We’re the first to admit it—local and state politics don’t have the flash of national politics. Want proof? Look no further than CPAC. The annual conservative conference draws a lot of media attention every year. But what is it exactly? Speeches, merch, some straw polls, and…well, that’s about it. Pretty much describes 90% of our national politics. Lots of hoopla, not much work.

So while it’s not the most showy route, Forward is focusing on the state and local politics that are, quite frankly, where the real action is. Politics are super personal when you get right down to it. They deal with issues that directly impact people's lives, beliefs, and values. Political decisions can affect a person's access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities, as well as their civil rights and freedoms. Heavy stuff.

For example, just this week alone, issues being considered at the state and local level around the country will determine whether hundreds of new jobs will come to your community, whether you’ll pay higher taxes on food than on guns, whether you’ll get access to legal weed, whether your favorite baseball team will stick around, and whether you’ll secede from the union (ugh…🤦🏻‍♀️).

Anyway, you get the point. But here’s the thing: some of these really impactful public service roles aren’t even contested. Which means really important decisions are being made by a handful of people who are barely accountable to voters. At Forward, we’re working really hard to change that. We don’t get as much media love as we might like for it, but that’s okay. The best work almost always gets done behind the scenes by real people who care more about results than fanfare—like the awesome folks on the FWD Texas team, pictured above.

We see you. Thank you to ALL the Forwardists out there putting in the work.


New bill would bring RCV to Minnesota
A group of Minnesota House and Senate Democrats are trying to make Minnesota the third state in the nation to utilize ranked-choice voting. Sen. Kelly Morrison, the chief author of the bill, which would require RCV for all state and federal elections, says, “Ranked choice voting gives voters great voice, choice, and power.” Authors of the bill also say RCV can prevent costly and time-consuming runoff elections. Jeanne Massey, the executive director of FairVote Minnesota, which has been working for several years to bring RCV to the state, says RCV can prevent hostility and division among candidates. “It also allows those independent and minor third-party candidates to run without the consequence of the 'spoiler dynamic' setting in,” she adds. —KARE

More ranked-choice voting news:

Going backwards in Tennessee?
The push toward open primaries—in which voters don’t have to register with a particular political party to vote in primaries—is growing across the country. But in Tennessee, where open primaries currently allow voters to choose either a Republican or Democratic ballot, Republican lawmakers are trying to change that. Legislation introduced by Rep. Clay Doggett would require voters to register with a political party to vote in that party’s primary. Guy Cammilleri, a voting rights advocate, says closing primaries in a solidly red state could lead to more extreme candidates getting elected. The measure has passed its first House committee. The Senate version hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing. —WPLN

More open primaries news:

Why it’s so hard to run 
“Longtime third-party ballot-access expert and advocate Richard Winger has in the past argued that only two states have sore-loser laws that explicitly and definitely apply to presidential candidates: South Dakota and Texas. Most of the others with potentially applicable laws, he has noted, have allowed failed major-party candidates to appear elsewhere on the general election ballot. … What a Harvard study seeks to add to the debate is laws that would appear, on paper at least, to prevent [candidates] from running third-party. That’s even if they are not explicitly sore-loser laws, and even if they haven’t been applied to presidential candidates in the past. … These realities include filing deadlines that would be very difficult or impossible to meet.” —Aaron Blake in The Washington Post

More 2024 candidate news:

We have to work to keep our democracy 
“When asked what sort of political system the Founding Fathers had agreed upon during the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin famously replied: ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’ While acknowledging that the success of our government isn’t promised, Franklin’s words serve as a reminder that citizens must work relentlessly to maintain and protect what the Constitution provides.” —Ray Block Jr, Andrene Wright & Mia Angelica Powell in The Conversation

State and local politics directly impact the day-to-day lives of every American. From public safety and education to transportation and infrastructure, statehouses and city halls provide essential services, shape community development, and promote citizen engagement. And that’s exactly where you’ll find Forward.