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US Lawmakers Introduce Bill to "Open Our Democracy"

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

A bill re-introduced in the US House wants to open the electoral process for non-presidential federal elections, give voters more opportunities to vote, and reform the way electoral districts are redrawn.

The bill is called the Open Our Democracy Act of 2017 (HR2981). It was introduced by US Rep John Delaney (D-Md.), and is co-sponsored by US Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).

The bill would do 3 main things:

1. It requires every state to use a nonpartisan election system similar to California and Washington state. All candidates and voters, regardless of party affiliation, participate on a single primary ballot and the top two vote-getters move on to the general election. Peters and Kilmer run for re-election under this system.

2. It requires Election Day to be treated like a legal public holiday, which would give federal employees the day off, and encourage private companies to do the same.

3. It requires congressional redistricting in every state to be conducted by an independent redistricting commission. The bill says each state can determine the structure of the redistricting commission as long as it doesn't use "partisan or political considerations" to develop a redistricting plan and the commission is not controlled by any party.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on House Administration, as well as the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Judiciary.

Read the full bill:

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