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A new nonfiction graphic novel probes democracy's challenges, inspires fixes

How did American democracy get so broken and what are the paths forward to fix it?

These complex questions are explored with levity and clarity in a new nonfiction graphic novel. In "Unrig: How to Fix Our Broken Democracy," the campaign finance reform advocate Daniel Newman dives into gerrymandering, money in politics, voting rights and more — all through comics illustrated by author and illustrator George O'Connor.

Having worked in the democracy reform space for the better part of two decades, Newman says he saw a critical need for material that explained the issues plaguing American politics, while also providing optimism and inspiration for making the system work better. Sales of the books, which start next week, will suggest whether he was right.

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Alaskans will decide this fall on switching to open primaries and ranked-choice voting. The state's tradition of rewarding political independence includes re-electing Lisa Murkowski to the Senate as a write-in after she lost the GOP primary.

Alaskans will decide on sweeping election reform plan in November

Note: The article was corrected to reflect that the referendum would not impact presidential elections.

A measure that would revamp Alaska's elections will be put to a statewide vote in November.

The package cleared the last remaining hurdle to getting on the ballot Friday, when the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that it met the requirement that referendums all relate to a single topic.

Adoption of the initiative would on a single day push Alaska to the forefront of states adopting central goals of the mainstream democracy reform movement. The proposal would replace traditional partisan primaries with a single contest open to all candidates; allow the top four finishers to advance to the November ballot; use ranked-choice voting to choose the winner; and bolster state campaign finance rules with strict new disclosure requirements.

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The Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging Montana's donor disclosure law.

Montana's tough donor disclosure law survives at Supreme Court

Montana's disclosure requirements for campaign donors will remain among the gold standards for statewide campaign finance regulation now that the Supreme Court has decided to leave the law alone.

A federal appeals court last August upheld state requirements that groups paying for political advertising reveal their funders and spending. Without comment Monday, the Supreme Court said it would not reconsider that ruling.

The decision amounts to a symbolic but not insignificant win for advocates of more openness about political spending. Campaign finance reform groups hope Montana will provide a template for other states to adopt similarly tight disclosure requirements. And they assume the high court's ruling will form a precedent protecting future state laws against similar challenges.

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According to a new survey, Americans oppose microtargeting of political ads, which depends on access to user data.

What Americans think companies should do about online political ads

A majority of Americans want internet companies to do more to regulate the flow, transparency and content of political advertising.

A Knight Foundation-Gallup survey released Monday revealed surprisingly broad consensus among Americans that social networks, not politicians, should be held accountable for the dissemination of misinformation in campaign ads.

Americans are especially opposed to the microtargeting of political ads, which means putting a spot before a highly segmented slice of the electorate by harnessing user data collected by tech platforms such as Google or Facebook. That has become one of the most hotly disputed practices in a campaign season where deceptive marketing is seen as one of the biggest challenges to a healthy democracy.

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