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Democracy Madness: Electoral vote pact wins best election reform idea

In a bracket defined by upsets, it seems only fitting the underdog would be crowned champion of the Elections "region" of our reader-driven contest to come up with the single most important democracy reform proposal.

The No. 11 seed, completing the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, routed multimember congressional districts (No. 9) to seal its trip to the Democracy Madness Final Four.

Getting states to promise their electoral votes to the national (not their own states') winner of the popular vote has been gaining momentum, especially since Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 with 306 EVs — despite getting 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton.

Sixteen states and Washington, D.C. have all enacted laws binding themselves to the pact. But it only takes effect once states with a majority of 270 votes in the Electoral College join. So far the deal is about three-quarters done: The states now in the compact have a combined 196 electoral votes — although Coloradans will vote this fall on whether to pull out.

The compact has gained steam as the leading alternative to outright abandoning the Electoral College. That's a near impossibility because it would require amending the Constitution and smaller states would never agree.

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The popular vote compact barely bested independent redistricting commissions in the previous round. That way of combating partisan gerrymandering was favored to win after the first seed, popular-vote presidential elections, got skunked by the proposal to have several people represent each House district.

The popular vote compact will square off in the Final Four against ranked-choice voting, which has already won the Voting quarter of the draw.

Before getting there, champs have to be crowned in two other divisions. Sixteen proposals for reforming money in politics will go head-to-head starting Monday. After that, readers can whittle down 16 "best of the rest" ideas.

See the full regional bracket.

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