Miles Rapoport

Miles Rapoport is a longtime democracy advocate who served as secretary of state in Connecticut, and president of both Dēmos and Common Cause. He is the Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at the Ash Center of the Kennedy School at Harvard and a member of the board of The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

First Official 2016 Turnout Report Has Some Good News

Same-day registration shows its power.

AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan
AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan Voters fill out their forms and wait to vote at a polling station in Brooklyn, New York, Tuesday, November 8, 2016. " America Goes to the Polls ," the first report on 2016 election turnout based on official returns compiled by secretaries of state, was released Thursday by the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida and Nonprofit VOTE. This is the seventh election for which they have done this. Kudos to the two organizations for providing a report that is full of interesting information and worth a full read on a variety of counts. First, 139 million people voted, 60.2 percent of the voting eligible population (VEP is the best measure because it accounts for people barred from voting for felony convictions). This is the third-highest turnout since 18-year-olds first got the vote in 1972, and a 1.6 percent increase over 2012. A second notable fact is that an astonishing 33 congressional elections were decided by 10 points or less, while 73 percent...

Elections: State Progress, Federal Train Wreck

State secretaries bask in smooth Election Day, joust in Washington’s battles

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis Last minute voters rush to cast their ballots on Election Day at the Christ United Methodist Church precinct in north Jackson, Mississippi, Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Editors’ Note: Miles Rapoport has been on the democracy beat for all of a long career. As a community organizer, a state representative and secretary of state in Connecticut, and for the last 15 years as President of Demos and then of Common Cause, a vibrant and inclusive democracy has been his passion and work. Miles recently became the Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy at the Ash Center of the Kennedy School at Harvard. Today he begins a biweekly column on democracy issues for the Prospect , where we are also glad to have him as a board member. T he National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) met February 16 and 17 on Pennsylvania Avenue, two blocks from the White House. Ironically, despite irresponsible claims of massive voter fraud and legitimate worries about voter...

McConnell Uses Misinformation to Protect Secret Political Donors

How the Kentucky senator is trying to block an executive order on political spending. 

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File In this January 12, 2016 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. S ix years after U.S Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision, voters across the political spectrum are tired of a system that prioritizes big donors over everyday voters and are ready for bold solutions. Simply put: The debate about the problem of money in politics is over. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks otherwise. McConnell last week unleashed a blizzard of misinformation aimed at knocking down an effort to help voters learn more about who is buying influence in government, specifically when our tax dollars are used in the contracting process. As The New York Times and The Washington Post recently reported, President Obama is seriously considering an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political spending. This would be an important step toward making good...

Democracy's New Moment

F or a very long time, those of us committed to strengthening American democracy felt we were—if not voices crying in the wilderness—standing on the sidelines, stamping our feet for attention. Fights over the right to vote and other civil rights are as old as the Republic, as are efforts to restrain the influence of money in politics. But until lately, the health of democracy itself was not quite a first-tier public issue. When the 2000 election showed just how important a few votes could be, we hoped this debacle would galvanize a broader movement for democracy. In March 2001, I wrote an article for this magazine entitled “Democracy’s Moment,” calling for a movement with the broad agenda of expanding voting and reining in runaway campaign spending. The closing sentence was “If the democracy movement is successful, America’s real and diverse majority will emerge and change our country for the better.” It was slightly wishful thinking, at the time. Now, 14 years later, we are in even...

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