For Immediate Release:
February 4, 2021
During a time of deep division among citizens and severe distrust in elections, grassroots voting reformers from across the country are stepping up to propose a solution in their communities: approval voting. After a request for proposals (RFP) process that began in October 2020, The Center for Election Science has awarded a total of $70,000 in in-kind grants to five voting reform groups from Seattle, WA; the San Francisco Bay Area; Austin, TX; Utah; and Missouri.
The local advocacy groups will receive in-kind contributions of polling and legal services to assess the potential for approval voting education campaigns in their area.
“We are thrilled to see the energy and passion of local activists who want to empower their communities with approval voting. With this investment of resources we’re hoping to provide a foundation for these grassroots groups to launch strong campaigns that will be supported by both the public and the law.” said Chris Raleigh, Director of Campaigns and Advocacy.
“The quality of the RFP submissions we received was really impressive, and we look forward to seeing these groups empower voters in their communities.”
Approval voting is an alternative voting method that allows voters to select all the candidates they approve of, and the candidate with the most votes wins. It’s simple, cost-effective, and helps eliminate the vote-splitting that often occurs in crowded primaries and city races.
In their proposals, grant applicants demonstrated the critical need for approval voting in their communities, citing unresponsive leaders and elections rife with vote-splitting.
“Missourians are realizing that vote-splitting is destroying their ability to pick qualified and responsible candidates.” said Benj Singer, executive director of Show Me Integrity, one of the grant recipients.
“In just the last few years in our area, multiple candidates who won because of our broken system have gone to jail for corruption. And good folks who do win elections do not have a mandate to bring meaningful change.”
In June 2020, the first US approval voting election was held in Fargo, ND. St. Louis, MO will become the second city to use the method during their primary election this March after passing a citizens ballot initiative to implement it last November. Voters in St. Louis passed the reform with 68% of the vote, showing strong support for improving elections in the city.
The Center for Election Science is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to empowering voters with voting methods that strengthen democracy. We support grassroots efforts to bring approval voting to cities across the country. In 2018, we worked with activists in Fargo, ND to help it become the first city in the US to enact approval voting. In 2020, we supported local activists in St. Louis, MO in successfully bringing approval voting to their city.