This collection on American democracy challenges and complements blog posts and opinion pieces that are typical staples of the 24/7 news cycle in the lead up to US elections. You'll find reports about election and campaign administration, voting access and participation, government performance and perceptions, the role of the media in civil society, and more.

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"VOTE!" by Paul Sableman licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Secure MI Vote: Creating Insecurity for Community Polling Places

November 9, 2021

How a Republican ballot initiative could eliminate 20 percent of Michigan polling places by prohibiting the use of donated spaces: an analysis of religious spaces used as polling places in the 2020 election. This report includes an outline of how communities across the state could be affected and the challenges this would present to local clerks and voters, based on interviews with local clerks.

Campaigns and Elections

The Right’s Fight Against Fair Maps: How Michigan Republicans and right-wing groups have opposed independent redistricting, nonpartisan maps, and an equal voice for all voters.

October 26, 2021

Spending millions, filing lawsuits, spreading misinformation, and telling lies: how Michigan Republicans and right-wing groups have fought the historic effort to bring transparency and fairness to our state through an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. They have opposed and continue to oppose independent redistricting, nonpartisan maps, and an equal voice for all voters.


Michigan Redistricting Draft Map Analysis

October 11, 2021

Michigan has embarked on an historic redrawing of boundaries for its 13 U.S. House, 38 Senate and 110 House districts. Redistricting was entrusted this year to 13 members of the Michigan Independent Redistricting Commission (MICRC) randomly selected from a pool of qualified applicants.This report provides a quantitative analysis of the collaborative Draft Proposed maps, as those maps were collaboratively drawn by the MICRC and released on Oct. 11, 2021. For the collaborative maps, the Commission voted to release four congressional maps, three Michigan Senate maps, and three Michigan House maps. These Draft Proposed maps will be subject to a round of public hearings to be conducted around the state from Wednesday, Oct. 20 to Wednesday, Oct. 27.In this report, the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University analyzes these 10 collaborative Draft Proposed maps.

Civic Participation; Government

Democracy Defended: Findings from the 2020 Election

September 2, 2021

Despite an unprecedented series of challenges—a global pandemic, extreme weather, rampant misinformation, voter intimidation, and coordinated efforts to disenfranchise millions of voters of color—Black voters turned out in record numbers in 2020 to have their voices heard in one of our nation's most important election years.But let's be clear. The election did not go smoothly. Record turnout nationally and in many states was only possible thanks to a Herculean effort on the part of many non-profit organizations and many thousands of individuals and volunteers, as well as the enormous sums of money spent on election security and countering misinformation.

Campaigns and Elections

Public Financing of Elections After Citizens United and Arizona Free Enterprise

July 7, 2011

Based on political contribution records from six Midwestern states, compares the projected impact of providing small-donor public matching funds to that of lowering contribution limits on election participation by a diverse mix of donors.

Campaigns and Elections