Press Release: Veterans Join Forces to Strengthen American Democracy

Press Release: Veterans Join Forces to Strengthen American Democracy

Veterans for Political Innovation, The Institute for Political Innovation and Open Primaries, host pre-Veterans Day discussion on remaking elections in America.

November 5, 2021
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CHICAGO, IL – American Veterans have banded together in service of our country once more to discuss how to strengthen our democracy through election reform. Chicago-based Veterans for Political Innovation (VPI), a recently launched national, nonprofit organization, joins the Institute for Political Innovation (IPI), and Open Primaries in co-hosting a virtual discussion, “America’s Veterans Fight to Remake American Democracy,” Tuesday, November 9, beginning at 1400 (2pm EST). The conversation will center around an innovative electoral reform known as “Final-Five Voting”— the powerful combination of nonpartisan open primaries, with the top five candidates proceeding to a ranked-choice general election. “Like most Americans, I’m distraught at the current state of affairs,” said Todd Connor, VPI’s CEO. “This polarization is neither normal, nor cyclical, and we have to take a systems-level view at how to fix it. The primary election has become the primary problem in American politics.”Event registration is open now at majority of veterans, 49%, do not identify with a major political party resulting in a disproportionately high percentage of veterans locked out of voting in closed primary states.  Veterans have sworn a common oath to support and defend the Constitution, not a political party.  Veterans also have a unique perspective of serving together with a cross-section of the entire country, rather than a Republican or Democratic America, and are motivated to serve because of a deep belief in the common good for all Americans. Often, these are the same citizens that are physically distanced from the partisan divide and paralyzing polarization of Washington, yet are some of the people most affected by the inefficiencies of our federal government. Having been accustomed to working on diverse teams and under harrowing circumstances, VPI is leveraging their experience to combat the ruinous effects of our current partisan voting system in championing Final-Five Voting. FINAL-FIVE VOTINGFinal-Five Voting (FFV) features a hybrid change of elected federal representation. In a FFV primary, all candidates from any party appear on a single ballot, and all eligible voters can vote regardless of whether they are registered with a party. The top 5 candidates from the single primary move to the general election. Rather than voters choosing between two candidates, voters can rank candidates 1 through 5 establishing an instant runoff. If no candidates receive 50% of first choice votes the candidate with the least votes is eliminated. Voters who had ranked the eliminated candidate first, now have their single vote automatically transferred to their next choice of the remaining four candidates. The votes are tallied again and this “runoff” process continues until you have a true majority winner.Whereas in the current system voters choose between two candidates who often cater solely to primary voters, the FFV approach requires candidates appeal to all voters, regardless of party affiliation. Once in office, these candidates are then incentivized to vote according to their entire electorate, rather than majority party demands.

Veterans for Political Innovation 

Veterans for Political Innovation (VPI) is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2021 by veterans Dan Biga, Eric Bronner and Todd Connor to mobilize veterans and supporters to advocate for election innovations to make our system less toxic and more competitive.

Based in Chicago, VPI envisions a competitive American democracy where everyday citizens are incentivized and excited to participate. VPI champions healthy competition through election innovations such as: open primaries, ranked-choice voting and the new, Alaska-style “Final-Five Voting” (FFV) system. These powerful innovations incentivize voters with more viable choices in the general election, elevate more candidate voices and reward problem-solving candidates with the broadest appeal. Through healthy competition we can break toxic, partisan gridlock and restore a more effective and accountable representative democracy.

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Institute for Political Innovation 

The Institute for Political Innovation is a cross-partisan, not-for-profit c3 organization founded in 2020 by businesswoman Katherine M. Gehl that contributes theory, scholarship, and strategy to catalyze and model modern political change in America.

Based in Chicago, the organization is the culmination of a multi-year period of scholarship and research – a pivot toward investment and action – with an immediate focus on Final-Five Voting, a system wherein the top five candidates are selected from the non partisan primary ballot and ranked-choice voting of the top five candidates from the primary in the general election, ensuring politicians are held accountable for delivering results.

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Open Primaries

Open Primaries is a movement of diverse Americans who believe in a simple, yet radical idea: no American should be required to join a political party to exercise their right to vote.

The mission of Open Primaries is to advocate for open and nonpartisan primary systems, counter efforts to impose closed primaries, educate voters and policymakers, advance litigation, train spokespeople, conduct and support research, and participate in the building of local, state and national open primaries coalitions. We provide information to the public about open and nonpartisan primaries. We engage all sectors—voters, policy makers, good government and civic organizations, business leaders, community activists—to educate, build bridges and develop the primary reform movement.

We accomplish our mission through two entities:

  • Open Primaries Advocacy is a 501c4 organization that advances efforts to enact and protect open primaries through legislation, ballot referendums, voter mobilization, and direct advocacy campaigns.

  • Open Primaries Education Fund is a 501c3 organization that conducts research, advances litigation, and educates the public and policymakers on the benefits of electoral reform.

Learn more at