Donate
News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
MOST READ
Big Picture
AFP/Getty Images

The last such referendum, in 2017, went overwhelmingly for statehood -- but opponents boycotted the contest.

Puerto Ricans will vote this fall to seek statehood or independence

Puerto Rico will vote on whether to seek statehood or independence in November, the latest ballot measure posing a fundamental question about the future of American democracy.

The outcome of the referendum will compel the island's government to negotiate with Washington the details of one of those options for ending a system in place for 70 years: Puerto Ricans are American citizens who are exempt from federal income taxes and have significant local autonomy, but in return they get much less federal aid than the states and have no electoral votes or voting members of Congress.

The referendum is ultimately non-binding because Congress and the president would have to agree to end Puerto Rico's current commonwealth arrangement. But the result will still send a signal about the desires of Americans now lacking full democratic rights – and could intensify or deflate momentum for statehood in Washington, D.C.

Keep reading... Show less

USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative: Washington

Organizer: University of Southern California — Election Cybersecurity Initiative

Because of the COVID-19 virus, we are facing unprecedented changes to our election landscape. Cybersecurity is more important than ever, and we now have to view it through a different lens. At our virtual workshop, we will be discussing primary date changes, direct mail voting, facts you need to know and best practices for cyber safety. Campaigns, policymakers, thought-leaders and concerned citizens alike need objective, factual tools and information to help them secure campaigns and elections. The USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative is a brand new non-partisan independent project, supported by Google, to help protect campaigns and elections from cyber attacks.

Join us for a virtual workshop, designed to help protect campaigns and elections in this critical election year. Information for joining the call will be emailed to you 24-48 hours in advance of the workshop.

Location: Webinar

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge claiming Seattle's democracy vouchers are unconstitutional.

Seattle's public funding for candidates survives Supreme Court challenge

A constitutional challenge to Seattle's "democracy voucher" program, the only system of its kind for subsidizing political campaigns with taxpayer funds, has fallen on deaf ears at the Supreme Court.

Two property owners in the city maintained the unique system violates their First Amendment rights by compelling them, through their tax payments, to support candidates they oppose. The justices turned down their appeal Monday without comment.

It was a rare bit of good news for advocates of reducing the influence of big money on politics, who have been disappointed by almost every campaign finance decision by the high court in the past decade.

Keep reading... Show less
live.staticflickr.com

"What we've seen in Seattle and the state is that there is no quick fix to Citizens United," writes Cindy Black. "Instead, a holistic approach is needed."

With democracy reform stalled on Capitol Hill, local and state solutions needed

Black is executive director of Seattle-based Fix Democracy First, which advocates for campaign finance, election access and voting rights reforms.

While important democratic reforms continue to stall in the Senate, activists in some states and municipalities are showing there's another way.

In Washington state, we've created a blueprint to rein in money in politics that can work elsewhere.

We've shown that a combination of public financing of elections, increasing access to the ballot, requiring nonprofits to disclose their top donors and coming up with creative ways to restrict the flow of corporate cash into politics can go a long way in returning government to the people.

Keep reading... Show less
© Issue One. All rights reserved.