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FairVote

FairVote is a nonpartisan champion of electoral reforms that give voters greater choice, a stronger voice, and a representative democracy that works for all Americans. Since 1992, we have been a nonpartisan trailblazer that advances and wins electoral reforms at the local, state, and national level through strategic research, communications, strategic advocacy and collaboration. Our engagement in influential research has helped dramatically expand use of ranked choice voting and forms of proportional representation in local elections.

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Khalid Pitts

Khalid Pitts at the National Press Club is 2018 with his wife, Diane Gross, his partner in running Cork Wine Bar and Market in Washington, D.C.

Meet the reformer: Khalid Pitts, making a fresh career switch into the fix-the-system world

This month Khalid Pitts became executive vice president for policy and programs at FairVote, one of the most visible advocates for more ranked-choice voting, multimember legislative districts and other election system reforms. It's a sharp turn in a diverse two-decade career, most recently with six years at the political consulting firm Democracy Partners. Over the past decade he's also held sometimes overlapping roles during the past decade as the Sierra Club's political director, senior lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union and president of USAction, a coalition of progressive community organizing groups. He remains co-owner of the Cork Wine Bar and Market in Washington, where he's made one run for office — losing a city council race six years ago. His answers have been edited for clarity and length.

What's the tweet-length description of your organization?

FairVote is helping lead the way in opening more access to our democracy, reforming our electoral system and moving us a step closer to our country becoming that more "Perfect Union" we all strive for.

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When Nevada held its primary in February, voters were allowed to cast ballots early and rank their preferred candidates.

Why ranked-choice voting should be a part of the coronavirus elections fix

Richie is president and Daley a senior fellow at FairVote, a nonpartisan electoral reform group that promotes ranked-choice voting. This month Daley published "Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy" (Liveright).

So much has changed in American life, and so quickly, that it's hard to believe it's been just four weeks since former Vice President Joe Biden shocked Sen. Bernie Sanders with a rout on Super Tuesday.

A race that had been unsettled for months, seemingly bound for a brokered convention, shifted decisively in Biden's direction over the course of just 72 hours. Several competitors exited the race and offered their endorsements, strong performances across the South gave him a large delegate lead and then Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren gave up as well.

Imagine for a moment that it hadn't worked out that way. Imagine Tom Steyer got closer to Biden in South Carolina, and Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar pressed on. Suppose Bloomberg's early momentum continued and it was only Warren who dropped out, prompting progressives to consolidate behind Sanders against a still-fractured field.

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Mario Tama/Getty Imagges

Many California voters cast their ballots in advance of the Super Tuesday primary on March 3. Hundreds of thousands of those ballots supported candidates who withdrawn by primary day.

1.6 million votes 'wasted' on Democratic also-rans so far. Would RCV help?

The growth in early voting has exploded in recent years with more opportunities to cast ballots in person or by mail, and thereby avoid lines on Election Day.

But a downside to the convenience has been exposed by this year's Democratic presidential contest, where an ocean of votes have been cast for candidates who dropped out by the time primary day arrived.

FairVote, a nonpartisan group that champions ranked-choice voting, is highlighting these "wasted" or "lost" votes — saying most of them would not really be squandered if the alternative election method was embraced, allowing Democrats to signal support for several candidates including the two who remain viable.

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What is Ranked Choice Voting?

Organizer: Nonprofit VOTE

A new trend in election reform is sweeping municipalities and states across the country. Ranked choice voting is a different way to hold elections and allow people to have their choices represented in office. But it can sound a little complicated- at first!

Get a thorough understanding of RCV - how it works, where it's happening, and why it can be a more effective model for electing candidates to office. Drew Penrose, Law and Policy Director at FairVote, will be our featured speaker and answering your questions about ranked choice voting.

Location: Webinar

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