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Wisconsin Lawmakers Want to End Party Primaries in Congressional Races

A bipartisan group of Wisconsin lawmakers proposed a new kind of election system for Congressional races on Friday, arguing that the state’s existing system exacerbates partisanship and discourages compromise.

Currently in Wisconsin, the winners of party primaries compete in the general election. This bill proposes switching to “Final-Five” voting, which would require nonpartisan, single-ballot primaries in federal races. The top five candidates would then proceed to the general election, where voters would vote on ranked-choice ballots to determine a winner through an instant runoff. Last year, Alaska voters approved a similar “Top Four” measure by ballot initiative.

“Right now, members of Congress really don’t have the freedom to work in a bipartisan fashion because they can be taken out in a low-turnout party primary,” said state Sen. Jeff Smith, a Democrat from Eau Claire and co-sponsor of the bill.

Still, it would need to capture the support of a Republican-controlled Legislature to pass, and less than half the bill’s sponsors are from the GOP.

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New England Cable News

New England Cable News is a regional 24-hour cable news television network owned and operated by NBCUniversal serving the New England region of the United States. It focuses on regional news, though in some low priority timeslots, paid programming and programming from WNBC such as Talk Stoop and Open House are seen.

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