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The Structural Democratic Reforms Project


Criteria for Reforms

Changes to governmental policies and/or procedures that could be implemented via federal legislation, state legislation, executive order, or ballot initiative and are intended to promote one or more of the following democratic principles:

  • Increasing citizens’ influence on election and policy outcomes

  • Facilitating voter participation and ballot access

  • Ensuring integrity, transparency, and fairness of election systems

Example Reforms

Image by José Martín Ramírez Carrasco

Independent redistricting commissions 

This reform would involve passing legislation that requires fair congressional districts to be determined by state-established independent citizen-redistricting commissions.

Ranked-choice voting

This reform would feature ranked-choice voting in elections. This means that voters can rank candidates from their first choice to their last, or just vote for their first choice, instead of only having the option to choose a single candidate.

Election Day
Business congress

Non-partisan primaries and two-round elections for Congress

This reform would implement non-partisan primaries and two-round elections for members of Congress. This means that states would get rid of Republican and Democratic primaries so that all voters could vote for any candidate in a combined primary without party labels. A subset of the top-performing candidates would advance to a second election known as a run-off if no candidate wins a majority in the first round.

No-excuse absentee/mail-in voting

This reform would allow eligible voters in all 50 states to vote using an absentee/mail-in ballot without providing a specific reason for doing so.

Image by Element5 Digital

Lower voting age to 16

This reform would lower the eligible voting age in all 50 states from 18 to 16 years old. 

Eliminate Senate filibuster

The filibuster is a tool that senators can use to prolong or delay a vote on a bill; when senators use the filibuster, a proposal cannot come to the floor for vote until 60 senators vote to end debate on it. This reform would change the rules in the US Senate to eliminate the filibuster altogether, allowing a simple majority of senators to bring any proposal to the floor for a vote.

Image by Harold Mendoza

Note: This list serves as a format and substance guide for submissions without constraining your ideas. Feel free to suggest new or partially developed ideas without hesitation. Indeed, big, new, unique, or creative ideas are the ones we are most excited about receiving.

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