Daily Resource Highlight - 10/31/2022

Posted by on October 31, 2022 at 9:52 PM

Below are the highlights and featured resources of this past week’s Daily* Resource.

October 25, 2022 - Two Types of Changes Available These Elections; Cultural and Structural

Elections are right around the corner and this cycle could be instrumental in how we move forward as a democratic republic. That’s because movements like the Safe and Fair Elections Pledge (which you should sign!), are aiming to encourage free and fair elections, regardless of the results.

The Pledge straddles the line between what I’ll call cultural and structural changes. It normalizes and encourages pro-democratic behavior, while also encouraging reform to move us closer to an election system that works for everyone.

Structural changes are a core part of the election reform movement. In a recent IVN article, Shawn Griffiths discusses measures that represent a threat to recent gains (like trying to raise the threshold for Citizen Referendums). He also discusses measures that would be steps forward for the movement. And if you want to dive further in, Ballotpedia recently released a 20 minute podcast called “Final Ballot Measures Preview.”

There are also efforts by organizations like the Election Reformers Network to move to impartial election administrators. Or the continued growth of the campaign finance reform effort, led in large part by American Promise. These efforts have popular support and seek to restore confidence in our elections. 

Finally, there are the cultural changes; the ones that require behavioral shifts to move us toward a new status quo. The push for no-excuse mail-in ballots and drop-box voting made tremendous strides during the pandemic, and National Vote at Home Institute is working hard to track how many voters are taking advantage of this voting method. They project that nearly 50% more Americans will use mail-in ballots this year versus 2018.

Other cultural shifts include the rising Forward Party, which will require buy-in from millions of voters to threaten the current political duopoly. Perhaps they can target independent female voters in swing states, who Leadership Now Project (LNP) describe as “most purple of voters in the most purple of states” LNP also argues that these women can influence the outcome of the midterms “if they vote.”

And that’s the thing, both kinds of changes – structural and cultural – are vital if we’re going to achieve healthy self-governance. We need better systems in place, and citizens who will take advantage of those better systems to exercise their power. One can’t happen without the other.

October 27, 2022 - Locally: Empowering Youth; the Economy; and Criminal Justice

Our country operates at, roughly, three levels: federal, state, and local. Possible changemakers from each level will be on the ballot in November (remember to sign the Safe and Fair Elections Pledge!), but as many of you know, it’s often easiest to create impactful change at the local level.

That’s why National Civic League’s (NCL) All-America City Awards are always packed with worthy nominations and extraordinary winners. When local residents put politics aside for the benefit of their community, the impact is incredible. And this year NCL is looking to recognize more amazing communities, and specifically communities focus on promoting the health, well-being, and civic participation of youth.

If this sounds like something your community – or a community you know well – is doing, then download the application now! Letters of intent are due December 15th, but there’s no time like the present.

Positive change is also happening at the state level. Urban Rural Action recently announced their “Uniting for Action on the Oregon Economy,” which will bring together residents, civic organizations, and business organizations “to build new community relationships across divides and collaboratively address economic challenges in northwest Oregon.” 

Finally, Millennial Action Project recently held bi-partisan meetings for their “Future of Work Advisory Council” and their “Criminal Justice Reform Advisory Council.” The Republican and Democratic legislators on these councils will work together to draft and pass state legislation aimed at strengthening our economy for the 21st century and to bring much needed reform to the criminal justice system.

Exciting stuff!