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The State of Reform
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Florida high court's ruling in felon voting case is hardly the final word


Florida high court's ruling in felon voting case is hardly the final word

Republicans hoping to limit the newly restored voting rights of convicted felons in Florida have won the backing of the state Supreme Court. But it's really just a victory in the court of public opinion, because the justices issued only an advisory opinion Thursday while the real decision is up to the federal courts.

At issue is a law passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature last year to implement a state constitutional amendment approved in 2018 with the support of almost two-thirds of the electorate, restoring voting rights to about 1.4 million Floridians with criminal records.

It is the largest single expansion of voting rights in the country since 18-year-olds got the constitutional right to cast ballots half a century ago. But its reach could be sharply limited if Republicans successfully defend the financial curbs they want to impose.

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State court races eyed by Democratic group central to gerrymandering fight

The campaign operation backed by Barack Obama and Eric Holder is expanding its sights.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee was created by the former president and his attorney general to elect more Democratic legislators who could help the party in the coming nationwide remapping of congressional districts. Now it's growing its ambitions to include some judicial elections.

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The first target is a pair of Supreme Court elections in Ohio. That's because winning both would tip the partisan balance of the court, and those justices are likely to end up deciding the lines for the 15 House districts that the seventh largest state is likely to have in the coming decade, one fewer than today.

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More people deciding is bad for democracy, think tank argues

What's one good way to fix dysfunction in American democracy? A centrist think tank has come up with a very counterintuitive answer:

Give the voters even less say over how their presidential candidates get nominated.

A white paper released this week by The New Center argues that the leaders of the political parties — not primary voters — should have the predominant voice in deciding which candidates best represent the ideals, norms and goals of the party.

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Meet the reformer: Ted Wetzel, who's got civic secrets to share

A lifelong resident of the Cleveland area, Ted Wetzel is an engineer who spent five years at a Fortune 500 company, 17 years in marketing and management at smaller manufacturers, and then 11 years as a small-business owner before turning to his passion project. He created Fighting to Understand to spread the message that civic education and a collaborative spirit among everyday Americans can restore the core values of a democratic republic for the next generation. With a diverse group of 18 collaborators, in October he self-published the first edition of a book now titled "9 Secrets for Avoiding Divided We Fall" and is working on a plan for widespread distribution this spring. His answers have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

What's democracy's biggest challenge, in 10 words or less.

Most people don't want freedom; they would settle for a just master. (I'm not sure who to attribute this verse to.)

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On the trail in New Hampshire, Democrats seem caught in the middle on democracy reform

"Democrats have handed some rhetorical whoppers to opponents of democratic reforms. And such statements ... send a very bad message," argues producer Kevin Bowe.


United Against Corruption Rally

Join organizations like American Promise, Public Citizen and Take Back Our Republic on Jan. 20 in Washington to attend a rally against corruption. Hear from powerful speakers in the democracy reform movement, learn how the corruption of our government affects the lives of real people, and be presented with different ways to get involved.

We’re all about the issues that have broken American democracy — and efforts to make governments work again for you, your family and your friends.
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