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Open Government
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Pete Buttigieg, campaigning in New Hampshire on Thursday, is the only candidate who is a clear "yes" on all 17 democracy reform proposals being tracked by The Fulcrum.

Where Democrats debating in New Hampshire stand on democracy reform

Seven Democrats have been invited on stage for Friday night's debate ahead of the New Hampshire primary, including three who have vowed that their first legislative priority as president would be enacting an ambitious clean government package.

Town hall meetings and candidate coffees in the first primary state have for months featured discussions about expanding voting rights, curbing money in politics and overhauling such bedrock government institutions as the Supreme Court, the Electoral College and the Senate filibuster. But the disagreements among the candidates have been subtle, and so there's no reason to believe the moderators will find new flashpoints or cleave new divisions on democracy reform topics at the debate, being conducted at Saint Anselm College in Manchester at 8 pm Eastern.

The table below shows where the seven candidates stand on 17 of the most prominent proposals for improving the way democracy works — in areas of campaign finance, access to the ballot box, election security, political ethics and revamping our governing systems.

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A federal judge ruled a law signed last year by Gov. Kristi Noem violates the free speech rights of those who gather signatures in favor of ballot measures.

South Dakota's ballot petition circulator rules held unconstitutional

South Dakota's new regulation of people who circulate petitions for ballot initiatives is unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled.

The decision, if it withstands a potential appeal, would be a boon for advocates of direct democracy, which relies on small armies of people gathering signatures to put proposed changes to state laws before the entire electorate. Twenty-six states allow such citizen-led ballot measures.

A law signed by Republican Gov. Kristi Noem last year requires petition circulators to register with the secretary of state and provide personal information including home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. But those "extensive and burdensome" disclosure requirements discriminate against those advocating for ballot measures in violation of the First Amendment because the same rules didn't apply to people actively opposing the measures, U.S. District Judge Charles Kornmann ruled last week.

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Open Government
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Federal employees have been battered by government shutdowns and abuse from elected officials. A new survey finds them still proud of what they do but willing to leave government service.

Federal workers say they're proud of their work but would also go elsewhere

While federal workers are proud of what they do, nearly half would leave if they could get a similar job elsewhere, according to a wide-ranging survey of government employees released last week.

The survey comes at a critical time for the federal workforce, which is aging rapidly. Federal workers older than 60 outnumber those younger than 30 by nearly two to one, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Job satisfaction and retention are central indicators that the people who actually operate American democracy have some confidence it's functioning as intended.

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