In 2013, the Bipartisan Policy Center created a Commission on Political Reform to investigate the causes and consequences of America’s partisan political divide and to advocate for specific reforms to improve the political process.
Their new report, Governing in a Polarized America: A Bipartisan Blueprint to Strengthen our Democracy, identifies reforms in three specific areas: the electoral process, the process by which Congress legislates and manages its own affairs, and the ability of Americans to plug into the nation’s civic life through public service.
Their electoral reform recommendations include:
- Identifying eligible unregistered voters and contacting them with the opportunity to vote.
- A seven- to ten-day period of early voting prior to Election Day that includes at least one day of voting on each day of the week.
- Adopting open or semi-open primaries, and moving away from caucuses and conventions to increase the number of voters who cast ballots in political primaries. (Currently, stand-alone congressional primaries average approximately 20% turnout of eligible voters.)
- A single national congressional primary date in June.
- Creating state redistricting commissions that have bipartisan support and utilize neutral line-drawers in the process, as well as making the redistricting process more open and accessible to the public through technology tools.
- Political contribution disclosure and legislation requiring detailed disclosure of spending by congressional leadership PACs and mandating that such funds be used solely for political activities and not for personal use.
The report also encouraged states to improve data-collection efforts (and to share data) and to emphasize the independence and professionalism of election administrators. Read the report’s full set of electoral reform recommendations.