This past weekend, leaders from several election reform organizations met in Denver, Colorado, at “Unrig the System,” an event aimed at educating the state’s residents on how to effect change in their own backyard.
Over seventy people gathered to hear presentations from those spearheading election reform efforts across the state and to learn what concrete steps they could take to help support those efforts.
Former Colorado State Senator Ron Tupa presented on behalf of Fair Districts Fair Elections and discussed an upcoming initiative to combat gerrymandering by ensuring that the committees that draw the district maps have nonpartisan members and that any map must be approved by at least one of the nonpartisan members.
The districts must also be drawn to be as competitive as possible so voters have a true choice.
Clean Slate Now and Represent.Us are backing an initiative in Denver called Democracy for the People. They want Denver’s campaign finance laws to be updated to coincide with state rules, including lowering individual contribution limits and forcing candidates to disclose their donors.
The initiative would also set up a publicly-funded program where donations of $50 and under are matched by the City of Denver at a rate of 9 to 1, thereby amplifying small donations.
The League’s representative described a number of methods that are already in use, including approval voting and ranked choice voting, which RCV for Colorado is aiming to institute in cities across Colorado.
Representatives from Wolf-PAC Colorado spoke about trying to overturn Citizens United through a 28th Amendment via an Article V convention. They also led a skill-building workshop on citizen lobbying.
Centrist Project’s Nick Troiano spoke about how Colorado is ripe for independent candidates to enter office, and how just a few independents in the legislature could act as a swing vote coalition in governments like Colorado’s which is very evenly divided between the two major parties.
Chad Peace from the Independent Voter Project spoke about ways to get independent voters engaged in the election process and the need for open primaries and other means of preventing the disenfranchisement of those who choose not to join a political party.
The event wrapped with a question and answer segment in which each organization gave actionable steps attendees could take to further the reforms described.