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Democracy Madness: On to the Elite Eight (Voting Division)

How low does a seed have to be to officially be a "Cinderella" team? Banning straight-ticket voting and promoting so-called STAR voting have scored big upsets, but otherwise the top seeds in the Voting division of our Democracy Madness bracket are through to the Elite Eight.

The next round starts Wednesday and continues Thursday.

Automatic voter registration and ranked-choice voting blew away their opponents in the first round, while felon voting rights and early voting both snuck through. AVR and felon voting rights are going head-to-head now. Will felon voting rights be able to pull off the upset? Or will AVR continue to crush its opponents?

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No sports on TV? Here’s democracy bracketology (Voting Division)

Democracy reform is a really broad topic — with many more ideas for fixing the system than the long list of reasons why Americans say the government's not working for them.

So which is the most transformative proposal for ending the dysfunction and putting voters back at the center of things? Since you may have more time to think during this season of social distancing, it seems a good time to ask: If you had to pick a single reform, what would it be?

We're calling this Democracy Madness.

The NCAA tournament never happened, baseball hasn't started and pro basketball and hockey are in limbo. But we all love competition, so we've seeded 64 proposals and divided them among four topical "regions."

We'll tackle a quarter of the draw at a time. Your votes on voting reforms today and tomorrow will turn the top 16 ideas into eight — two days later we'll be down to four, and so on. (Future brackets will contest ideas for reforming campaign finance, elections, civic life and Congress.)

You can click the matchups, then each label, for more about the proposals. Click the Vote Now button to get started.



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The repeal was one of the last measures cleared before Tennessee legislators cleared out of the statehouse because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tennessee abandons its crackdown on voter registration

Tennessee has repealed regulations on voter registration drives enacted less than a year ago, and under challenge in court ever since.

The rules, enacted and now abandoned by the overwhelmingly Republican General Assembly, appeared to be the strictest in the country governing efforts to sign up new voters.

Proponents said the aim of the law, which included criminal penalties for overzealous canvassers, was to prevent fraudulent sign-ups and intimidation. Opponents sued, saying the restrictions set unconstitutional limits on political behavior and were illegally designed to suppress the vote of minority groups and college students.

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Gov. Tony Evers proposed mailing a ballot to all 3.3 million registered Wisconsin voters, but the Legislature did not support his idea.

Wisconsin primary's fate at the courthouse while other states ease rules

A federal judge in Wisconsin is hearing arguments Wednesday afternoon that next week's primary must be either postponed altogether or made much more permissive for voters since it would happen near the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The battle is by far the most prominent story this week at the intersection of public health and electoral democracy. While Wisconsin remains in conflicted limbo, however, Republican officials are taking modest steps to make it easier to vote in Iowa and North Carolina until the Covid-19 outbreak has subsided, while prominent Republicans in Georgia asked the state to delay its primary a second time. At the same time, the GOP went to court as soon as most of New Mexico announced plans to conduct the June 2 primary by mail.

These are the latest developments:

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