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Democracy reform: Do you have a plan for that?

Got a great idea for how to fix the electoral system? Now you can share your ideas with some of the reform community's leading researchers.

The newly created Electoral Reform Research Group put out a call this week for research papers "into how changes in electoral rules impact political participation, processes, partisanship, power, and policy outcomes."

Proposals are due Dec. 6 and selections will be discussed at a workshop in Washington in February. Chosen participants will receive a $500 honorarium and additional funds will be made available to run research programs based on the proposals.

The group is primarily focused on ranked-choice voting at this point, although its members acknowledge RCV is just one piece of the larger electoral reform debate.

"We're heavily focused on RCV because that's the live issue right now," said New America's Lee Drutman, one of the organizers of the research group. "It's getting a tremendous amount of momentum."

In addition to Drutman, this effort has been organized by Avi Green of the Scholars Strategy Network, Kevin Kosar of R Street Institute and Didi Kuo of Stanford University.

More details, including sample questions to guide proposal writing, are available here.

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Election security efforts should be expanded to cover the vendors who provide the equipment and other systems used to record and count votes, according to a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice. Here a Miami-Dade County election worker checks voting machines for accuracy.

Election equipment vendors should face more security oversight, report argues

Efforts to fend off election hackers in 2020 and beyond have revolved around protecting ballot equipment and the databases of registered voters. Little attention has been focused on the vendors and their employees.

But the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice is proposing that the vendors who make election equipment and related systems be subjected to heightened oversight and vetting, much like defense contractors or others involved in national security.

"There is almost no federal regulation of the vendors that design and maintain the systems that allow us to determine who can vote, how they vote, or how their votes are counted and reported," according to a new report from the nonpartisan policy institute.

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