“Colorado set a new precedent for drug policy reform in November, when its voters approved a ballot initiative that decriminalizes a wide range of conduct related to consuming five natural psychedelics.
Proposition 122 also authorizes state-licensed “healing centers” where adults 21 or older can obtain and use psychedelics. It represents the broadest loosening of legal restrictions on psychedelics the United States has ever seen.”
“ranked choice voting actually encourages voters to look beyond partisan markers and choose (or block) candidates based on their merits.
Under Alaska’s new election system, all candidates compete in a single primary contest—rather than in party-specific contests—with the top four vote-getters advancing to the general election. That meant that the general election ballot for Alaska’s congressional seat contained four names on Election Day, with Republican Nick Begich and Libertarian Chris Bye qualifying alongside Palin and Peltola.
In the general election, ranked choice voting is used to determine the winner. That means that every voter ranks their choices from one through four. As the votes are counted, there is an “instant runoff” in which votes cast for losing candidates are reallocated to reflect the ranks assigned by individual voters.
To see how this works in practice, let’s look at Chris Bye, who finished last in the first round of vote counting. He received 4,560 first-place votes. After being eliminated, those ballots were re-distributed to the other candidates. Begich was the second choice of 1,988 Bye voters, so he received those ballots for the second round. Palin was the second choice of 1,064 Bye voters, and Peltola was the second choice for 1,038 of them.
At that point, no candidate had more than 50 percent of the total, so an additional elimination was necessary. Despite getting a plurality of Bye’s votes, Begich was still in third place, so he was eliminated and his votes were reallocated to Palin and Peltola. Voters who had picked Begich as their first choice had their ballots distributed to their second-place choice (unless the second-place choice was Bye), while Bye voters who’d picked Begich second had their votes redistributed to whomever they’d picked as their third choice.
As you might expect since both were Republicans, a majority of Begich’s ballots ended up in Palin’s pile. But not all of them, and the Begich-to-Peltola pipeline was enough to push the Democratic incumbent over the 50 percent threshold.”
“she lost because not enough Alaskan voters picked her to represent them in Congress. It’s really as simple as that. Ranked choice voting rewards candidates who are viewed as being acceptable even if not ideal by the majority of voters. Palin, for the second time in a handful of months, failed that test.”
“Across the country, the GOP’s disappointing midterm results have kicked off hand-wringing about the party’s attitude toward early voting and mail ballots. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley — both potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates — have said recently that Republicans can’t simply ignore the voting mechanisms Democrats have taken advantage of.
But the about-face is particularly striking in Pennsylvania, where Republicans have adopted an especially uncompromising approach to mail-in voting.
Though nearly every Republican state legislator backed a 2019 law legalizing no-excuse mail voting, GOP officials changed their tune in the 2020 presidential election, when then-President Donald Trump repeatedly and forcefully bashed vote-by-mail.
Their criticism of the method continued from there. Pennsylvania Republicans attacked Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the state’s top election official for the way they implemented the 2019 mail voting law. They lambasted court rulings on the procedure, including those that enabled the use of drop boxes and allowed mail ballots to be received up to three days after the 2020 election as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.
The 2022 Pennsylvania GOP’s gubernatorial nominee, Doug Mastriano, pledged during his campaign to eliminate no-excuse mail-in voting and led the movement to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state. Republican state lawmakers filed a lawsuit that attempted to toss out the very vote-by-mail law they helped pass. Republican Jake Corman, the retiring state Senate President Pro Tempore, said mail voting should be ended.
But the blue wave that hit Pennsylvania in 2022 — in which Republicans lost key races for governor, Senate, House and the state legislature — is forcing the GOP to reassess.
“Republicans focus on Election Day turnout and Democrats started a month ahead of time,” said former Rep. Lou Barletta, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in the GOP primary this year. “If we want to win, if Republicans want to win, they got to get better at” mail voting.”
“Asian Americans have not always voted blue. In 1992, when The New York Times first added “Asian American” as a racial category in its exit polls, 55 percent of Asian Americans voted for former President George H. W. Bush, a Republican, while 31 percent cast their ballots for then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, a Democrat. In the 1996 presidential election, Democrats narrowed the margin, with 48 percent going for Republican Sen. Bob Dole and 43 for Clinton, and by 2000 Asian Americans had drifted into the blue: Fifty-four percent voted for former Vice President Al Gore and 41 percent for then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.”
“Asian Americans seem to be shifting red. According to a 2016 survey from Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, 19 percent of Asian Americans held at least a somewhat favorable view of Donald Trump. When the survey was conducted again in 2020, Trump’s favorability among Asian Americans had risen to 35 percent.”
“the many different ethnic groups within Asian America have many different views. For example, a plurality of Vietnamese American voters (45 percent) supported Republican congressional candidates in 2020, according to that year’s Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote survey. Vietnamese Americans, a powerful force in Steel’s California district, have been a loyally red voter bloc dating back to former President Ronald Reagan, whose anti-communism policy stances resonated with the Vietnamese diaspora by nodding to homeland geopolitics.”
“Ohio’s new constitutional amendment will allow judges to set a dollar amount commensurate with a person’s criminal record, the seriousness of their alleged crime, and their odds of appearing at court following pretrial release. The Ohio Senate ushered the initiative forward in direct response to a ruling from the state’s highest court, which said in early January that bail could only be used to ensure a defendant’s presence at trial—the constitutionally prescribed reason for its use.
In Alabama, voters were tasked with deciding if the state should be able to deny bail for certain offenses if the government can convince a judge that the defendant poses a threat to the community or cannot be trusted to return to court. Those offenses include murder; first-degree kidnapping, rape, and sodomy; sexual torture; first-degree domestic violence, human trafficking, burglary, arson, and robbery; terrorism; and child abuse.”
“the debate has become increasingly politicized. Many reformers say that a dangerousness standard is racist, while law-and-order politicians are likely to present any bail reform as a driver of violent crime.
The answer is more nuanced than either major political party would want their base to believe.”
“Georgia Republicans passed S.B. 202 to overhaul the state’s voting law just two months after losing both of the state’s Senate seats to Democrats and four months after President Donald Trump lost reelection. The so-called “Election Integrity Act of 2021″ sought to undo pandemic-era changes to voting rules intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
“there is plenty to dislike about the bill: In addition to sharply narrowing who can request absentee ballots, it significantly curtails the number of ballot drop boxes a county is allowed to have. The New York Times estimated that the four counties comprising metro Atlanta would go from 94 drop boxes to 23. The law also removed Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who famously resisted Trump’s entreaties to “find” enough votes to flip Georgia to the former president, as both the chair and a voting member of the State Election Board.
That board further has the power to “suspend” state and county election officials and appoint “temporary” replacements in their stead. In the months after the law passed, it remade entire counties’ election boards by replacing Democrats with Republicans.
Clearly, Georgia’s voting law has issues: The ability of the state to directly meddle in counties’ election boards is a fundamentally illiberal exercise of power, and based on the timing, it seems obvious that the law was intended to placate Trump’s ego.”
“After the first ballot, Palin trailed Peltola 40–31, with Nick Begich III in third with 29 percent. After Begich was eliminated and his ballots were re-tallied, Peltola prevailed over Palin 51–49.
In the days after Palin’s loss, prominent conservatives and Republicans criticized the new system for contributing to her defeat. After the results were announced, Sen. Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) tweeted, “Ranked-choice voting is a scam to rig elections.” (Previously, he has referred to it as a “radical scheme.”) Palin herself called the system an “experiment” that’s “crazy, convoluted,” and “confusing.” In National Review, Jim Geraghty termed it “a legitimate electoral system…that doesn’t make sense.”
But it’s not ranked choice voting’s fault; Palin was simply a bad candidate.
Geraghty complained that ranked choice voting was “more complicated” than “the familiar ‘first past the post’ system,” that “the Democrats came out the big winner, even though their candidate finished fourth in the first round of voting.” This is true, though the third-place finalist, Al Gross, withdrew from the race after the June primary and encouraged his voters to support Peltola.
Cotton complained that even though “60% of Alaska voters voted for a Republican…a Democrat ‘won.'” This is also true, though notably they did not all vote for the same Republican. Begich and Palin collectively accounted for 59.8 percent of the first-round vote, but only about half of Begich’s voters chose Palin as their second choice; nearly 30 percent picked Peltola, while 21 percent did not choose a second or third choice.”
“Far from being some radically convoluted “scheme,” the most direct effect of ranked choice voting is to serve as an “instant runoff” by letting voters indicate which candidates they would prefer if their first or second choice didn’t win.”
“85 percent of Alaskan voters polled by Alaskans for Better Elections found the new system either “somewhat simple” or “very simple.””