Logo
    Search

    Our Changing Democracy: Non-Partisan Primaries, Internet Voting

    en-usSeptember 21, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • Problems for Independent Voters in US PrimariesIndependent voters face restrictions in primaries, limiting their ability to participate and impact the electoral process

      The current political primary system in the United States is primarily controlled by political parties, leading to issues for independent and unaffiliated voters. This system evolved from a time when parties chose candidates behind closed doors, and reforms opened the process to voters. However, parties took control of the primaries as a way to maintain power. This system causes problems for independent voters, who make up a significant portion of the potential voting population, particularly among younger generations. In some states, these voters are unable to participate in primaries because they are required to choose a party's ballot. As a result, fewer people are voting in primaries, which can impact the overall electoral process.

    • 10% of voters decide most congressional racesInfrequent competitiveness of elections and increasing extremism among candidates catering to party loyalists result in a lack of compromise and a system that many feel is not representative or meeting their needs

      A small percentage of voters, around 10%, are deciding the fate of the vast majority of congressional seats. This is due to the infrequent competitiveness of elections, especially at the primary level, and the increasing extremism of candidates catering to party loyalists. According to an AP poll, only 12% of Americans feel their government is representing them effectively, and 10% believe democracy is working well. This situation leads to a lack of compromise and a system that many feel is not representative or meeting their needs. While there is conflicting data on the impact of new voting methods on polarization and extremism, it makes logical sense that appealing to a wider audience would result in more moderate opinions and policy positions. In-depth reporting on this issue found that primary elections, which are often decided by party loyalists, result in candidates who are less representative and, in some cases, more extreme. This dynamic makes it difficult for compromise and exacerbates feelings of disenfranchisement among the electorate.

    • Nonpartisan primaries: Forcing broader appeal or discouraging participation?Nonpartisan primaries allow all candidates from all parties to compete on the same ballot, potentially encouraging broader appeal and competitive elections, but critics argue it may discourage voter participation if their preferred party isn't represented in the general election, and evidence on its impact on candidate moderation is limited.

      Nonpartisan primaries, used in five states including California, Nebraska, Washington, Alaska, and Louisiana, allow all candidates from all parties to be listed on the same ballot, and voters can choose any candidate regardless of party. The top 2 or top 4 vote-getters then move on to the general election. Proponents argue that this forces candidates to appeal to a broader base, creating competitive elections. However, critics point out potential issues, such as discouraging voters from participating if their preferred party isn't represented in the general election. Additionally, there is limited evidence that these systems produce more moderate or representative candidates. While some argue that experimentation is necessary to address the current system's shortcomings, others caution that the drawbacks for voters must be considered. The jury is still out on whether nonpartisan primaries are definitively better than party-run primaries.

    • Internet Voting in the US: An Option for Military and Overseas VotersInternet voting is an increasingly popular option for military, overseas, and some disabled voters in the US, with over 300,000 using it in recent elections. The process varies by state, with some offering online portals and others using email or fax.

      While most people still use paper ballots for voting, over 300,000 people in the US have used the Internet to vote in recent elections. This option is primarily offered to military personnel and overseas voters, as well as some members of the disability community. The process varies from state to state, with some offering online portals and others using email or fax. While not all states are legally required to provide this option, many do. This trend of increasing Internet voting is significant, especially for those who have historically faced challenges in accessing polling places or using the mail to vote.

    • Internet voting against the advice of experts due to secrecy concernsExperts advise against Internet voting due to the inability to verify the secrecy of the ballot, making it susceptible to coercion and other issues. Paper and pen remain the safest method for casting votes.

      Despite laws mandating Internet voting options for military voters passed before the widespread use and understanding of cybersecurity risks, modern-day election security experts universally agree against Internet voting due to the importance of maintaining the secrecy of the ballot. Unlike other transactions, such as online banking, the secrecy of a vote cannot be verified once it's submitted, creating potential for coercion and other issues. The consensus among experts, including the DHS, FBI, and National Academies of Sciences, is that paper and pen remain the safest method for casting votes.

    • Balancing Accessibility and Security in Online Voting SystemsExperts aim to make online voting systems accessible while maintaining security amidst distrust and tension between access and security.

      Ensuring secure online voting systems presents a significant challenge due to the importance of maintaining anonymity and the secret ballot. However, there's a constant tension between accessibility and security in elections, and progressives and activists often push for increased access to the ballot. While making voting more accessible is important, it often comes at the cost of decreased security. With the current climate of distrust in US elections, adding online voting to the mix makes it even harder to convince people that election results are accurate. Despite these challenges, election security experts aim to make the system as accessible as possible while maintaining security. Mint Mobile, a podcast sponsor, offers a solution unrelated to the topic at hand, with premium wireless plans starting at $15 a month.

