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Is Democracy Broken?


Is democracy
broken?
 

 

 

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Is Democracy Broken?


Is democracy
broken?
 

 

 

Next month, Americans will elect the next president and thousands of federal and state legislators and judges. Yet our election system is fundamentally out of balance. Entrenched special interests control our politics and average people find it harder than ever to make their voices heard. Crumbling under the weight of antiquated technology and restrictive voting laws, an avalanche of campaign money in the wake of Citizens United, and partisan gerrymandering designed to keep politicians in power, our system badly needs reform. How can we fix our democracy?

FIRST, THE PROBLEMS

 

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How to Fix the Electoral System


How to
fix the
electoral
system

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How to Fix the Electoral System


How to
fix the
electoral
system

The challenges facing our democratic system can be fixed. In the “Democracy Agenda,” the Brennan Center outlines several steps we can take to boost participation and make elections more fair for average Americans, including:

 

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The Election in Numbers


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The Election in Numbers


THE Election
IN numbers

States across America are in the midst of major battles over voting rights heading into the 2016 election, when citizens in 14 states will face new restrictions for the first time in a presidential race. Before the Supreme Court gutted the protections of the Voting Rights Act, courts stepped in ahead of elections to block or ease new voting restrictions. This map details the cases we are currently watching that could impact voting access before this November’s high-stakes general election.

 

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In the News


In the News

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In the News


In the News

As the election season heats up, the Brennan Center will provide regular news updates, analysis, and commentary, produced by our legal experts and media across the nation. Sign up to receive the latest installments. 

Interactive Map: Student Voting Guide 2016

Americans face an ever-shifting voting landscape before heading to the polls this November. Check out our map to find out how to register and vote in your state.

how semi-secret spending took over politics

State and local super PACs are increasingly reliant on "grey money" donations that trace back to other PACs, obscuring their actual sources of support.

Election 2016 Controversies 

This new series examines the facts amid an election season full of rhetoric on “rigged elections,” political posturing, and sensational claims from both sides about core tenets of American democracy. 

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Brennan Center Research


Brennan
Center
Research

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Brennan Center Research


Brennan
Center
Research

The Brennan Center's research provides empirical findings and original analyses on issues ranging from voting rights to campaign finance, from ending mass incarceration to preserving constitutional protections in the fight against terrorism. Our studies are the product of teams of attorneys, economists, and policy experts developed to provide the public and press with data needed to analyze challenges facing the 2016 elections and our democratic system.

 

OUR MOST RECENT EFFORTS

Briefing Memo: Debunking the Voter Fraud Myth

Claims have circulated this election season about the extent of voter fraud. But putting rhetoric aside to look at the facts makes clear fraud is vanishingly rare, and does not happen on a scale even close to that necessary to “rig” an election.


Briefing Memo: Voting system security and Reliability risks

After recent reports of hacking, this briefing memo describes what the risks to America’s voting system security really are — and what states, localities, and voters can do to prevent successful attacks against the integrity of our elections.


The Move to Base Redistricting on Voters, not People

Evenwel v. Abbott, a challenge out of Texas currently before the Supreme Court, may decide whether states must change the way legislative districts are drawn. If the challengers prevail, the nationwide impact may be greater than previously assumed.

Briefing memo: Dangers of “Ballot Security” Operations

After recent claims of a "rigged" election, some called for police and volunteers to monitor the polls. This briefing memo outlines why "ballot security" operations are risky — and how to prevent intimidation, discrimination, and disruption. 


U.S. Voting Machines at Risk

America's voting machines are rapidly aging out. In 2016, 43 states will use electronic voting machines that have reached the end of their expected lifespan. This report examines the challenges associated with using outdated equipment and the new technologies that can help solve the impending crisis.


THE CASE FOR AUTOMATIC, PERMANENT VOTER REGISTRATION

In a democracy, the aim should be to get everyone who can vote to vote. This comprehensive study looks at how automatic, permanent registration could add up to 50 million eligible voters to the rolls, save money, and increase accuracy.