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The State of Reform
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Download Unite America's free report analyzing the impact of four key political reforms.
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North Dakota court boots wide-ranging reform measure from ballot

A sweeping election reform measure has been removed from the November ballot following a North Dakota Supreme Court ruling Tuesday.

The measure would have established an independent redistricting commission as well as other changes to the election process, if approved by voters. But the high court agreed with a lawsuit that claimed voters had been misled during the signature gathering process.

This year's general election is the last opportunity for some states to approve redistricting reforms before election maps are redrawn next year. The court's decision means North Dakota's legislative districts will remain subject to partisan gerrymandering for another decade. (The state's sole seat in the U.S. House isn't subject to remapping.)

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A handful of states are in the final stretch to get anti-gerrymandering measures on the November ballot.

Four states inch closer to redistricting reform

Four states are on the cusp of approving anti-gerrymandering petitions for the November ballot, but challenges still remain.

Putting independent commissions, rather than politicians, in charge of drawing district maps is widely regarded as the most effective way to combat partisan gerrymandering. Next year, following the census, 14 states will use such commissions to draw state legislative districts, and eight will do so for congressional districts.

Getting on the November ballot and leaving it up to the voters is the last chance Arkansas, Nevada, North Dakota and Oregon have to make the switch to an independent redistricting commission before maps are redrawn for the new decade. But the Covid-19 pandemic has made gathering signatures to qualify for the ballot especially difficult.

Here are updates on redistricting reform campaigns in those states.

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Voting
True
What Is Approval Voting?

You're darn tootin': Fargo just revolutionized American elections

Peña is operations director and Raleigh is advocacy director at the Center for Election Science, which advocates for the alternative election method known as approval voting.

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Signatures in hand, system-fix measures on track in two states

Bids to get a revamp of redistricting in Arkansas and expanded election reforms in North Dakota on statewide ballots have concluded after a difficult but apparently successful season of signature gathering.

The Covid-19 pandemic's stay-at-home orders and social distancing have made collecting signatures for ballot petitions especially challenging this year. Many groups have sued to relax petitioning rules, but the campaigns in both states were rebuffed in their efforts to get permission to use electronic signatures.

Organizers of both nonetheless got several thousand more handwritten signatures than required. They turned in their piles of paperwork to state officials Monday — confident they had beaten the odds to join other prominent democracy reform initiatives where voters will have the final say in November.

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