April 16, 2019 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 266 Extended

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Guest Interview: Adam Eichen on the proposal for New Hampshire presidential primaries to use ranked-choice voting for delegate allocation. People: Bill. Recorded: Apr 12, 2019.

Episode 266 (33 min):
AFD 266

Related links

In These Times: The Case for Using Ranked Choice Voting in the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primaries

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Music by friend of the show Stunt Bird.

April 3, 2018 – Arsenal for Democracy Ep. 220

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Topics: Radical unions and liberal conservationists in Idaho history; Voting reforms in Washington and felon disenfranchisement in Texas. People: Bill, Rachel. Produced: April 1st, 2018.

Episode 220 (53 min):
AFD 220

Related links

AFD 220 Links (PDF)

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Jan 9, 2018 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 209

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Topics: Trump’s voter suppression commission is suspended; oil drilling is expanded to ANWR and offshore all around the coastal US. People: Bill, Rachel, Nate. Produced: Jan 7th, 2018.

Episode 209 (52 min):
AFD 209

Related links

AFD 209 Articles Discussed (PDF)
Ep. 192: The episode on oil industry nationalization and lease reform
Ep. 197: The episode on the voting commission
Ep. 181: The episode on positive voting reforms

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Oct 3, 2017 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 198

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Guest Interview: Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen, authors of the book “Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want” — out now. Other Topic: Rural maternal health in the US. People: Bill, Rachel. Produced: Oct 1st, 2017.

Episode 198 (50 min):
AFD 198

Related links

Our collected research links on the rural health segment

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May 24, 2017 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 181

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: Proposed reforms to US voter registration, early voting and polling locations, election methods, weekend voting, and Congressional redistricting. People: Bill, Rachel and Jonathan Produced: May 22nd, 2017.

Episode 181 (53 min):
AFD 181

Legislation Referenced (115th Congress)
  1. H.R.607 – Voter Access Protection Act of 2017 (Rep. Ellison, Keith [D-MN-5])
  2. S.360/H.R.1044 – Same Day Registration Act (Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]/Rep. Ellison, Keith [D-MN-5])
  3. H.R.787 – Streamlined and Improved Methods at Polling Locations and Early (SIMPLE) Voting Act of 2017 (Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9])
  4. H.R.1907 – Election Infrastructure and Security Promotion Act of 2017 (Rep. Johnson, Henry C. “Hank,” Jr. [D-GA-4])
  5. H.R.946 – Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act of 2017 (Rep. Davis, Susan A. [D-CA-53])
  6. H.R.1094 – Weekend Voting Act (Rep. Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [D-NY-25])
  7. H.R.1102 – Redistricting Reform Act of 2017 (Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-19])
Legislation Referenced (114th Congress)

– H.R.2694 – Automatic Voter Registration Act (Rep. Cicilline, David N. [D-RI-1])

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Nov 2, 2016 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 157

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: Rachel updates us on voter suppression in 2016 and we discuss flaws in U.S. voting systems, including felon disenfranchisement. People: Bill, Rachel, and Greg. Produced: Oct 31st, 2016.

Episode 157 (53 min):
AFD 157

Discussion Points:

– What is the latest in U.S. voter suppression tactics in 2016?
– Should we campaign to get voting rights for felons and ex-felons restored?
– Why do Democrats focus on third party vote loss instead of voter disenfranchisement?

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Should blue cities in red states adopt mandatory voting?

A clever, low-cost, politically self-executing idea to promote rapid adoption of compulsory voting across the United States (if you think that’s a good idea, along the lines of jury duty), explained in The Atlantic by Nicholas Stephanopoulos of UChicago Law School:

To start, a blue city in a purple state — such as Miami, Florida; Columbus, Ohio; or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — would have to adopt compulsory voting for its own elections. Its elections would also have to be held on the first Tuesday in November [in an even year], allowing voters to cast ballots in municipal, state, and federal elections at the same time.
[…]
At this point, redder jurisdictions would face enormous pressure to follow the blue city’s lead. Not doing so would award the Democrats an electoral bonanza: a surge in turnout in their urban stronghold unmatched by greater participation in suburbs and exurbs.
[…]
Importantly, it’s easier for a single city to adopt compulsory voting than for myriad suburbs and exurbs to follow suit. This collective action problem is why compulsory voting probably wouldn’t stay at the local level for long. Red states, in particular, would find it in their interest to impose statewide voting mandates.

 
I cut out some of the details or proposed scenarios in this excerpt, just to get the gist down, so I recommend you check out the full piece.

I also think any mandatory voting system should, however, only be implemented alongside a None-of-The-Above option on all ballots. That way people can either pay a small fine for not voting or they can vote against everyone running. Either action would still be a positive expression of democratic will: support for/indifference toward the status quo or unhappiness with all options presented.

I’m sure a lot of people will have objections (in both ideological camps) to increasing turnout dramatically, especially at the local level. But fundamentally, if you’re unwilling to campaign toward everyone in democratic elections, that’s your problem and you need to get over that or lose. If you’re afraid of voters, it’s either because you’re wrong or because your side hasn’t put in the work necessary to persuade them to agree with your view.

And if mandatory voting strengthens party machines at the expense of individual campaigns, maybe individuals will actually take the time to sway the party or get in line with an easy to understand political agenda. What might that mean? We’ll stop having thousands of candidate-driven campaigns where voters pick someone they like over someone who will fight for them and their issues in office. Instead there would be candidates aligned with each platform, so you would know for sure what you would be getting when you vote.

Australia has had enforced compulsory voting (i.e. vote or pay a fine) since 1924, and they haven’t collapsed. Instead, they had decade after decade of turnout greater than 90%. Our democracy is only limping along by comparison.