The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It

By Heather K. Gerken | Go to book overview

Introduction :
Why We Need a Democracy Index

Our election system is run badly. Although many people are aware of the problem and eager for a solution, reform efforts have gotten surprisingly little traction. This book explains why election reform has yet to catch hold and offers a promising new solution for getting change passed: a “Democracy Index,” which would rank states and localities based on how their election systems perform.


THE PROBLEM

The best evidence we have suggests that our election system is clunky at best and dysfunctional at worst*. Ballots are discarded. Poll workers are poorly trained. Registration lists work badly. Lines can be too long. Machines malfunction. Partisan officials change the rules of the game to help themselves and hurt their enemies. Election administrators cannot agree on what constitutes a best practice, or even whether there is any such thing. Authority is decentralized, so it's hard to know who's to blame when a problem occurs. Most experts agree that the system we use to run our elections is chronically underfunded, often poorly run, and sometimes administered in a partisan fashion.

*Rather than repeat the phrase “the best evidence we have” in every other sentence of this book, let
me offer a general caveat about the diagnoses offered here. As chapter 2 makes clear, it is difficult to
make precise claims about the current state of the election system because the data are so sparse. What
I describe here are the symptoms that experts routinely see and the field's best guesses as to their root
causes. These assessments are based on the best information available, but better information would be
necessary to state these claims with certainty. One of the main points of the book is that we should be
deeply troubled by our inability to know whether the system is working or not.

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 181

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.