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"To the casual observer, having the ability to rank all candidates from best to worst may seem like a good thing, on the surface," writes Mike Shannon.

Here’s why political independents should hate ranked-choice voting

Shannon is the founder of, which is promoting statewide ballot initiatives to allow voters to register firm opposition to one candidate in each race.

Many reformers are partisans in disguise. Here's one way you can tell: If someone advocates for something called ranked-choice voting, they either intend to disempower independent voters by eliminating pesky independent or reform candidates to the benefit of the two-party system, or they don't fully understand how RCV works.

Many professors advocate for ranked-choice voting, which is decoy reform at best. We could just as well prohibit all independent or opposition candidates from getting on the ballot in the first place, as Russia itself has done, because that is the ultimate effect of RCV. It is designed to eliminate independent candidates.

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"Today, Mississippi is one of only two states where the winner of the popular vote does not automatically become governor," writes Gideon Cohn-Postar.

How one Southern state’s election rules perpetuate a racist past

Cohn-Postar is a graduate student in history at Northwestern University.

A lawsuit over a Mississippi election law could change the way that state elects its governor.

Four African-Americans filed the federal civil rights lawsuit in May, charging that the way their state elects its statewide officials violates the Voting Rights Act, the 14th Amendment and the principle of "one-person, one-vote."

To win election, a candidate for governor has to win an outright majority of the popular vote – and win a majority of Mississippi's 122 House districts.

If no candidate does both, the state House selects the governor, regardless of who got the most votes. No African American has been elected statewide since 1890.

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Air Force Tech. Sgt. R.J. Biermann

Hackers, academics and military experts like these were among those who spent three days hacking into all the voting equipment in wide use across the country.

No ballot box is safe: Volunteers hacked into all 100 voting machine types they went after

It wasn't the kind of test that you hope produces a perfect score. But hackers, technology geeks, academics and others were 100 for 100 this summer in their attempts to infiltrate and compromise an enormous array of voting machines using all sorts of technologies.

Their astonishing results will only boost the widespread anxiety among election security experts that American election systems remain widely vulnerable to hacking and Washington is not doing nearly enough to shrink the risks ahead of next year's presidential contest.

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"Young people care about the future of this country and we're getting involved," writes Brooke Wells.

Young people aren’t the problem with civic participation. We’re the solution.

Wells is an Ohio State University graduate who recently completed her time as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Hamilton, Ohio. She is now a city employee.

Recent research paints a bleak picture of young people's participation in civil service.

Just 7 percent of federal government employees are younger than 30 — even though, according to some estimates, millennials will soon make up three-quarters of the country's workforce. The statistics go on: The median age of government employees is three years higher than that of the United States as a whole. More federal tech workers are over 60 than under 35. A growing number of universities report that their public administration students are choosing private-sector jobs.

And beneath all the data is a pervasive sense that trust in public officials is at an all-time low. According to the Pew Research Center, less than 20 percent of millennials trust the government "always or most of the time." Millennials also feel less connected to any one political party: 44 percent of millennials say they are independents, compared to 39 percent of Generation X and 32 percent of baby boomers.

But these sobering statistics belie a trend that is beginning to emerge in cities and towns across America: Young people care about the future of this country and we're getting involved. Here are three proof points that the tide is turning for young people's civic participation.

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