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Because ... 2020.

Think you know how democracy fared in 2020? Test yourself.

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic calamity will be remembered as the top stories of the year along with an extraordinarily contentious presidential contest — which faced extra challenges from Covid-19 and the incumbent president's unprecedented crusade to discredit American democracy. But the system survived, even as it got set back in some ways and improved at the margins in others.

How well do you remember the big moments in the world of democracy reform this past year? Take this quiz to find out.


Shana Broussard at her confirmation hearing last month. The Senate voted Wednesday to make her the first ever Black member of the Federal Election Commission.

Senate votes mean campaign finance agency can tackle 446-case backlog

The already minimalist regulation of federal campaign money can resume, after it was suspended for almost the entirety of the 2020 campaign, because three new members of the Federal Election Commission were confirmed Wednesday.

The Senate voted 92-4 to make Shana Broussard, a veteran FEC attorney, the first Black commissioner since the agency was created almost half a century ago. A Democrat, she was tapped because federal law requires the commission to have partisan balance. The results fell along party lines for the Republicans put forward by President Trump: 49-47 for conservative think tank attorney Allen Dickerson and 50-46 for senior Senate aide Sean Cooksey.

The confirmations will allow the FEC to get back to work just in time for the start of the 2022 midterm campaign — but too late to have any meaningful role in by far the most expensive cycle ever. The cash poured into presidential and congressional races doubled from four years ago, to $14 billion.

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Nomination Hearing for Members of the Federal Election Commission

Organizer: Senate Rules and Administration Committee

The full committee will consider the nominations of three people to serve on the Federal Election Commission: Shana M. Broussard of Louisiana, Sean J. Cooksey of Missouri and Allen Dickerson of the District of Columbia.

Location: Livestream

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If all three pending nominations are confirmed, the FEC would have a full slate of commissioners for the first time since March 2017.

The FEC may be back in business — right after the $14 billion election's over

The already minimalist regulation of money in national politics, which has been completely suspended for more than a year, may get started again. But it won't be until after the end of a campaign fueled by an astonishing $14 billion in donations and spending, some of it questionable and none of it policed.

The Senate seems likely to confirm three new members of the Federal Election Commission during its lame duck session starting the second week of November, creating the quorum needed to mop up after the voting is over — and the ocean of money has been given to and spent by congressional and presidential candidates.

A record-long logjam at the FEC started to break Wednesday, when President Trump announced nominees to fill two of the seats: Republican senior congressional aide Sean Cooksey and Democratic senior agency attorney Shana Broussard.

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