Democracy in the states: experiments in election reform

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Brookings Institution Press, 2008 - Political Science - 238 pages
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Democracy in the Statesoffers a 21st century agenda for election reform in America based on lessons learned in the fifty states. Combining accessibility and rigor, leading scholars of U.S. politics and elections examine the impact of reforms intended to increase the integrity, fairness, and responsiveness of the electoral system. While some of these reforms focus on election administration, which has been the subject of much controversy since the 2000 presidential election, others seek more broadly to increase political participation and improve representation. For example, Paul Gronke (Reed College) and his colleagues study the relationship between early voting and turnout. Barry Burden (University of Wisconsin--Madison) examines the hurdles that third-party candidates must clear to get on the ballot in different states. Michael McDonald (George Mason University) analyzes the leading strategies for redistricting reform. And Todd Donovan (Western Washington University) focuses on how the spread of "safe" legislative seats affects both representation and participation.Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously observed that "a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country." Nowhere is this function more essential than in the sphere of election reform, as this important book shows.

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Contents

Election Administration and Voter Confidence
21
Poll Workers Job Satisfaction and Confidence
35
Vote Centers and Voter Turnout
55
Early Voting and Voter Turnout
68
Election Day Registration Competition
83
Term Limits and State Legislatures
117
Multimember Districts and State Legislatures
134
Legislative Redistricting
147
Multiple Parties and Ballot Regulations
161
Direct Democracy and Election and Ethics Laws
174
A Goal for Reform
186
From the Last Generation of Reform to the Next
199
References
207
Contributors
229
Copyright

About the author (2008)

Bruce E. Cain is Robson Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, and Director, Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of "The Reapportionment Puzzle "(California, 1984) and coauthor of "The Personal Vote "(1987) and "Congressional Redistricting "(1992). Elisabeth R. Gerber is Professor of Public Policy and Director of the State and Local Policy Center, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan. She is the author of "The Populist Paradox: Interest Group Influence and the Promise of Direct Legislation "(1999) and coauthor of "Stealing the Initiative: How State Government Responds to Direct Democracy "(2000).

Todd Donovan (Ph.D., University of California, Riverside) is a professor of political science at Western Washington University. He teaches state and local politics; American politics, parties, campaigns, and elections; comparative electoral systems; and introductory research methods and statistics. His research interests include direct democracy, election systems and representation, political behavior, subnational politics, and the political economy of local development. He has published extensively in academic journals; written a number of books on direct democracy, elections, institutions, and reform; and has received numerous grants and awards for his work. He is coauthor (with Christopher Z. Mooney and Daniel A. Smith) of STATE AND LOCAL POLITICS: INSTITUTIONS AND REFORM (?2009) and coauthor (with Ken Hoover) of THE ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL SCIENTIFIC THINKING, also published by Cengage Learning.

Caroline J. Tolbert is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Iowa.