Even if eligible voters have the ability to cast a vote and have it counted, structural barriers may still limit the extent to which these voters can affect their government. In analyzing representation in state government, this report identifies a key finding: that states have a great deal of room to improve to ensure that elected leaders reflect the demographics of their state as a whole. There is no state in which women are overrepresented in elective office and only two—Vermont and Mississippi—in which Communities of Color are represented in office at or above their share of the population at large.

To understand structural barriers that affect whether state governments are truly representative—whether voters indeed have a voice in the process—it is crucial to examine both inputs, such as poorly drawn districts that may limit the meaningfulness of a vote, and outcomes, such as electoral outcomes for members of communities of color or whether citizens trust their government. This category examines a number of factors that either cause or are caused by a lack of true representation in government.

Policy Recommendations

Click through the Representation factors to the right of the map to view specific policy recommendations for each area. Click here to see a full list of policy recommendations to improve the health of state democracies based on the findings of this report.

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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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