10 Most Popular IVN Articles from 2014

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IVN is built on the idea that anyone who is willing to participate in the news, under the simple etiquette, should be able to speak for themselves. As a result, IVN’s content reaches millions of readers every month, over 100,000 readers follow our news on Facebook, and IVN continues to be the fastest-growing news source for independent-minded voters.

To date, over 8,700 articles have been published since the first iteration launched in 2008. Since few readers will have the time to look through all 8,700 the editorial team has complied a list of the 10 most popular articles from this year.

10. Congress Quietly Passes Bill Allowing Feds Unlimited Access to Your Private Communications

When the Senate intelligence Committee released its ‘torture report’ this month, coverage of perhaps a far more important development was over-shadowed. That same day, a bill called the “Intelligence Authorization Act for 2015” was passed by the Senate and then again by the House the next day.

According to Justin Amash (R-Mich.) the bill, “authorizes ‘the acquisition, retention, and dissemination’ of nonpublic communications, including those to and from U.S. persons. The section contemplates that those private communications of Americans, obtained without a court order, may be transferred to domestic law enforcement for criminal investigations.”

9. NJ Attorney General: 2.6 Million NJ Voters Have No Right to Vote in Primary

In May New Jersey’s Attorney General, John J. Hoffman, filed a motion on behalf of the Secretary of State defending the constitutionality of New Jersey’s closed primary election system. In it they argue that unaffiliated New Jersey voters do not have a right to vote in primary elections, but political parties have a right to use taxpayer dollars to fund them.

The state’s position calls into question whose interests are being represented by the Secretary of State: almost 2.6 million voters in New Jersey, or the two largest political parties in the country.

8. While Troops Suffer With Pay Cuts, Members of Congress Want Higher Salaries 

This year was not the best for men and women in uniform. A scandal at the Veterans Affairs department, frequent changes to their top brass, and budgetary uncertainties were just a few developments from the past year. Yet traditional media continues to overlook issues that impact members of the military and their families.

IVN writer Wendy Innes has kept a close eye on veterans and military affairs to help fill the gap. In February, changes to defense budgeting were set to disproportionately impact lower ranked personnel and the story that followed generated a lot of buzz.

7. America: Merging a Constitutional Democracy and a Republic 

The true nature of America’s governmental system is often misconstrued to be the flawless embodiment of an ideal democracy or the perfect republic. Yet, as IVN writer Joshua Alvarez explains, the American system is far more nuanced than any one political archetype can lay claim to:

America is democratic, but it is also a republic. Democracy and republicanism, though related, are also opposed, much like the American political parties that bear those names.

6. Torture is Wrong: Once You Accept This, Most of the Talking Points Don’t Matter

In response to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report documenting the CIA’s interrogation practices following September 11, 2001, IVN author Michael Austin wrote a provocative article against the use of torture, “regardless of the citizenship of the accused.”

Michael Austin is known to contribute very thought-provoking pieces, but this article garnered over 17,000 social interactions, making it one of IVN’s most talked about articles on Facebook in 2014.

5. How Do I Vote: Everything You Need to Know by State

In addition to a dedicated California Election Center, writer Michael Higham compiled a comprehensive guide to every state’s election process. It includes each state’s type of primary election process, information regarding how to register to vote, the latest voter registration statistics and much more.

4. In Defense of Mike Rowe: Stop Saying He Represents Wal-Mart

In late February the media decided it would capitalize on feigned-outrage over Dirty Jobs star, Mike Rowe’s appearance in a television commercial promoting Wal-Mart. The narrative quickly became that Mike Rowe was betraying the ‘every-man’ by evangelizing for a Wal-Mart sponsored corporate takeover.

As a result, IVN’s editor-in-chief Shawn Griffiths penned one of this year’s most popular op-eds defending Rowe against the media hype machine. The article became one of this year’s most popular on IVN in no small part thanks to Rowe himself who shared it on his social media. Thanks Mike!

3. Controversy Surrounds Wounded Warriors, Lavish Salaries, and White House

This in-depth investigative report from writer, Ryan Schuette, was met with criticism shortly after publication. Critics disagreed with Schuette’s conclusion that speculative media sensationalism surrounding the Wounded Warriors charity was unwarranted and that it “doesn’t appear to be the nonprofit that critics — specifically those in the online vet community — say dupes donors into funneling money that never reaches wounded veterans.”

Read the article and decide for yourself.

2. Why Political Parties Control Elections

One of IVN’s most enduring articles is IVP’s examination of why and how political parties have managed to capture publicly-funded elections across the nation. At a time when most elections are decided in partisan primaries where less than 10 percent of voters nationwide participate, it’s no wonder why congressional approval is at historic lows and partisanship is at a historic high.

While it was first published in 2013, it still holds a strong #2 spot this year.

1. 5 States Most Likely to Legalize Marijuana Next

Like 2012 before it, 2014 was a landmark year for marijuana legalization proponents. Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. voted this year to legalize the federally controlled substance and oddly enough all three were on the list that was published in January.

Author, Wes Messamore’s predictions were pretty much spot on; even though D.C. isn’t a state but who wants to split hairs? Two other states, California and Massachusetts also made the list but have yet to legalize the controlled substance. That could mean legalization is just around the corner in the Golden and Bay States.