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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Building the Relationships for Collaborative Governance: Case Studies from Across America

November 17, 2021

In recent years, a more collaborative form of democratic engagement has emerged, primarily at the local and state level, as well as internationally. Collaborative governance, or co-governance, refers to a broad range of models of civic engagement that allow people outside and inside government to work together in designing policy. This new form of engagement seeks to break down the boundaries between advocates and officials and is not only more democratic, but also more inclusive and open to those served by the government. How are co-governance relationships best developed, sustained, and supported? The clearest way to answer this question is not in theory, but from the learned experiences of co-governance, at the neighborhood, city, and state level. In this report, we highlight five of these cases in communities across the country where progress has been made to improve the quality of life and strengthen the bonds of community for all through the collaborative work of democracy.

Civic Participation; Government

Voter Engagement Toolkit for Private Foundations

April 2, 2018

This guide lifts up concrete ideas and examples for how private foundations can encourage voter engagement among their grantees and networks. Private foundations, like public foundations, may support a range of voter engagement activities as long as it's on a nonpartisan basis. The two important differences are funding voter registration drives or ballot measures and are explained in the nonpartisan section.

Campaigns and Elections

Enforcing the Constitution: How the Courts Performed in 2015-2016

October 1, 2017

The Constitution was written to limit government power, but those limits are meaningless unless judges restrain public officials when they overstep their bounds. Judicial engagement is a cutting-edge approach to judicial review that ensures that Americans receive an honest, reasoned explanation in court whenever they allege a plausible abuse of government power. Enforcing the Constitution is CJE's annual review of the judiciary's performance. The 2015-2016 edition summarizes and analyzes 20 notable examples of judicial engagement and judicial abdication in a variety of contexts. We begin close to home, with a family out for a summer walk. We end in a place where most do not expect to find themselves - prison. In all of these contexts, Americans are confronted by government power; in all of these contexts, judicial engagement maintains the rule of law and protects our freedom.Fulfilling the Constitution's promise of liberty requires judicial engagement. This report explores the judiciary's performance in 2015-1016.


Can Nonprofits Increase Voting Among Their Clients,Constituents, and Staff? An Evaluation of the Track the Vote Program, Part 2: Case Studies

September 1, 2013

Twenty-five of the 94 Track the Vote program participants were selected for interviews, as well as two additional agencies that participated in similar voter engagement programs managed by Nonprofit VOTE partners.Fifteen of those interviews became the basis for the following case studies, designed to illustrate how a diverse group of nonprofi t organizations conducted voter engagement in 2012. Each case study includes descriptions of voter outreach activities, challenges that arose, and concrete takeaways from their experiences.

Campaigns and Elections; Civic Participation

Lever Replacement Costs: Case Study of a Small New York County

July 24, 2009

Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds will not cover County X's first-year costs of replacing levers. Costs will be at least $293,886 more than the county's HAVA §102 funds designated for replacing levers. The shortfall will nearly deplete the county's HAVA §101 and §251 funds of $333,733 that are intended for meeting HAVA requirements and for making election-administration improvements (such as ensuring ADA compliance).

Campaigns and Elections

Lever Replacement Costs: New York City Case Study

July 20, 2009

The costs of replacing lever voting machines with electronic machines will be enormous. The immediate costs -- hardware, software, licenses - will rapidly deplete the City's HAVA funds. The associated costs, which continue from year to year -- training, printing paper ballots, preelection testing, auditing elections, storage, inventory management, new personnel, and new procedures -- have not yet been fully identified. Many, perhaps most, of them are not eligible for HAVA funds. Even excepting the unknown costs, it is clear that the cost of lever replacement will be a heavy burden borne by City taxpayers, not only in the first year, but also in each subsequent year.

Campaigns and Elections

Democracy in Danger: Case Studies in Election Fraud

October 28, 2008

The best way of determining the proper safeguards to "deter and detect" voter fraud that endangers thedemocratic process is to examine actual reported cases. By reviewing how this fraud was discovered, investigated, and prosecuted, we can determine the best legislative and regulatory measures to ensure our elections will not be stolen. The studies that follow examine extensive voter fraud in Chicago in the 1982 governor's race, a successful 14-year conspiracy in New York that affected primary elections, the outright theft of local elections in Greene County, Alabama, in 1994 through absentee ballot fraud, and the growing problem of illegal voting by noncitizens.

Campaigns and Elections