Other Group

National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers

Location:

Denver, CO

Executive Director:

Jim Jonas

Honorary Co-Chairs:

Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter

Formation:

2018

Type:

Coalition of Election Reform Organizations

The National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers is a group of electoral administration advocacy organizations, individuals, leaders, and funders. The group endorses aggressive changes to electoral systems that left-of-center interests believe would advantage them; it suggested that the House Democratic leadership-backed H.R. 1 legislation proposed in 2019 would be a “start” towards further weakening of political parties and other political mediating institutions. [1]

The group made its planned launch in January 2018. [2]The association was founded by representatives of 10 mostly left-leaning advocacy organization that have led past election reforms against two-party opposition. The association members at the founding were the Independent Voter Project, the Bridge Alliance, the Chamberlain Project, FairVote, Open Primaries, the Centrist Project (now Unite America), IVC Media, California Forward, Let Colorado Vote, and Colorado Independent Voters. [3]

The association is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. [4] The association assists member organizations at the local level in branding, databases, funding sources, press and public relations, professional vendors, political action committees. [5]

Advocacy

The organization endorses issues, publishes op-eds and assists members assist members with a media relations campaign. But, the organization does not endorse candidates nor directly lobby for legislation. [6]

It has campaigned for an open primary system (a primary election system in which voters of either or no party may vote in either party’s primary) in Colorado, backed ranked-choice voting in Maine, and pushed for California to adopt a “top-two” primary system under which two candidates from the same party (in practice, usually two Democrats) compete in the general election. It seeks to bring these changes to other states. [7]

Leaders of the group noted major reform successes from the 2018 election. This included ethics reform initiatives that passed in New Mexico, Missouri, North Dakota, and Florida; campaign speech regulation and government funding of campaigns initiatives that passed in Missouri, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Baltimore, New York City, Denver, and Phoenix; left-advantaging changes to redistricting procedures that passed in Michigan, Colorado, Missouri, and Utah; voter eligibility rights initiatives approved by voters in Florida, Maryland, Michigan, and Nevada; and Maine’s first use of its ranked-choice voting system. [8]

In 2019, the National Association of Nonpartisan Voters matched all donations to the initiative to have open primaries in Maine, building on the state’s previous change for ranked choice voting. Member organization to the association include the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting and Open Primaries Maine. [9]

Leadership

Jim Jonas, is a founder and the executive director of the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers. He is also a member of the board of directors. Jonas had been an activist for open primaries, arguing they are critical in encouraging independent voters to cast a ballot in primaries. [10]

Jonas is a co-founder of Colorado Independent Voters. Jonas is a former director of communications and public affairs at the University of Colorado. He was the campaign manager for Greg Orman’s nominally independent but Senate Democratic leadership-backed[11] U.S. Senate campaign in Kansas in 2014. Early in his career he worked as a media producer for Roger Ailes. He was also the communications director for Lamar Alexander’s 1996 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. [12]

The two honorary national co-chairs for the organization are Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter. Gehl and Porter are the co-authors of the Harvard Business School report, “Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America.” [13]

Other members of the board of directors are Cara McCormick, CEO of the Chamberlain Project; Kent Thiry, chairman of Let Colorado Vote; Dan Howle, executive director of Independent Voter Project; Lenny Mendonca, co-chair of California Forward, David Nevins, president of Bridge Alliance; Nick Troiano, executive director of the Centrist Project; Rob Richie, president of FairVote Action; John Opdycke, president of Open Primaries; and S. Chad Peace, president of IVC Media. [14]

References

  1. Gehl, Katherine and Porter, Michael. “H.R. 1 is a Start, But We Must do More for Nonpartisan Electoral Reform.” The Hill. December 21, 2018. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/422344-hr1-is-a-start-but-we-must-do-more-for-nonpartisan-electoral ^
  2. Coghlan, Ed. “New Nonpartisan Coalition Aims to Fix What Hyper-Partisan Politics Has Broken.” CA Forward. January 25, 2018. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://cafwd.org/reporting/entry/new-nonpartisan-coalition-aims-to-fix-what-hyper-partisan-politics-has-brok ^
  3. Press Release. “IVP Helps Launch National Reformers Association to Challenge Two-Party Duopoly.” January 22, 2018. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://independentvoterproject.org/updates/ivp-helps-launch-national-reformers-association-to-challenge-two-party-duopoly ^
  4. Press Release. “IVP Helps Launch National Reformers Association to Challenge Two-Party Duopoply.” January 22, 2018. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://independentvoterproject.org/updates/ivp-helps-launch-national-reformers-association-to-challenge-two-party-duopoly ^
  5. About. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://nonpartisanreformers.org/nanr-about ^
  6. About. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://nonpartisanreformers.org/nanr-about ^
  7. About. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://nonpartisanreformers.org/nanr-about ^
  8. Gehl, Katherine and Porter, Michael. “H.R. 1 is a Start, But We Must do More for Nonpartisan Electoral Reform.” The Hill. December 21, 2018. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/422344-hr1-is-a-start-but-we-must-do-more-for-nonpartisan-electoral ^
  9. Griffiths, Sean. “So Goes Maine? National Reform Coalition Supports Open Primaries, Ranked Choice Voting Initiatives.” Independent Voter News. May 29, 2019. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://ivn.us/posts/so-goes-maine-national-reform-coalition-supports-open-primaries-ranked-choice-voting-initiatives ^
  10. Renda, Matthew. “Open Primary Movement Seeks to Empower Voters to Empower Voters to Break Gridlock.” Courthouse News Service. May 3, 2019. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.courthousenews.com/open-primary-movement-seeks-to-empower-voters-to-break-gridlock/ ^
  11. York, Byron. “Yes, Dems Did Funnel Money to ‘Independent’ in Kansas Senate Race.” Washington Examiner, December 8, 2014. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/yes-dems-did-funnel-money-to-independent-in-kansas-senate-race. ^
  12. Jim Jonas. LinkedIn. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/profinder/pro/jimjonas ^
  13. Gehl, Katherine and Porter, Michael. “H.R. 1 is a Start, But We Must do More for Nonpartisan Electoral Reform.” The Hill. December 21, 2018. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/422344-hr1-is-a-start-but-we-must-do-more-for-nonpartisan-electoral ^
  14. National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers. Ballotpedia. Accessed March 7, 2020. https://ballotpedia.org/National_Association_of_Nonpartisan_Reformers ^
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National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers


Denver, CO