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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Competing Visions of America: An Evolving Identity or a Culture Under Attack?

November 1, 2021

This report highlights findings from the 2021 American Values Survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institue (PRRI). The suvey asked participants of varying political leanings to describe their opionions on subjects ranging from Democracy to race and ethnicity to religion and many other aspects of American society in the 21st century.

Representation for Some: The Discriminatory Nature of Limiting Representation to Adult Citizens

July 29, 2021

Every 10 years, political districts at all levels of government are redrawn to make sure they are equal in population as required by the U.S. Constitution.1 Currently every state apportions representatives and draws congressional and state legislative districts on the basis of a state's total population.2 That is, when districts are drawn, all people living in the state, including children and noncitizens, are counted for the purposes of representation.However, some Republican political operatives and elected officials aim to unsettle this long-standing prac[1]tice by excluding children and noncitizens from the popu[1]lation figures used to draw state legislative districts.3 Rather than count everyone, states would draw districts based only on the adult citizen population.Making such a break with current practice and prece[1]dent would be of dubious legality and would leave states vulnerable to a host of legal challenges. It also would have major practical implications for redistricting. This study looks at what such a change would mean for representa[1]tion and the allocation of political power in the United States by focusing on its impact three demographically distinct states: Texas, Georgia, and Missouri.

Government

The Redistricting Landscape, 2021–22

February 11, 2021

This report looks at the upcoming redistricting cycle through the lens of four factors that will influence outcomes in each state: who controls map drawing; changes in the legal rules governing redistricting over the last decade; pressures from population and demographic shifts over the same period; and the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the 2020 Census. In each state, the confluence of these factors will determine the risk of manipulated maps or whether, conversely, the redistrict[1]ing process will produce maps that reflect what voters want, respond to shifts in public opinion, and protect the rights of communities of color.

Government

Voting Rights Under Fire: Philanthropy’s Role in Protecting and Strengthening American Democracy

November 1, 2019

There is a new urgency today for American philanthropies to protect the right to vote for all eligible citizens. The philanthropic community has worked alongside the government to protect these rights for decades, but since a 2013 Supreme Court ruling eliminated key parts of the Voting Rights Act, there has been a dramatic increase across the country in barriers to voting. These new barriers often disproportionately affect low-income voters, rural voters, communities of color, young people, and people with disabilities.American philanthropies now have an opportunity to protect and strengthen U.S. democracy by providing badly needed investments in the country's voting infrastructure, paying attention to these issues beyond election time, and joining with others to support litigation against illegal voting barriers.

Campaigns and Elections

Voting Law Changes in 2012

October 3, 2011

Analyzes trends in state legislation that make voter registration and voting difficult, including requiring proof of citizenship, eliminating same-day registration, restricting early and absentee voting, and stricter rules for restoring voting rights.

Campaigns and Elections; Government

Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools

January 1, 2011

Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools, is an urgent call for action to restore the historic civic mission of our nation's schools. This new report provides research-based evidence of the decline in civic learning in American schools and presents six proven practices that should be at the heart of every school's approach to civic learning. It also provides recommendations for education policymakers to ensure every student acquires the civic skills and knowledge needed for an informed, engaged citizenry. This report builds and expands on the findings of the Civic Mission of Schools report, published in 2003 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. The report was produced by the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics of the Annenberg Center for Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania; the National Conference on Citizenship; the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning Engagement at Tufts University and the Public Education Division of the American Bar Association.

Civic Participation

Electoral Reform: Charting the Course to Voter Engagement

September 1, 2009

For more than a decade Carnegie Corporation has been at the forefront of efforts to catalyze engagement with the electoral process; to promote access to the voting booth for all who have a right to it; to remove the impediments to voting and civic participation that disproportionately affect minority groups, immigrants, the poor, the elderly, the disabled and all others who have been unjustly disenfranchised; as well as to improve the voting process itself. This work has been carried out by Corporation grantees across the country through research, education, get-out-the-vote campaigns, as well as by promoting advances in technology and disseminating knowledge and information aimed at combating the corrosive cynicism that has too often diminished Americans' trust in our electoral process. Today, that work continues to go on because it must.

Campaigns and Elections; Civic Participation

Journalism in the Service of Democracy: A Summit of Deans, Faculty, Students and Journalists

April 30, 2008

Distills discussions at a January 2008 conference to assess the future of journalism, including topics such as reinventing journalism education, reinvigorating the news environment, and opportunities in new media. Includes highlights of breakout sessions.

Media

Strengthening U.S. Democracy through Campaign Finance Reform

January 1, 2008

Carnegie Corporation sees the troubling relationship between money and politics as one of the symptoms of the growing separation between the U.S. electoral system and the concerns of ordinary citizens. A new Carnegie Review traces the foundation's years of support for campaign finance reform in hopes of motivating others interested in addressing this issue.

Campaigns and Elections; Government

Nonprofit Service Organizations and Civic Engagement: Addressing Challenges and Moving Forward

January 1, 2007

Explores how different forms of civic engagement can be integrated into the work of the nonprofit sector, especially among organizations that provide services.

Civic Participation

Improving the Education of Tomorrow's Journalists

January 1, 2005

This McKinsey report captures the insights of many of the best and brightest of the current generation of news executives, editors and correspondents and bolstered the case for and strengthened the resolve of Vartan Gregorian and a few journalism deans to undertake a bold effort to reshape and reinvigorate the quality of education that journalism schools offer. With their guidance and the support of Carnegie Corporation of New York and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the deans who comprise the Carnegie- Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education will share with fellow educators and the general public their blueprint for curricular reforms and other changes.

Media

Building the Campaign Finance Reform Infrastructure: Grantmaking to Strengthen U.S. Democracy

April 1, 2004

Results looks at the emergence and early successes of a new campaign finance reform infrastructure funded by the foundation and others and comprised of nonprofit research, advocacy and legal action organizations. The coalition is pursuing further gains with a variety of strategies ranging from litigation and electoral to research and advocacy, recognizing that such successes are only provisional and require a sustained effort.

Campaigns and Elections; Government