About the Center

The Center for Ballot Freedom aims to reduce the extreme partisan polarization inherent in our two-party system, replacing it with a healthy, vibrant multi-party democracy.

Our Vision

America’s political system is broken. Our two-party system rewards extremism and discourages coalition and compromise.

Fusion voting would help move America towards a vibrant, functional multi-party democracy in which coalition and compromise are incentivized and rewarded.

In a country of 330 million people, it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to fit into two political or ideological boxes.

We need more voices and more choices in American politics. And that is only possible if we alter our electoral system so that those new voices and new parties can form and thrive.

We believe fusion voting is a major solution to America’s polarization problem, and we’re working to reinstate it state-by-state using legislation, litigation, and ballot initiatives.

Our Strategy

The Center for Ballot Freedom is focused on relegalizing the election system previously used in all states called fusion voting.

Fusion voting allows a candidate for public office to be nominated by more than one party in a given race – two parties “fusing” on a single candidate – and in doing so allow new voices, new ideas, and new parties to emerge.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, smaller and emerging party voters consistently leveraged fusion voting to advance their agendas. But the two major parties banned fusion in order to stamp out competition and consolidate their power. Most legal scholars believe this was, and is, an unconstitutional limit on the freedoms of association and assembly that all citizens should enjoy. The fusion ban has made it impossible for new voices and parties to exercise real power and influence over the political agenda. This in turn has helped cement the dysfunctional, zero-sum nature of the two-party system and the dysfunctional government that it produces.

The Center for Ballot Freedom seeks to reinstate fusion voting state-by-state using legislation, litigation, and ballot initiatives. We are uniting unlikely allies across the political spectrum in this effort because fusion voting is an urgent, winnable, and impactful political reform that can strengthen democracy, increase voter choice, promote compromise, and reduce extremism.

There is nothing I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution. -- John Adams, October 2, 1780, 2nd President of the United States

Our Advisory Board

The Center’s inaugural board brings together civil society leaders and thinkers from across the American political spectrum: from left, center, and right. We are not united on most public policy goals – indeed we disagree heartily on such – but are committed to one shared, crucial ambition: to live in a healthy democracy.

Our inaugural board is still in formation; members are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Daniella Ballou-Aares, CEO, Leadership Now Project
  • Andy Craig, Director of Election Policy, Rainey Center; adjunct scholar, Cato Institute
  • Lee Drutman, Senior Fellow, New America
  • Eli Lehrer, President, The R Street Institute
  • Maurice Mitchell, National Director, Working Families Party
  • Greg Orman, Entrepreneur and Former Independent Candidate for U.S. Senate and Kansas Governor
  • Daniel Stid, Senior Fellow and Advisor, Defending Democracy Together Institute
  • Miles Taylor, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, Forward Party; former Chief of Staff, US Department of Homeland Security
  • Rick Wolfe, leader of New Jersey Moderate Party and lead plaintiff in NJ fusion lawsuit; former Republican Mayor, East Amwell Township, NJ

For more information: Dave Palmer, Director, [email protected]

The Case for Fusion Voting and a Multiparty Democracy in America: How to Start Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop

Read more from board member Lee Drutman, Senior Fellow at New America.

Read Full Report