The United States wasn't built as a democracy. The Senate doesn't
represent people. Both sides hate gerrymandering and the courts refuse
to fix it. Our right to be heard is defeated by voter suppression and an
Electoral College system that concentrates power in a handful of states
and too often reverses the popular vote. But within our flawed system,
we have the tools to tackle our most stubborn election problems by
flexing state and local power (no constitutional amendments or courts
required). This should be the last American election that works against
the people. Kristin Eberhard, Director of Democracy at Sightline
Institute, thoughtfully researched how the U.S. election system is
unjust to many by design, and walks us through 10 big but practical
ideas for making our elections free, fair, and secure. Now is the time:
than half of Americans live in just nine states. That means less than
half the population controls 82 percent of the Senate. It doesn't have
to be that way. We can hope the Senate eliminates the filibuster. But
while we're holding our breath, what if we went further and remade the
Senate to represent people?
- Voter suppression justified by
trumped up fears of double voting and dead voters – why? There's already
a simple, proven solution working in 30 states to keep voter lists
secure and accurate.
- Feel stuck with the Electoral College
reversing the popular vote? That isn't even in the Constitution! There
is a path for states to ensure the candidate with the most votes wins
(and we're already on it).
- We could defeat gerrymandering and
create a multi-party system where voters have more options, lawmakers
get more work done, and extremists are relegated to the fringe, unable
to take over a major party.
A field guide to better
elections for both sides of the aisle, Becoming a Democracy illuminates
the meaningful, concrete actions that can transform our elections and
make sure everyone's vote counts (and that they get to vote in the first
place). Eberhard delves into the history and evolution of our flawed
systems, showing their impact on voters the outcomes of our elections,
and the perpetuation of racist policies.
- American voters aren't going to elect the American president. Twelve states are.
in every 13 Black adults could not vote as the result of laws limiting
voting rights for people with felony convictions, as of 2016.
23 million American citizens who are eligible to vote could not
exercise that right if all states had strict voter ID laws. More than
one in ten voting-age citizens do not have a current, government-issued
photo ID--if you're in a state with a strict Voter ID law, that means no
- The Supreme Court cleared the way for states to purge 2
million voters from the rolls between 2012 and 2016. She also shows how
states across the country are changing all that with proven solutions
for running fair elections and making every vote count.
states are members of a secure and modern system to keep voter rolls
clean. Together, they've removed more than 300,000 names of deceased
voters from their rolls and updated addresses for nearly 10 million
- In the 2020 primary, Montana mailed ballots to all registered voters. It saw the highest voter turnout in more than 40 years.
the 2014 midterm elections, voter participation in Vote At Home states
across the nation was on average 23 percent higher than in other states.
- In 2018, Maine voters used ranked ballots to elect members of
Congress. A four-way race for a House seat would have elected someone
with only minority support, but ranked choice voting elected the
candidate with support from more than half of voters.