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Michigan Republicans are considering a plan for circumventing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer so they can enact new election rules.

As Michigan GOP magnifies push to tighten election rules, a court gets in the way

While Republican legislators in Michigan are intensifying their drive to enact the most aggressive voting curbs of the year, expecting such moves would help them in future elections, an earlier effort to preserve power has been blocked in court.

To be sure, the law struck down Monday by a federal appeals court theoretically benefits Republican and Democratic politicians equally. But the ruling could nonetheless make it tougher for the GOP's efforts to win back all three top statewide offices next year — by making it easier for minor party and independent candidates to run for those jobs.

The decision comes as Republicans in control of the Legislature have started mulling a plan for getting around Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in order to make access to the ballot box more difficult starting next year.

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New York adopted more strict ballot access rules ahead of the 2020 election, making it harder for minor political parties to qualify.

Strict N.Y. ballot access rules upheld, imperiling minor parties

One minor political party is fighting to remain on the ballot in New York, but its efforts — and those of other alternatives to the Democratic and Republican parties — were dealt a severe blow this week.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a lower court's ruling, rejecting a challenge to New York's new ballot qualification rules. The Serve American Movement (also known as the SAM Party) claimed the rule change, which increased the number of votes political parties need in order to qualify for the ballot, violated its members' First and Fourteenth amendment rights.

Democracy reform advocates argue limiting ballot access for third parties only perpetuates polarization and the two-party duopoly in America. The share of voters who don't identify with either major party has trended upward over the past two decades and is expected to continue to grow.

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Independents favored Joe Biden by 13 points nationally and in many battleground states he carried narrowly

Independents vital to Biden win, boon to a good-governance cause

Americans not aligned with either major party favored Joe Biden for president by 13 percentage points, exit polls show.

It's the biggest margin among independents in more than three decades. That's welcome evidence to those who perceive American democracy's problems as largely rooted in the major-party duopoly, and who say the system will work better if independents are awarded more political influence.

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Where were Angela Walker and Spike Cohen? The authors argue the general election debates, like Wednesday's vice presidential encounter, wrongly lock in the red and blue duopoly.

We shouldn't have only two candidates to look at in future debates

Tobin founded the Free and Equal Elections Foundation and Beckerman founded Open the Debates. Both groups advocate for reducing the influence of the two major political parties. An earlier version of this piece was published by Independent Voter News.

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