You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Real Representative Democracy — FairVote.org.
Our country's election process is broken. No one listening to this podcast needed election 2014’s mixed results or record low voter turn out to persuade them that our democracy’s fundamental tenet could use a tune-up. World War II was raging last time we had turn out this low and certainly a lack of trust in the system is contributing to the apathy epidemic.
But what if we could give American democracy an upgrade? That’s the optimistic — yet entirely feasible — goal of the organization Fair Vote.
According to FairVote.org, their mission "advances systemic electoral reform to achieve a fully participatory and truly representative democracy that respects every vote and every voice in every election...We promote ranked choice voting (“instant runoff”), a constitutionally protected right to vote, a national popular vote for president, and, most fundamentally, fair representation voting forms of proportional representation.”
They’ve already succeeded in getting enough jurisdictions to pass legislation supporting a popular vote for the president to equal almost two-thirds of the electoral votes needed to win the White House — an accomplishment that makes Fair Vote’s next set of concrete goals seem within reach.
“Representation 2020” seeks gender parity in elected representation. Women only make up 18% of Congress and hold under a quarter of state legislative seats — a stat that puts the U.S. well behind Ethiopia, Iraq, Afghanistan, China and Vietnam. We rank 80th in female elected officials — which should be a source of national embarrassment.
And the “Reform 2020” campaign seeks to end gerrymandering, make voting an explicit Constitutional right, bring about a national popular vote for the presidency and uphold voter choice and majority rule through ranked choice voting.
Run off voting is already implemented in San Francisco and Oakland, California; Portland, Maine; and Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. None of these city legislatures fell apart when ballot accommodations were made to make room for third party and independent candidates with built-in back-up selections for cautious voters. Even as a push for reforms nationally moves slowly but steadily, this is particular democracy enhancement is one you can demand of your local city councils and state houses.
Get involved by supporting the Fair Vote’s goals for 2020, following FairVote on social media and spreading the word about election reform, tracking pending legislation, and signing their periodic petitions.
Don’t let your anger at the broken system keep you home on election day. Instead, use it as motivation to make our democracy stronger and fight to reduce apathy by getting us closer to having every vote count and be counted.
Get involved with Fair Vote
"Voter turnout in 2014 was the lowest since WWII” via The Washington Post
”Jim Crow Returns: millions of minority voters threatened by electoral purge by Greg Palast at Al Jazeera America
Watch: Brad Friedman (@TheBradBlog) on Thom Hartmann’s The Big Picture discussing #Election2014 result reliability.
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #877 "Hair of the dog (Election)"
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich