States Don’t Have to Wait for Congress to Save Democracy

H.R. 1, the Democrats’ hugely ambitions election reform bill “would go an enormous way toward repairing our badly broken democracy,” Rick Hasen writes:

“Among the provisions affecting voting and voting rights are those requiring online voter registration, automatic voter registration, and same-day registration for voting in federal elections; a requirement to use independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional districts in each state; limitations on voter purges; an end to felon disenfranchisement for federal elections; protection against intimidation and false information surrounding elections; improved access to voting by persons with disabilities; a set of improved cybersecurity standards around voting and voting systems, including a requirement that all voting systems produce a paper trail for auditing and checking results; and a ban on a state’s chief election officer engaging in political activities connected to federal offices.”

However, most everyone agrees that given the Republican-held Senate and presidency, this bill will not pass, at least not any time soon.  But states can go a long way to saving democracy by designating their electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular vote.  If they do, presidential candidates will have to appeal to all voters, not just the select few in closely-contested states.