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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2022 Midterm Elections in Ohio

December 8, 2022

A survey of more than 1,000 adult Ohioans on their views of the recent midterm elections in their state and their attitudes towards the political climate.

Campaigns and Elections

Extreme Gerrymanderers

February 22, 2022

Gerrymandering is the intentional practice of manipulating the boundaries of congressional districts to provide an unfair advantage for a specific party or group. The practice has increasingly created barriers to representative democracy and allows politicians to select their voters, rather than allowing voters to pick their politicians.New maps that create the boundaries between congressional districts are drawn every 10 years, following each decennial census. In the wake of the 2020 Census, state legislators crafted a number of hyperpartisan and discriminatory gerrymanders. This report highlights a dozen of the worst.


Voter Policies Are Nonexistent in Ohio Jails

December 14, 2021

In 2020, All Voting is Local Ohio teamed up with statewide advocates to assess how difficult it is for eligible voters in jail to cast a ballot. We wanted to know: Did county jails and boards of elections have policies and procedures to facilitate the voting and registration of eligible voters in jails, and did they cooperate with volunteers who sought to provide those services? We used data from public records requests to the boards of elections (BOEs) and jails in Ohio's seven major metropolitan counties. Boards and county jails responded with nothing more than references to the Ohio Revised Code — if they responded at all. Written policies and procedures to facilitate elections are missing throughout the state's largest counties.Each year, at least 150,000 people are booked into local jails in Ohio. If the state is not collecting basic information and the counties do not have universal policies and procedures to facilitate in-jail voting, people who are confined are likely experiencing de facto disenfranchisement.

Civic Participation

Ohio, Texas, and the Future of American Politics

December 10, 2021

The emergence of the urban-rural divide in American politics over the past few decades is a critical development in America's voting patterns. Today, rural areas vote predominantly for Republicans, while urban areas vote for Democrats. As a result, America's suburbs have increasingly become a swing region. I discussed this development in broad terms in the previous report. In this report, I look at the political development of two states—Ohio and Texas—which illustrate how "urbanicity" has transformed the United States' political makeup.While Ohio has historically been considered the nation's premier swing state, its votes have become more concentrated in rural areas, thereby strengthening the GOP's performance statewide. Rural areas began moving toward the Republican Party in the 1970s, a movement that accelerated in 2016 with Donald Trump on the ballot. On the other hand, the rapid growth of Texas' cities has pushed the state into more competitive territory for the Democrats. Despite the rural and small-town vote shifting toward Republicans, the leftward bolt in Texas' large cities and megacities has contributed to better performance for the Democrats. If these trends continue in future elections, Ohio will become solidly red, while Texas may go blue in the next few cycles.

Civic Participation

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