You're invited to join us in Washington, DC for a special awards ceremony to celebrate our successes this year and raise awareness about our reforms. We need to bring ranked choice voting and fair representation system to more cities and states across the country and, ultimately, to Congress. Join us as we honor genuine heroes with our 2019 Champion of Democracy Awards.
Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2168, 45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC
Blades is co-founder of Living Room Conversations, which organizes gatherings designed to increase understanding and reveal common ground.
Thought experiment: What if all the leaders in Washington decided tomorrow that climate change was the No. 1 issue to address? Evidence suggests this would not be as helpful as many people think. Consider health care, a No. 1 issue for decades. How does the U.S. health care system stack up? It is the most expensive in the world per capita and it isn't even in the top 10 in terms of outcomes. The fact is, importance isn't the determining variable for achieving success. We need to be able to work together.
Weaving the fabric of our democracy locally and nationally is a massive challenge. The people behind Living Room Conversations are meeting that challenge by offering an open-source project that can be used by mobile users at the beach as easily as in a living room or library.
Sometimes we worry that our name may confuse people. Living Room Conversations aren't limited by location, geography or time zone. They are happening every day in churches, libraries, schools, book stores, city community centers and virtual conference spaces. These six-person, structured conversations are designed to be self-directed, easily accessible, and welcoming to a broad array of perspectives. The structure includes conversation agreements that support comfort and safety.
UPDATE: This story was updated Thursday morning with new developments
The recent run of success for advocates of ranked-choice voting surged forward Wednesday, then unexpectedly stalled.
The Democratic-controlled legislature in Maine, already the only place where the system is used for congressional contests, cleared legislation that would make the state the first where ranked-choice voting is used in presidential contests.
But the lawmakers ended their regular session late Wednesday night without completing the final, procedural and almost always pro forma steps necessary to deliver the bill to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, whose signature seems assured. As a result, the bill will remain in limbo until legislators return to Augusta, giving its Republican opponents time to mount a last-ditch effort to derail the measure .
When the clock strikes 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 3, and Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential choosing gets going in schools, churches and libraries across the state, it is quickly going to become clear how the process for selecting the Democratic nominee has changed dramatically.
For one thing, a kind of multiple-choice question will play an important part in the results announced that night.
The changes, in response to concerns the system has been rigged in favor of establishment candidates, will make it easier for more Democratic voters to participate in the selection process and improve the chances the winner truly reflects the wishes of rank-and-file members of the party.
At the same time, the new systems for culling the field in Iowa and elsewhere have the potential to sow confusion among voters and those trying to explain the results to the public, leave the views of some voters unrepresented among the delegates who are chosen, and give campaigns the ability to muddy the outcome.
The biggest changes:
- At least 10 states have switched to primaries, leaving Iowa, Nevada and Wyoming as the only states sure to remain reliant on caucuses.
- Iowa and as many as five other states will see the presidential debut of ranked-choice voting, in which voters rank the candidates in order of preference -- and some win delegates because they're the second, third or fourth options for plenty of voters.