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

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Gerken has written a compelling and practical plan for improving the conduct of American elections. The Democracy Index offers a politically sophisticated strategy for converting those forces that typically frustrate reform--partisanship and localism--into engines of reform. Given the evident shortcomings in the ways in which citizens register to vote, cast their ballots, and have their choices counted, the subject of this book could not be more important. And Gerken's lively and engaging prose makes it a genuine pleasure to read."--Thomas E. Mann, coauthor of The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How To Get It Back on Track

"What a terrific idea! Heather Gerken makes a powerful argument that with the Democracy Index, ranking states and localities, we can create a little competition to improve our electoral process. She makes the brilliant suggestion that democratic checks should be enlisted to improve democracy itself. In the process of elaborating what may well be the best recent idea for promoting electoral reform, Gerken offers a fun and engaging read. I couldn't put it down."--Cass R. Sunstein, coauthor of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

"The idea that drives The Democracy Index is fresh, original, and potentially of genuine practical importance in improving the performance of our election system. Heather Gerken writes with energy, flair, and a conversational, engaging tone that draws readers in."--Richard Pildes, coauthor of The Law of Democracy

"The idea of The Democracy Index is brilliant and it seems obvious once it is stated. I suspect that I will not be alone in wishing that I had come up with the idea. This book will appeal to a wide audience."--Michael Hanmer, coauthor of Voting Technology: The Not-So-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot

"The Democracy Index is very exciting. It covers all the important aspects of the Index and effectively explains how it could improve the electoral process."--Thad Hall, coauthor of Electronic Elections

Synopsis:

"Gerken has written a compelling and practical plan for improving the conduct of American elections. The Democracy Index offers a politically sophisticated strategy for converting those forces that typically frustrate reform--partisanship and localism--into engines of reform. Given the evident shortcomings in the ways in which citizens register to vote, cast their ballots, and have their choices counted, the subject of this book could not be more important. And Gerken's lively and engaging prose makes it a genuine pleasure to read."--Thomas E. Mann, coauthor of The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How To Get It Back on Track

"What a terrific idea! Heather Gerken makes a powerful argument that with the Democracy Index, ranking states and localities, we can create a little competition to improve our electoral process. She makes the brilliant suggestion that democratic checks should be enlisted to improve democracy itself. In the process of elaborating what may well be the best recent idea for promoting electoral reform, Gerken offers a fun and engaging read. I couldn't put it down."--Cass R. Sunstein, coauthor of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

"The idea that drives The Democracy Index is fresh, original, and potentially of genuine practical importance in improving the performance of our election system. Heather Gerken writes with energy, flair, and a conversational, engaging tone that draws readers in."--Richard Pildes, coauthor of The Law of Democracy

"The idea of The Democracy Index is brilliant and it seems obvious once it is stated. I suspect that I will not be alone in wishing that I had come up with the idea. This book will appeal to a wide audience."--Michael Hanmer, coauthor of Voting Technology: The Not-So-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot

"The Democracy Index is very exciting. It covers all the important aspects of the Index and effectively explains how it could improve the electoral process."--Thad Hall, coauthor of Electronic Elections

Synopsis:

Despite howls for reform, the only thing separating us from another election disaster of the kind that hit Florida in 2000, and that almost struck again in Ohio in 2004, may simply be another close vote. In this lucid and lively book, Heather Gerken diagnoses what is wrong with our elections and proposes a radically new and simple solution: a Democracy Index that would rate the performance of state and local election systems. A rough equivalent to the U.S. News and World Report ranking of colleges and universities, the Index would focus on problems that matter to all voters: How long does it take to vote? How many ballots get discarded? How often do voting machines break down? And it should work for a simple reason: no one wants to be at the bottom of the list.

For a process that is supposed to be all about counting, U.S. elections yield few reliable numbers about anything--least of all how well the voting system is managed. The Democracy Index would change this with a blueprint for quantifying election performance and reform results, replacing anecdotes and rhetoric with hard data and verifiable outcomes. A fresh vision of reform, this book shows how to drive improvements by creating incentives for politicians, parties, and election officials to join the cause of change and to come up with creative solutions--all without Congress issuing a single regulation.

