Report: 161 Reasons to Have Hope for the Future of Democracy
Many people in the US are worried about the state of democracy in their state and the country at-large. However, a new report shows why there is still cause for hope even in a tremulous political environment.
RepresentUs recently released “We The People” as part of its 10-year anniversary celebration. The report takes a look back at the last decade in pro-voter reform successes, including 161 state and local victories to give voters better elections and a more accountable political process.
“Voters have been sounding the alarm for decades: We’ve had enough of government corruption, gridlock and partisanship getting in the way of solving problems,” said RepresentUS CEO Joshua Graham Lynn.
“Over the last 10 years, RepresentUs and the pro-democracy movement have heard that message loud and clear, harnessing grassroots energy and turning it into more than 160 victories to fix our broken system.”
A recent NBC poll showed that when presented with all the issues facing the nation at this moment in time, a fifth of respondents ranked “threats to democracy” as the most important issue.
It may not seem like a big number upon initial glance, but there is a 5-point gap between “threats to democracy” and “cost of living” which came in second at 16 percent.
Pro-voter reformers saw the warning signs. They understood the inevitable course that a manufactured two-party system would take when it is rigged to benefit only those two parties and their members – and they started to take action.
Many reform victories highlighted in the report have come in the last few years alone as pro-voter and nonpartisan election reform movements rapidly spread. Among the victories detailed in RepresentUs’s report include:
- 37 ranked choice voting wins, most of which have been at the local level, but more statewide efforts have emerged. Over 14 million people now live in a jurisdiction that uses ranked choice voting in some capacity.
- 15 anti-gerrymandering wins. Nearly 17 million people live in electoral districts where it is illegal for special interest groups or politicians to draw maps explicitly designed to keep them in power.
- 11 pro-voter wins, in this case meaning easier and more secure ways for voters to cast a ballot, something that was especially critical in the middle of a pandemic.
And these are only a few of the examples.
“We believe that our government should be of, by and for the people. By uniting unlikely allies who put country over party, we know how to win. And we’ll keep doing so until we make America the world’s strongest democracy,” said Lynn.
These efforts are also about giving voters greater confidence in elections. Many voters have lost faith and trust in the democratic process. This has allowed election deniers to emerge who, if they had their way, would overturn election results if their “team” doesn’t win or do as well as they would like.
“No doubt – free and secure elections are under unprecedented attack. But our democracy's best defense against threats is a better offense,” said RepresentUs Interim Director of Political Campaigns Megan Caska.
“When you're on the defensive, all you can do is react. We can't afford to do that. Instead, we need to get ahead of these attacks by passing laws that improve our elections and put power back in the hands of the people, not would-be corrupt politicians and special interests.”
The midterms offer more opportunities to advance pro-voter reform in cities and states across the country. This includes a new Final Five Voting proposal, which combines a nonpartisan top-5 primary with ranked choice voting in the general election, that will appear on Nevada’s ballot.
About the Author
Shawn is an election reform expert and National Editor of IVN.us. He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas. He joined the IVN team in 2012.