|By Jen Johnson
RepresentUs Movement Director
August 24, 2022
If you're like me, sometimes you need to take a deep breath before you start reading the news to prepare yourself for the deluge of dark stories that show how broken our political system is. From corrupt politicians taking unlimited money from special interests to fund their campaigns to the never-ending divisiveness and gridlock, it's not surprising that “threats to democracy” has overtaken the “cost of living” as the most important issue facing the country.
With all these dire stories, it can be hard to imagine that anything is getting better or can get better. But before you dissolve into cynicism, I've got good news for you: There's a whole movement of people working together to pass laws that fix our elections and put power back in the hands of the voters. And they're actually making huge progress.
Here are some facts from RepresentUs' recent 10-year impact report that should give you some cause for hope:
29 million: Over 29 million Americans can vote more safely and securely
If our elections are working, it should be easy for eligible voters to participate. But undoubtedly you've heard of long lines at polling locations, or about how many people don’t have time to vote because they have to work or take care of a child.
Voting by mail and voting early in person help fix this problem, making it possible for everyone who can vote to do it in a safe and secure way. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a huge effort came together across the political spectrum and in all states to make sure people could vote even if they were concerned about catching a life-threatening virus.
Now, because the democracy movement passed 11 laws, 29.2 million Americans have more safe and secure options to vote, including by mail or early in person.
50%: More political candidates have to get more than 50% support to be elected.
In many parts of the United States, it's possible to get elected in many places without getting over 50% of the vote. That’s absurd. But we're fixing it.
In a lot of elections, especially during crowded primaries, votes are split between a large swath of candidates, and whoever gets the most votes wins – even if it's only 30% of the vote or less.
Many voters worry that they're throwing away their vote if they want to choose a less-popular candidate. This makes it more likely that their least-favorite candidate wins because they didn't vote for someone backed by the Democratic or Republican parties.
Now, thanks to 37 Ranked Choice Voting wins, we’re fixing that problem. 14.5 million Americans can now rank candidates in order of preference, and winners of the election actually only win if they get a majority support from the voters.
15: In 15 places, it's now illegal for politicians to rig elections in their favor using gerrymandering
It's hard to believe, but until recently, it was legal everywhere for politicians and special interests to rig elections. They were allowed to go into a private room, smoke cigars together, crunch some numbers, and draw voting maps so that they would win elections no matter what the voters wanted. That’s called gerrymandering.
If that doesn't sound much like a representative democracy, we're with you. That's why we've been working with volunteers across the country to pass laws that make gerrymandering illegal. And we've won 15 times. Now, 16.9 million Americans live in unrigged districts, where it's illegal for politicians and special interests to draw voting districts that keep themselves in power.
161: In just 10 years, 161 victories for voters
It's hard to feel like a loser when you've got wins coming out of your ears. The movement to improve our elections and fix our political system is growing, becoming more seasoned, and – most importantly – winning.
Yes, there are special interests spending millions. And there are politicians trying to unfairly gain advantages. But don't forget that there are also people like you who are working every day to put an end to it and make our government represent the people.
If you're inspired, read our impact report about what the movement has accomplished in the last 10 years, and be part of the growing movement to bring more victories to voters by signing up to join RepresentUs.