Skip to content

Latest Stories

Top Stories

Partisan fight over Wisconsin's next maps gets a head start

Wisconsin Legislature

Wisconsin's new election maps will almost certainly be disputed in court after the Democratic governor vetoes the GOP-led Legislature's proposal.

Coy St. Clair/Getty Images

Wisconsin's next election maps will almost certainly be drawn by judges, and deciding which ones could have a profound impact on the dynamics of redistricting and the state's political balance of power for a decade.

Conservatives launched a bid Wednesday to steer the task to the state Supreme Court, which has a reliably right-leaning majority, and away from the less predictable federal courts that have refereed the process in the past.

The coming dispute will be watched closely by critics of partisan gerrymandering. They are keen to prevent a repeat of a successful Republican line-drawing effort a decade ago that has preserved outsized GOP power in the decidedly purple state.

Once the delayed-by-coronavirus census counts are done next year, Republicans assured to remain in control of the Legislature will get the first crack at drawing legislative and congressional boundaries — and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will almost as surely veto them. State law says a court then dictates the final maps.

Realizing this, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty asked the state's highest court on Wednesday to assert its appropriate jurisdiction over the process. The think tank and law firm, which is also spearheading the effort to get hundreds of thousands of names scratched from voter rolls before Election Day, is working in collaboration with Scott Jensen, a formerly powerful GOP speaker of the state House.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

The seven-member Supreme Court will have four elected Republican members next year, which gives conservatives confidence the maps would favor the party as much as possible.

The current maps, which will be used one more time in November, have benefitted the GOP without fail — especially two years ago, when Republicans won 63 of the 99 state House seats with just 45 percent of the overall legislative vote, and five of the eight U.S. House seats with just 46 percent of the overall congressional vote.

The think tank is basing its argument on how the state's top court responded to redistricting litigation in 2001. When a divided government couldn't agree on maps the plans were sent to the Supreme Court, but it deferred to a federal court because it didn't have a protocol for how to handle the issue. The justices said procedures for future redistricting litigation should be created, but they never did so.

"It is time to redeem that promise," the group said in a filing asking the court to get the job done in time.

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