Fixing the U.S. Election System: Is a Democracy Index the Answer?
The 2000 presidential debacle focused public attention on our increasingly dysfunctional electoral system. Nearly a decade later, widespread problems remain despite a wealth of proposed solutions, an eager reform community, and significant public support for more smoothly-run elections. Yale Law School’s Heather Gerken offers a solution in The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It (Princeton University Press, 2008) – an index to rank states and localities based on how well they run their election systems on issues like wait times to vote and frequency of voting machine breakdowns.
On April 7, the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project, in cooperation with Yale Law School, hosted a discussion with Gerken. Thomas Mann, co-director of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and Brookings senior fellow, moderated a panel featuring Harold Koh, dean of the Yale Law School, and Norman Ornstein, co-director of the Election Reform Project and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
After the program, the panelists took audience questions.
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.