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The State of Reform
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Revamp of San Diego elections dies despite broad reform group push

Griffiths is the editor of Independent Voter News, where a version of this story first appeared.

An election overhaul in the nation's eight largest city, designed to expand voters' viable choices and minimize polarization, has been killed by the San Diego City Council.

A broad coalition of democracy reform advocacy groups had made it a top priority to get a referendum revamping the municipal voting process on the November ballot, viewing the city as receptive to the plan. But the proposal was blocked Tuesday by the council on a 5-4 vote.

If adopted, San Diego would have replaced traditional partisan primaries for each office with a single contest open to all candidates, with the top four finishers advancing to a November election decided by ranked-choice voting.

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Harmeet Dhillon, one of the state's Republican National Committee members, says a new law's extension for postal delays creates "a lot of opportunity for mischief."

California will mail ballots to all and count those arriving 17 days late

Griffiths is the editor of Independent Voter News.

Ballots will be delivered to every registered, active California voter this fall under a law signed Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The measure assures everyone in the nation's most populous state will be able to vote by mail in the presidential contest. It's the biggest single expansion so far of this alternative for the general election, when a surge of interest in absentee balloting nationwide seems guaranteed as a result of the coronavirus.

The bill also assures the outcome of close contests won't be known until nearly Thanksgiving, because a provision mandates that envelopes postmarked by Election Day be tabulated if they arrive as long as 17 days later. No other state has that long a grace period to allow for slow postal service.

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Big Picture
Unbreaking America: Justice for Sale

New film argues political corruption prevents criminal justice reform

Griffiths is the editor of Independent Voter News.

Current events have turned everyone's attention to the nation's criminal justice system. Most Americans agree that the system is broken. Yet, in a new "Unbreaking America" film, RepresentUs makes the case that the criminal justice system remains broken because the broken U.S. political system keeps it that way.

"Even though crime rates across the U.S. are going down, America locks up seven times more people now than we did in 1970," actor and RepresentUs Cultural Council member Omar Epps says in the opening. "We, as Americans, put more people behind bars than any other nation in the world — both as a percentage of population and in total numbers."

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