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PRO-DEMOCRACY BALLOT MEASURES WIN BIG IN 2020
In divided country, election reform sweeps state and local elections
Washington, D.C. — (November 10, 2020) Voters did not just choose a president on November 3—in states and cities across the country they quietly approved a suite of pro-democracy ballot measures. From campaign finance reform in solid-blue Oregon, to protecting direct democracy in deep-red North Dakota, voters approved election laws that put more power in the hands of citizens, and rejected laws that would have taken it away.
The pro-democracy reforms passed on Nov. 3, 2020 include:
- Redistricting: With the next round of map-drawing around the corner, Virginia’s Amendment 1 takes the power to draw legislative districts out of the hands of the legislature, and puts it into the hands of a bipartisan citizen-led commission. It also adds voting rights protections for minority communities to the Virginia constitution. The legislature referred the measure to the ballot with bipartisan support. Amendment 1 passed with nearly two-thirds of the vote.
- Campaign finance: In Oregon, Measure 107 passed with over 77 percent of the vote. The measure amends the state constitution to allow the legislature or citizen initiatives to increase transparency, limit contributions, and root out the influence of dark money in Oregon’s politics.
- Direct democracy: Voters rejected two proposals that would have undermined the ballot measure process. North Dakota’s Measure 2 would have required that any ballot measure passed by voters be submitted to the state legislature for approval. If rejected, the measures would have then needed to be passed by voters a second time in the next election. Arkansas Issue 3 proposed several changes that would have made it more difficult for citizens to initiate ballot measures. These would have included changing the signature requirements and signature deadline for citizen-initiated measures. Fifty-five percent of Arkansas voters and 61 percent of North Dakota voters rejected the measures.
- Voting Reforms: Ranked Choice Voting was adopted by five cities: Boulder, Colorado; Bloomington and Minnetonka, Minnesota; and Albany and Eureka, California. A similar type of voting reform, Approval Voting, was passed in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis is the second city in the United States to adopt Approval Voting, after Fargo, North Dakota in 2018. This year also marked the first use of Ranked Choice Voting in a Presidential election in Maine, the first state to adopt the system.
"America is deeply divided, but Americans of all stripes agree that the government should work for people, not politicians or special interests,” said RepresentUs CEO and Co-Founder Josh Silver. “These reforms show a real hunger from voters across the political spectrum to secure and modernize our elections and get the government on track.”
Voters have already passed dozens of pro-democracy reforms in 2018 and 2019, including anti-gerrymandering in Michigan, Colorado, Ohio, and Utah; Ranked Choice Voting in Maine and New York City; and campaign finance and ethics reforms in North Dakota, Missouri, and Nevada. RepresentUs and its chapters work across the country to bring voters from across the political spectrum together to champion local and statewide reform initiatives. Visit RepresentUs to learn more about 2020’s pro-democracy campaigns.
RepresentUs is the nation’s largest grassroots anti-corruption campaign, bringing together conservatives, progressives, and everyone in between to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states to stop political bribery, end secret money, and fix our broken elections.