Tag: voting


SwingLeft home page
SwingLeft home page

SwingLeft connects users with their closest swing congressional district that voted Republican. The site has a specific goal—to turn the district Democrat—but this focus makes it one of the most strategic tools currently available.

The idea is that the voting margin was so narrow that a concerted effort can be made to swing the district left. The site focuses on the House of Representatives, because it perceives the Senate as having a more difficult to contest majority (at least for 2018).

The user can join a passive e-mail list to receive weekly tasks to affect this outcome. The user can alternately or additionally complete a more comprehensive form for volunteer activities.

For issue-minded activists, this may not appear to be the most attractive form of direct action. However, a considerable portion of the government’s impact on citizens (as well as those around the world) comes from the actions of Congress. The House makes policy concrete by passing legislation; the contents of these bills span the whole spectrum of interest groups. For those that are seriously pursuing the impeachment path, please note the House can bring charges against federal officials. Ensuring the right individuals are placed in the House then becomes imperative for any cause.


National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Election 2016 was the fourth presidential election where the winning candidate did not win the majority of the popular vote. Subsequently, the Electoral College has come under renewed fire; the most recent instance of a majority-electoral-minority-popular split was in 2000 between Bush and Gore. Though there is a considerable gap between 2000 and the first two instances in 1876 and 1888, criticism of the system is not new. As recently as a 2013 Gallup poll, 63% of polled adults said they would vote for getting rid of the Electoral College.

In practical terms, there is little short-term recourse against the Electoral College. Changing the system would require a constitutional amendment. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, currently do an alternative system where a proportion of electoral votes are given based on the percentage of popular votes received. However, it is worth noting that mathematically speaking a “fair” voting solution is difficult to find.

One initiative worth mentioning is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). The bill would assign a state’s electoral votes to the state’s popular vote winner. Currently, the coalition includes 10 states and the District of Columbia, or 165 electoral votes. In order to be made law, 105 electoral votes worth of states would have to join. The effort is worth attention because of the progress it has made. Beyond that, support for the cause follows the familiar routes of either contacting legislators and donations.

SPLC Election 2016 Resources

Teaching Tolerance, an educational resource of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), created an excellent, broad online resource for the 2016 Election. While the format is geared towards professional educators, the material is rich enough to merit everyone’s time.

The resource is divided into several subject areas: Countering Bias; Civic Activities; Getting Along; How To (or, how teachers can cover the election in class); and Election Sites. Every section mixes research, media, storytelling, activities, direct action, and much more—in short, there are a number of entry points for users. Post-Election Day, the Election Sites section may seem of less use, but it still deserves attention, given the current level of interest and attention upon the election process.

The entire Teaching Tolerance project, which has been in existence since 1991, is remarkable and worth your time. The site is updated regularly, so it is worth bookmarking, adding to your RSS feed, etc. And, of course, the SPLC is very deserving of your support.