    Recent Episodes from The NPR Politics Podcast

    Is Project 2025 Trump's Plan For A 2nd Term? It's Complicated

    Is Project 2025 Trump's Plan For A 2nd Term? It's Complicated
    What is Donald Trump's plan for a second term? He's got ideas of his own, the Republican party has released a platform document — but the most comprehensive set of policy ideas have been put together in a document called Project 2025. Here's what it says.

    This episode: national political correspondent Sarah McCammon, White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

    The podcast is produced by Jeongyoon Han, Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

    Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJuly 10, 2024

    Biden, Defiant, Is Not Going Anywhere But The Campaign Trail

    Biden, Defiant, Is Not Going Anywhere But The Campaign Trail
    Over the weekend, a number of high-level congressional Democrats called for the president to step back from the ticket. He sent a letter on Monday that said, in short, fat chance. And, for now, it appears that Biden has largely stopped the bleeding.

    This episode: national political correspondent Sarah McCammon, senior White House correspondent Tamara Keith, and congressional reporter Barbara Sprunt.

    The podcast is produced by Jeongyoon Han, Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

    Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJuly 09, 2024

    More Election Stakes: AI Weapons And North Korean Cybercrime

    More Election Stakes: AI Weapons And North Korean Cybercrime
    Amid a frenetic campaign newscycle, we take a look at some of the very real challenges that the next president will have to tackle during their four-year term including AI-guided weaponry and a complex web of North Korean cybercrime.

    This episode: national political correspondent Sarah McCammon, cybersecurity correspondent Jenna McClaughlin, and national security correspondent Greg Myre.

    The podcast is produced by Jeongyoon Han, Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

    Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJuly 08, 2024

    Roundup: Dems Ask, Is Biden's Time Up? DOJ Post-SCOTUS Fears

    Roundup: Dems Ask, Is Biden's Time Up? DOJ Post-SCOTUS Fears
    With Congress returning to Washington next week and more lawmakers raising the possibility that President Biden should step down from the ticket, the president's ABC interview and weekend events will be closely watched by Democrats looking for a clear path forward.

    And after the Supreme Court ruled that presidents cannot be prosecuted for the work that makes up the core responsibilities of the office, some Department of Justice staff are worried that presidents could order them to do unethical or illegal things.

    This episode: senior White House correspondent Tamara Keith, congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh, senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro, and national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

    The podcast is produced by Jeongyoon Han, Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

    Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJuly 05, 2024

    Trading Stock, Congressional Style

    Trading Stock, Congressional Style
    Our friends at the Indicator from Planet Money caught up with congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh to talk about her reporting on how members of Congress and their families trade stock. Then, in classic style, the Indicator team tried their hands at doing so themselves.

    We will be back in your feeds Friday with the weekly roundup.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJuly 04, 2024

    Biden Struggles With Dems; Trump Fundraising Hits Highs

    Biden Struggles With Dems; Trump Fundraising Hits Highs
    As President Joe Biden continued to face fallout from his poor performance at the CNN Presidential Debate — including calls from fellow Democrats to drop out of the race — former President Donald Trump raised a lot of money, had his New York criminal sentencing delayed & won an immunity case at the U.S. Supreme Court.

    This episode: senior White House correspondent Tamara Keith, senior political editor & correspondent Domenico Montanaro, and senior national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

    The podcast is produced by Jeongyoon Han, Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

    Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJuly 03, 2024

    Supreme Court Shifts Regulatory Power From Experts To Judges

    Supreme Court Shifts Regulatory Power From Experts To Judges
    In our wrap of the Supreme Court term, we reflect on the huge number of consequential rulings and explain some of the cases we initially did not have time to cover — including three that will dramatically reshape how financial, environmental and all other regulations work in the United States going forward.

    This episode: national political correspondent Sarah McCammon, legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, and senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

    The podcast is produced by Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

    Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJuly 02, 2024

    Supreme Court Grants Trump Broad Immunity From Prosecution

    Supreme Court Grants Trump Broad Immunity From Prosecution
    What the ruling means for the charges against Donald Trump, the power of the presidency and the movement to reform the Supreme Court.

    This episode: senior White House correspondent Tamara Keith, senior national political correspondent Mara Liasson, and national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.

