Unrig the System? Reform Association Solicits “Breakthrough Projects” that Challenge Both Parties

The impressive momentum for progress in national electoral reform projects and campaigns owes much to the influential recent wins and viable initiatives underway across the country, including:

So how does our growing electoral reform movement build a cohesive, comprehensive strategy that can guide thoughtful, disciplined, and tactical choices that can systematically propel the movement forward over the next five or ten years? What projects should we encourage our membership and friendly funders to get behind to demand more competition in elections and among candidates, plus greater voter participation, that can challenge the duopoly’s stranglehold on politics to get our politics and elected government back on track?

Over time and with sustained focus, our reforms can collectively build on our victories, learn from our setbacks, recruit more fellow reform travelers, and demonstrate that putting more competition into our politics is a good thing for the Republic.
Jim Jonas, Executive Director of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers

Most importantly, how can we build confidence and trust among fellow reformers and friendly funders to acknowledge that there is no “silver bullet” answer to all that ails a dysfunctional political/electoral system? Instead, this movement will flourish when it makes smart, thoughtful choices to support a range of reforms that each address pieces and parts of the long-term solution.

Over time and with sustained focus, our reforms can collectively build on our victories, learn from our setbacks, recruit more fellow reform travelers, and demonstrate that putting more competition into our politics is a good thing for the Republic.

The National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers (NANR) was founded as a roundtable of electoral reformers collectively committed to promote, advance and channel the best reform ideas. We’re not in the business of creating a new bureaucracy or to exist for the sake of existing. Our members’ collective hope is to be so successful at nonpartisan electoral reform to remove the need for our association to exist at all.

Instead, we’re all seeking great ideas, great projects, and great reform campaigns that will put us all out of business because we won’t be needed. And the sooner the better.

To address these questions and challenges, the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers (NANR) has launched the “Breakthrough Reform Projects” initiative to seek out, support, fund and nurture electoral reform projects that can catalyze similar reforms across the country and channel smart funding dollars to smartly grow our movement going forward.

Here’s how it will work:

  • NANR is actively seeking nominations for breakthrough reform projects, campaigns and initiatives through our website (go to nonpartisanreformers.org/breakthrough to nominate your own project or one we should consider). We’ll review projects for near-term funding among those submitted by July 31, 2018);
  • Working with our honorary co-chairs, Michael Porter and Katherine Gehl, the NANR board of directors will review and consider nominated projects using Michael and Katherine’s landmark paper on bringing more competition to politics as a filter and guideline for vetting nominated projects for their shovel-readiness, ability to propel the reform movement forward, cost effectiveness, and their potential catalytic influence for other national reforms. (Please read: “Why Competition in the Politics Business is Failing America: A Strategy for Reinvigorating Democracy”)
  • NANR is planning intimate gatherings to bring together national funders to collectively consider vetted projects for funding opportunities;
  • On Friday, November 30, 2018, NANR will host a national summit of reformers to review funding decisions, consider what’s working and not working, and collaborate among members for refining our long-term strategic planning. (The November summit is open only to members of the association. We encourage every reform organization to consider joining us – find membership information here.)
  • NANR will promote and publicize the standout reform projects to the media, our membership and other reform-minded friends and colleagues.

By building a systematic process, we hope to bring some orderly strategy and supporting tactics that will demonstrate to funders and other influencers that the movement can come together to discover and then smartly nurture reforms that will challenge the failing duopoly. It’s a critical component of our association’s charter and rationale to help our membership – the leading electoral reform organizations in the country – to bring together our roundtable of influencers and reform leaders to help drive effective change.

We invite every nonpartisan electoral reformer – groups, campaigns, individuals, vendors — to consider joining our association. And we strongly encourage reformers with an active project (or a really great idea that isn’t yet off the ground) to nominate their project for consideration as a Breakthrough Reform Project.

We look forward to sharing some great breakthrough reform ideas soon!