Is A Democracy Index In Our Future?

Representative Steve Isreal announces bill to create a state by state Democracy Index <read>

The American Democracy Index Act (H.R.4033) seeks to improve election administration throughout the United States by ranking states on election performance and comparing best and worst practices…

The American Democracy Index Act requires that the Election Assistance Commission contract with an entity to collect voter data and publish the American Democracy Index for the federal election cycle of 2012. The American Democracy Index (ADI) will present voter and election administration data on a state-by-state basis in a manner designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of election administration practices. States will be ranked according to criteria established by an independent advisory board of election administration experts in consultation with the Election Assistance Commission. The legislation also establishes a pilot program for the 2010 federal election cycle to create an index that ranks localities within five states to measure the effectiveness of their election administration.

The concept is based on a proposal that Yale Law School Professor Heather Gerken wrote about in her book, The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System Is Failing and How to Fix It. She argues that a “Democracy Index” – a public ranking of election performances around the country – would encourage states to take real steps to make voting easier.

This sounds like a good idea, yet it depends – it depends on what data is collected and who gets to charcterize it.  Our concern would be that the data might be too superficial to judge the quality of actual compliance with a standard.

Here is a like  to Heather K. Gerken’s book, we need to add it to our reading list. <link>


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