Health of State Democracies:

An interactive assessment of the strength of the democratic process in each of the 50 states

United States Washington Oregon California Idaho Nevada Montana Wyoming Utah Arizona Colorado New Mexico North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Mississippi Michigan Indiana Kentucky Tennessee Alabama Ohio West Virginia Virginia Washington DC North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Florida Maryland Pennsylvania New Jersey Delaware New York Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Vermont New Hampshire Maine Alaska Hawaii

District of Columbia

More about District of Columbia >>

The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights and privileges within our democracy. In practice, however, the extent to which citizens experience the robust benefits of a truly democratic society is too often determined by decisions made at the state level—through legislation, executive or administrative action, and judicial decision. Examining how states perform in 22 factors across the areas of accessibility of the ballot, representation in state government, and influence in the political system, the Health of State Democracies report contends that these issues must be addressed in sum—and no longer in silos.

Policy Recommendations

Accompanying the evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of state democracies, the Center for American Progress Action Fund offers a series of policy recommendations that states should implement to improve based on the findings of this report. A summary of these recommendations is listed below; click here to view the policy recommendations page for a more in-depth description.

Modernize Voter Registration

Provide preregistration to 16 and 17 year olds

Provide online voter registration

Provide same-day voter registration

End Participation in the Crosscheck program

Better integrate voter registration opportunities into transactions at state Motor Vehicle Departments and other public agencies.

Eliminate Barriers to Participation and Representation

Expand in-person early voting, including evening and weekend hours

Provide no-fault absentee voting

Eliminate voter ID laws

Re-enfranchise ex-offenders after they have served their prison sentences

Allow citizen ballot initiatives

Create fair district maps

Create sustainable public campaign finance options

Expose and Limit Influence in the Political System

Set appropriate campaign contribution limits

Strengthen disclosure laws

Require a broad, two-year cooling off period for former elected officials

Provide complete, accessible information to “empower the public’s use of government-held data.”

Strengthen judicial recusal laws

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© 2015 Center for American Progress Action Fund

Press Contact: Benton Strong at Bstrong@americanprogressaction.org 202-481-8142

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