News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Legislators in Michigan and Ohio, where this woman cast a ballot in 2018, have introduced legislation to make Election Day a state holiday.

State lawmakers take up the fight for an Election Day holiday

Congress may have given up on making Election Day a national holiday, but state lawmakers may have just begun their fight.

The catch-all reform bill passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives originally included language to make Election Day a national holiday. But even before the bill died on the steps of the Senate, House members stripped out that language.

But advocates for the cause can look to the statehouses, which are considering related legislation in record numbers.

In 2019, lawmakers in 23 states filed 47 bills related to Election Day holidays, according to data compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures and additional reporting.

Keep reading... Show less
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

"We must do the work to increase the number of people voting in our elections to strengthen our democracy and ensure it is representative of the American population," argues Ashley Spillane.

Why corporate civic engagement is good for democracy

Spillane is a social impact strategist and the former head of Rock the Vote, the nonprofit group that seeks to boost the political involvement of young people.

We're a year out from the 2020 election and, as you've probably noticed, Americans are energized. Elections are becoming an increasingly pronounced part of American culture, with the presidential race becoming a part of daily conversation. Yet, despite voter turnout hitting a 100-year-midterm election high in 2018, just half of eligible voters showed up to cast a ballot last year.

Turnout in presidential years isn't much better: Less than 60 percent of the eligible voting population cast a ballot in the highly contested 2016 presidential race, placing the United States 26th out of 32 developed democracies in terms of citizen participation.

We must do the work to increase the number of people voting in our elections to strengthen our democracy and ensure it is representative of the American population.

The good news is that companies are well-positioned to help get more people excited to head to the voting booth — and many already are. An unprecedented number of brands promoted the 2018 election, sharing information about voter registration, early voting and Election Day. More than 400 companies signed a pledge to give employees information about early voting or time off to vote.

Keep reading... Show less
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

"It's possible blockchain-based voting could boost voter participation rates, but there's no evidence yet it is better at preventing election fraud," argues Nir Kshetri.

Blockchain voting might boost turnout — but it threatens election reliability

Kshetri is a professor of management at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

A developing technology called "blockchain" has gotten attention from election officials, startups and even Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang as a potential way to boost voter turnout and public trust in elections.

There are promising signs that blockchain-based voting could boost turnout. The few small-scale tests so far have, however, identified problems and vulnerabilities in the digital systems and government administrative procedures — and they must be resolved before blockchain-based voting can be considered safe and trustworthy. Until then, I don't see clear evidence that system can prevent, or even detect, election fraud.

Keep reading... Show less
Mark Makela/Getty Images

"No matter how fairly one tries to allocate political power, some state or someone will have a special edge from time to time," writes Mark Rush.

The Electoral College will never make everyone happy

Rush is a professor of politics and law and the director for International Education at Washington and Lee University.

With the presidential election looming, worried observers of politics have already asked whether the Electoral College will again deliver a victory to the candidate with less than a majority of the popular vote.

This has happened in two of the last five presidential elections.

Critics like Vox's Ezra Klein contend that this phenomenon is not only undemocratic, but also politically biased, because Republicans were the beneficiaries of both of these Electoral College hiccups. "American politics is edging into an era of crisis," Klein writes.

But presidential elections – and the occasional hiccups like 2000 and 2016 – represent nothing less than the smooth working of the constitutional system's allocation of power among the states.

Keep reading... Show less
© Issue One. All rights reserved.