will remain a state where politicians get to draw the election boundaries they run in. Advocates for turning the mapmaking over to an independent panel have conceded defeat.

Fair Maps Nevada announced Tuesday it was able to collect only 12,000 of the 98,000 signatures required to get their proposal on the November ballot, giving up a week ahead of the deadline. The group said it was stymied by the social distancing and safety protocols mandated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Assigning independent commissions to draw congressional and legislative district lines, instead of the state legislators themselves, is widely regarded as the best way to combat partisan gerrymandering. This year's election is effectively the last chance for states to make the switch in time for the maps being drawn for the next decade.


Fair Maps Nevada sued in May in search of relief from some of the petition requirements given the public health crisis. Last month, a federal judge granted the group a six-week extension, until next Wednesday, but denied its bid to gather signatures electronically.

"This is not the end of our efforts," the group said in its concession announcement, which promised to lay the groundwork for a successful referendum in two years, in plenty of time for the 2031 redistricting. "We will build a database of 'Pledge to Sign' supporters who will be ready to sign a new petition when we refile our redistricting reform ballot question.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Over the next 15 months, Fair Maps Nevada aims to reach 200,000 people who promise to sign its new petition at the end of next year. The group will also host monthly forums on anti-gerrymandering efforts.

Because of delays in the census thanks to the coronavirus, a special session of the solidly Democratic state Legislature will probably be convened in the fall of 2021 to draw the 63 legislative and four House districts for the rest of the decade. Fair Maps vowed that its supporters will flood Carson City "as an observer corps to ensure our new redistricting maps are fair and free from gerrymandering."

Fourteen states are sure to use independent commissions to draw state legislative districts next year, and eight will do so for congressional districts.

Virginia will join this group if voters approve a measure on the November ballot. On the other hand, Missouri voters will decide whether to undo a redistricting initiative enacted two years ago. Efforts to get commission measures on the ballot are still alive in Arkansas, North Dakota and Oregon.

Read More

Trump and Biden at the debate

Our political dysfunction was on display during the debate in the simple fact of the binary choice on stage: Trump vs Biden.

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The debate, the political duopoly and the future of American democracy

Johnson is the executive director of the Election Reformers Network, a national nonpartisan organization advancing common-sense reforms to protect elections from polarization.

The talk is all about President Joe Biden’s recent debate performance, whether he’ll be replaced at the top of the ticket and what it all means for the very concerning likelihood of another Trump presidency. These are critical questions.

But Donald Trump is also a symptom of broader dysfunction in our political system. That dysfunction has two key sources: a toxic polarization that elevates cultural warfare over policymaking, and a set of rules that protects the major parties from competition and allows them too much control over elections. These rules entrench the major-party duopoly and preclude the emergence of any alternative political leadership, giving polarization in this country its increasingly existential character.

Keep ReadingShow less
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Voters should be able to take the measure of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., since he is poised to win millions of votes in November.

Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty Images

Kennedy should have been in the debate – and states need ranked voting

Richie is co-founder and senior advisor of FairVote.

CNN’s presidential debate coincided with a fresh batch of swing-state snapshots that make one thing perfectly clear: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may be a longshot to be our 47th president and faces his own controversies, yet the 10 percent he’s often achieving in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and other battlegrounds could easily tilt the presidency.

Why did CNN keep him out with impossible-to-meet requirements? The performances, mistruths and misstatements by Joe Biden and Donald Trump would have shocked Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, who managed to debate seven times without any discussion of golf handicaps — a subject better fit for a “Grumpy Old Men” outtake than one of the year’s two scheduled debates.

Keep ReadingShow less
I Voted stickers

Veterans for All Voters advocates for election reforms that enable more people to participate in primaries.

BackyardProduction/Getty Images

Veterans are working to make democracy more representative

Proctor, a Navy veteran, is a volunteer with Veterans for All Voters.

Imagine this: A general election with no negative campaigning and four or five viable candidates (regardless of party affiliation) competing based on their own personal ideas and actions — not simply their level of obstruction or how well they demonize their opponents. In this reformed election process, the candidate with the best ideas and the broadest appeal will win. The result: The exhausted majority will finally be well-represented again.

Keep ReadingShow less
Person voting at a dropbox in Washington, D.C.

A bill moving through Congress would only allow U.S. citizens to vote in D.C. municipal eletions.

Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

The battle over noncitizen voting in America's capital

Rogers is the “data wrangler” at BillTrack50. He previously worked on policy in several government departments.

Should you be allowed to vote if you aren’t an American citizen? Or according to the adage ‘No taxation without representation’, if you pay taxes should you get to choose the representatives who help spend those tax dollars? Those questions are at the heart of the debate over a bill to restrict voting to U.S. citizens.

Keep ReadingShow less
people walking through a polling place

Election workers monitor a little-used polling place in Sandy Springs, Ga., during the state's 2022 primary.

Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

What November election? Half of the U.S. House is already decided.

Troiano is the executive director ofUnite America, a philanthropic venture fund that invests in nonpartisan election reform to foster a more representative and functional government. He’s also the author of “The Primary Solution.”

Last month, Americans were treated to an embarrassing spectacle: Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) tradingpersonal insults related to “fake eyelashes” and a “bleach blonde bad built butch body” during a late-night committee hearing. Some likened it to Bravo’s “Real Housewives” reality TV series, and wondered how it was possible that elected officials could act that way and still be elected to Congress by the voters.

The truth is, the vast majority of us don’t actually elect our House members — not even close. Less than 10 percent of voters in Crockett’s district participated in her 2024 Democratic primary, which all but guaranteed her re-election in the safe blue district. Greene ran unopposed in her GOP primary — meaning she was re-elected without needing to win a single vote. The nearly 600,000 voters in her overwhelmingly red district were denied any meaningful choice. Both contests were decided well before most voters participate in the general election.

Keep ReadingShow less