Updated: Jan 18
Earlier this morning, Ashley Sellers joined Commissioner Richard LaGrand on air to discuss Take Back Action Fund's goal to bring majority rule to the 43 states where candidates can claim victory with 35 percent or less plurality vote. The interview Sellers with an opportunity to spend the morning with Commissioner LaGrand, whose impressive accomplishments were highlighted in yesterday's TBAF post.
For your convenience, our team has segmented the audio into three portions with a text introduction appearing prior to the audio clip. We hope you will listen to all three segments of the interview.
At the start of the interview, LaGrand discussed Seller's ability to expand on the lessons she learned in the classroom to find applicable solutions to improving the integrity of our nation's elections--spanning from Casper, WY to Guntersville, AL and numerous state capitols in between. LaGrand and Sellers agreed on the importance of immersing oneself in experiential opportunities that allow classroom theory to meet real world practice.
In the middle of the interview, LaGrand discussed his youth and the hard work and determination that led to his winning a basketball title in Chicago with teammate Bo Ellis, who later went on to win a National Championship in a coincidental twist covered in the post, “What do Alabama Commissioner and Marquette HOF Coach Have in Common?” After discussing his youth, LeGrand turned his attention to Sellers’s plans to work throughout the Southeast to advance TBAF’s important policy goals, such as instant runoffs.
And, for the conclusion, we want to offer a a very lightly edited transcript below the following final audio file.
LaGrand: Good morning and we are back live on the radio. I’ve got Ashley Sellers with me this morning. Ashley, I have another question for you, we have the young ladies from the Lee County Youth Development Center here … Did I just hear someone over their singing, sounding good? ... I think we have some future superstars. Speaking of young folks, you ended up taking on so much at an early age, 20 years old and about to graduate from Auburn University. I know that must be exciting for you ... We talked about “instant runoff,” your organization uses “instant runoff” a lot. What does that mean?
Sellers: I would say a lot of Alabama voters are probably familiar with traditional runoffs, where if no candidate gets to 50% then a runoff election is held to make sure the majority rules. What people do not realize is that only seven states use runoffs, so in 43 states an official might be elected with only 35% of the vote… The candidate that not even the majority of the people want could be elected.
Our traditional runoffs fix that problem by having everyone come back and vote between the top two candidates. What we were able to pass last year in Georgia however, is what is known as an “instant runoff” for military overseas voters so that those voters do not need to mail ballots back to the US twice to vote. They just mark who their second choice is when they vote the first time. Alabama was actually the first state to do this, and we are glad other states are following suit...
But instant runoffs is one step further. That is when we let all voters have the option of marking their second choice when they vote the first time so they do not need to come back and vote again six weeks later, because that could dramatically drop voter turnout and we we do not want. We want as many people to participate in the democratic process as possible.
This recently worked very well in Utah and Virginia as well, and we would like to bring the idea of majority rule to the other 43 states through enacting different types of instant runoff laws.
LaGrand: Ashley, you have definitely been informative today, no question about it. Our special guest Ashley Sellers, Take Back Action Fund Southern Field Director. An Auburn High School alumni, and soon to be a Auburn University alumni.
Sellers: Yes sir!
LaGrand: Thank you so much.
Sellers: Thank you for having me.
During the radio interview, Sellers' appearance on Huntsville's CBS Station after running a successful ballot referendum. The link to her appearance is here.
For more on TBORA's efforts on election integrity, please click here.