    The podcast is produced by Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

    Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJuly 01, 2024

    Roundup: Supreme Court Abortion Ruling, Robert F. Kennedy

    Roundup: Supreme Court Abortion Ruling, Robert F. Kennedy
    The Supreme Court largely punted on abortion access and curtailed a law the Department of Justice has been using to prosecute accused Jan. 6 insurrectionists. And NPR spoke with independent candidate for president Robert F. Kennedy Jr. about why he is running a race he almost certainly cannot win.

    This episode: voting correspondent Ashley Lopez, national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson, reproductive rights and abortion correspondent Elissa Nadworny, and All Things Considered host Scott Detrow.

    The podcast is produced by Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

    Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJune 28, 2024

    Biden Struggled, Trump Often Lied, CNN Didn't Fact-Check

    Biden Struggled, Trump Often Lied, CNN Didn't Fact-Check
    President Biden fumbled in the CNN Presidential Debate, offering often rambling answers in a hoarse and quiet voice. Donald Trump, who also rambled, painted a characteristically dark vision of the country and repeatedly lied about his and Biden's records — which went largely unchallenged by CNN's moderators.

    This episode: voting correspondent Ashley Lopez, campaign reporter Stephen Fowler, and senior national political correspondent Mara Liasson.

    The podcast is produced by Casey Morell and Kelli Wessinger. Our intern is Bria Suggs. Our editor is Eric McDaniel. Our executive producer is Muthoni Muturi.

    Listen to every episode of the NPR Politics Podcast sponsor-free, unlock access to bonus episodes with more from the NPR Politics team, and support public media when you sign up for The NPR Politics Podcast+ at plus.npr.org/politics.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    The NPR Politics Podcast
    en-usJune 28, 2024

    Related Episodes

    Include the Independent Voter: Jackie Salit & Thom Reilly

    Include the Independent Voter: Jackie Salit & Thom Reilly

    Thursday, December 15th, 2022

     

    Jackie Salit and Thom Reilly are co-directors of the Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy at Arizona State University and co-authors of The Independent Voter. Independents are making a statement about the culture, the practice, and the destructiveness of the current political culture. You have almost half the country identifying themselves as independents, but you have a system that is completely embedded with partisan bias.

     

    Jackie and Thom break down the independent voting profile and why the two main parties need to sit up and listen to them. The independent movement of today is a direct challenge to the parties, party power, and the party system. The issue for America and for American democracy is having the fairest, most inclusive, most vibrant democratic process, as opposed to engineering a system to produce a certain outcome.  

     

    Follow Jackie on Twitter: 

    https://twitter.com/jackiesalit

     

    Follow Thom on Twitter: 

    https://twitter.com/ThomReillyNV

     

    Follow Mila on Twitter: 

    https://twitter.com/milaatmos 

     

    Follow Future Hindsight on Instagram: 

    https://www.instagram.com/futurehindsightpod/

     

    Love Future Hindsight? Take our Listener Survey! 

    http://survey.podtrac.com/start-survey.aspx?pubid=6tI0Zi1e78vq&ver=standard 

     

    Want to support the show and get it early? 

    https://patreon.com/futurehindsight 

     

    Check out the Future Hindsight website! 

    www.futurehindsight.com

     

     

    Credits: 

    Host: Mila Atmos 

    Guests: Jackie Salit & Thom Reilly

    Executive Producer: Mila Atmos

    Producers: Zack Travis and Sara Burningham

    Voting Rights before the VRA

    Voting Rights before the VRA

     

    EPISODE SUMMARY

    Violence, intimidation, and murder were not enough. In this episode, the hosts discuss how southern states used legal structures post Reconstruction to nullify rights embodied in the Fifteenth Amendment. White primaries, poll taxes, literacy tests, and other “legal” policies worked to virtually eliminate Black Americans from the voting rolls.

    A FEW KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE

    To download the transcript, CLICK HERE

    LINKS IN THIS EPISODE

    CLICK HERE TO LEAVE FEEDBACK

    Follow Ellis Conversations on Twitter

    Follow Judge Ronald Ellis on Twitter

    Follow Jamil Ellis on Twitter

    Follow Jamil Ellis on LinkedIn

    OTHER EPISODES OF INTEREST

    King & Plame Lose, Politics of the Lockdown, WHO Knew China's Lies

    King & Plame Lose, Politics of the Lockdown, WHO Knew China's Lies
    Join Jim and Greg as they reflect on Iowa Rep. Steve King losing his GOP primary and Valerie Plame going up in political flames in her congressional bid in New Mexico. With politicians cracking down on everyday social distance violators but encouraging the demonstrators to take to the streets in close quarters, just how much of our stay-at-home orders was politics and how much was about public health? And they welcome the World Health Organization close to reality as reports suggest it knew about China's lies and stalling tactics in the critical early days of the pandemic.