In clear and energetic terms, The Democracy Index explains how to realize the full potential of the Index while avoiding potential pitfalls. Election reform will never be the same again.

About the Author

Heather K. Gerken is the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School, where she teaches election and constitutional law. She is a frequent media commentator on elections and has written for the "New Republic," "Roll Call," "Legal Affairs," and the "Legal Times."

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix

INTRODUCTION Why We Need a Democracy Index 1

CHAPTER 1: The Perverse Politics of Election Reform Why (We Think) Elections Are Run Badly, and What to Do about It 11

CHAPTER 2: The Promise of Data-driven Reform 38

CHAPTER 3: The Politics of Reform and the Promise of Ranking 66

CHAPTER 4: Is the Game Worth the Candle? 91

CHAPTER 5: Getting from Here to There in Miniature Making the Democracy Index a Reality 108

Conclusion: Getting from "Here to There" Redux 132

AFTERWORD 137

NOTES 143

INDEX 173

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691136943
Subtitle:
Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Gerken, Heather K.
Author:
Merini, Alda
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Elections
Subject:
Voting
Subject:
Political Process - Elections
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Democracy
Subject:
Election law
Subject:
Voting -- United States.
Subject:
Elections -- United States.
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
Politics - General
Subject:
Democracy
Copyright:
Publication Date:
March 2009
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2 tables.
Pages:
216
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 16 oz

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » Election Law
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics

The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 216 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691136943 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Gerken has written a compelling and practical plan for improving the conduct of American elections. The Democracy Index offers a politically sophisticated strategy for converting those forces that typically frustrate reform--partisanship and localism--into engines of reform. Given the evident shortcomings in the ways in which citizens register to vote, cast their ballots, and have their choices counted, the subject of this book could not be more important. And Gerken's lively and engaging prose makes it a genuine pleasure to read."--Thomas E. Mann, coauthor of The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How To Get It Back on Track

"What a terrific idea! Heather Gerken makes a powerful argument that with the Democracy Index, ranking states and localities, we can create a little competition to improve our electoral process. She makes the brilliant suggestion that democratic checks should be enlisted to improve democracy itself. In the process of elaborating what may well be the best recent idea for promoting electoral reform, Gerken offers a fun and engaging read. I couldn't put it down."--Cass R. Sunstein, coauthor of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

"The idea that drives The Democracy Index is fresh, original, and potentially of genuine practical importance in improving the performance of our election system. Heather Gerken writes with energy, flair, and a conversational, engaging tone that draws readers in."--Richard Pildes, coauthor of The Law of Democracy

"The idea of The Democracy Index is brilliant and it seems obvious once it is stated. I suspect that I will not be alone in wishing that I had come up with the idea. This book will appeal to a wide audience."--Michael Hanmer, coauthor of Voting Technology: The Not-So-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot

"The Democracy Index is very exciting. It covers all the important aspects of the Index and effectively explains how it could improve the electoral process."--Thad Hall, coauthor of Electronic Elections

"Synopsis" by , Despite howls for reform, the only thing separating us from another election disaster of the kind that hit Florida in 2000, and that almost struck again in Ohio in 2004, may simply be another close vote. In this lucid and lively book, Heather Gerken diagnoses what is wrong with our elections and proposes a radically new and simple solution: a Democracy Index that would rate the performance of state and local election systems. A rough equivalent to the U.S. News and World Report ranking of colleges and universities, the Index would focus on problems that matter to all voters: How long does it take to vote? How many ballots get discarded? How often do voting machines break down? And it should work for a simple reason: no one wants to be at the bottom of the list.

For a process that is supposed to be all about counting, U.S. elections yield few reliable numbers about anything--least of all how well the voting system is managed. The Democracy Index would change this with a blueprint for quantifying election performance and reform results, replacing anecdotes and rhetoric with hard data and verifiable outcomes. A fresh vision of reform, this book shows how to drive improvements by creating incentives for politicians, parties, and election officials to join the cause of change and to come up with creative solutions--all without Congress issuing a single regulation.

In clear and energetic terms, The Democracy Index explains how to realize the full potential of the Index while avoiding potential pitfalls. Election reform will never be the same again.

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