The Forward Party is laser-focused on fixing the system. We need to work fast. Partisanship is growing and confidence is fading. Here's what's happening around the nation.
A draft of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked on Monday to Politico, sparking protests and setting off partisan fireworks. The Supreme Court has verified the draft, but says that it is not a final opinion.
For several years now, Justices have been added to the bench in increasingly bitter confirmation processes. The political maneuvering and public battles took their toll on public perception of the Court and the Senators tasked with confirming these Justices.
During these hearings, two Justices told America that they would not overturn Roe v. Wade. The nomination hearings were convincing enough that at least two Senators, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, voted to confirm while expressing that they were unconcerned that the 1973 ruling would be impacted. Both Senators now say that if the draft is adopted, it wouldn’t line up with the statements made by these Justices, with Senator Collins saying, “it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings.”
America faces a crisis of trust in our institutions - and that level of trust is already perilously low, including for the Supreme Court. We need a new way Forward to restore that trust and increase accountability to the American voter, allowing for our will to be enacted in our democracy.
The Will of The People
A growing number of Americans feel that they are not adequately represented in a political system of just two choices, and people are speaking up, using the tools they have to look for new ways to ensure they are not left out of political conversations. Perhaps the most direct democratic option available to voters is that of ballot initiatives.
Ballot initiatives can be used by citizens to have the whole of a state’s voting population vote on a topic. They have been used to pass funding, legalize marijuana, and reform elections. They are frequently used when issues arise regarding changes to a state’s constitution.
Because ballot initiatives take power out of the hands of legislators and put it back in the hands of voters, legislators in many states are making it harder and harder to launch a ballot initiative:
- In South Dakota, the state legislature is attempting to change the percent of votes required for voters to pass a ballot measure from 50% to 60%.
- Missouri lawmakers are proposing doubling the number of signatures needed to get a proposition on a ballot.
- In Ohio, cannabis activists have filed a lawsuit against leaders in the state legislature, alleging that they are “attempting to thwart a cannabis legalization ballot question from appearing before voters in the November general election” over a lack of clarity of the deadline for the required signatures.
Passing ballot measures is how voters in many jurisdictions are working to get ranked-choice voting and open primaries adopted. 61% of voters favor using ranked-choice voting in general federal elections, including 73% of Democrats, 49% of Republicans, and 55% of independents. You can read a list of measures already on the ballot for November here.
In Nevada, Missouri, and Oregon, efforts are underway to get the signatures required. To find out more about the initiatives in those states, check out these resources:
Learn more about RCV in Nevada.
Learn more about RCV and Open Primaries in Missouri.
Learn more about RCV and Open Primaries in Oregon.
Do you think elected officials represent the will of the people?
A number of recent events demonstrate that our elected leaders are acting in their own interests rather than in the interest of American voters—in some cases, even over their votes or passed ballot initiatives:
- Utah lawmakers ignored the independent redistricting commission's maps despite a mandate by voters to have a nonpartisan body to draw election boundaries.
- Florida and Tennessee state legislatures banned ranked-choice voting overturning the will of residents to implement RCV in Sarasota and Memphis.
- Partisan redistricting practices make elections more and more predictable. These days, “voting control over what an elected representative does while in office is vested in a relatively small percentage of the residents they represent,” according to Gallup.
- The National Urban League released its annual report called Under Siege: The Plot to Destroy Democracy, stating that gerrymandering is stripping “voting power away from communities with Black and brown voters.”
Representation is a battle worth fighting. Can you help us lead the charge?
All the best,
The Forward Party Team
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