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

Voting Fights in the States

Less suppression than feared; some surprising progress

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky
AP Photo/Andrew Selsky Oregon Governor Kate Brown, at podium, celebrates Oregon's first year of an automatic voter registration program with a news conference, where she said that in the November election, over 97,000 ballots were cast by new voters registered by the so-called motor voter program. Hazelnuts contained in the bags in the foreground represent the 270,000 Oregonians who were registered to vote by the program. T he national battle over voting rights and “voter fraud” will play out in Washington over the next months in relation to the Kobach-Pence commission and the resistance to it. But in the meantime, issues have been joined this spring in state legislative sessions around the country. And the resulting scorecard may surprise you. Back in November, when the dust settled after the election, the numbers on partisan control of legislatures seemed stark and frightening for advocates of voting rights and election reform. Republicans controlled both chambers in 31 states, and...

Kobach ‘Voter Fraud’ Commission Gets Fast Thumbs Down

Lacking even the veneer of bipartisanship, the Kobach Commission represents an assault on basic voting rights.

AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach talks with a reporter in his office in Topeka. T he Kobach Commission (sometimes referred to as the Pence Commission) on voter fraud was created in the way so many things have been in the Trump administration. It started with an angry and completely unsubstantiated tweet, echoing a campaign trope, followed by public statements doubling down on the message, followed by a half-baked executive order. The Commission was created to investigate the allegations of Trump’s alternative universe, where massive voter fraud cost the president millions of votes. The true voter fraud—creating obstacles to the right to vote—is not part of its mandate. Kris Kobach is of course the perfect choice. As Kansas secretary of state, he has made his reputation seeking to make it as difficult as possible for people in Kansas to vote, and by fanning the fantasy of massive voter fraud. Kobach has been sued four times by the ACLU for his efforts to...

The March Toward a Constitutional Convention Slows to a Crawl

While some conservative legislatures may still vote for it, liberal legislatures are rescinding their state’s decades-old support.

(Photo: AP/Michael Conroy)
(Photo: AP/Michael Conroy) Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore David Long welcomes delegates meeting to set up the framework for states to amend the Constitution in Indianapolis on June 12, 2014. T he slow and steady march of conservatives to have states call for a constitutional convention seemed poised, after the November elections, to take major steps forward. After all, Republicans emerged from the elections with control of both houses of state legislatures in 32 states and governor’s offices in 34 states, and having “trifectas” in 23 states. Democrats, by contrast, have legislative control in only 13 states, governors in 16, and full executive and legislative control in only six. Since the days of Ronald Reagan, conservatives have hoped to win enough support to call a convention vested with the authority to amend and potentially remake the Constitution to their specifications. Their efforts commenced in the 1970s, in the wake of California’s enactment of Proposition 13, with...

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...

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