It’s election season in California, which means that the state’s 58 county Registrar of Voters offices are buzzing with activities – everything from designing, printing and mailing ballots to finalizing voter-registration rolls and ordering precinct supplies. Each task that staff in these offices perform factors into an election’s success, and … More >
Americans seem to love democracy but hate many of the results. We want governmental power to be decentralized, whether it’s across three federal branches or with local control over sometimes regionally oriented land use decisions. But when the inevitable compromise that is required to get majority approval means a less-than-perfect … More >
In the short run, limiting the filibuster will strengthen the hands of environmental regulators. What about the long run effects?
The filibuster arguably served a useful function when it allowed the minority to block action in extraordinary cases where its views were especially intense. It became no longer tolerable when it … More >
How do we know whether the reported winners of an election really won?
There’s no perfect way to count votes. To paraphrase Ulysses S. Grant and Richard M. Nixon, “Mistakes will be made.” Voters don’t always follow instructions. Voting systems can be mis-programmed, as they were last year in Palm Beach, … More >
There are two great centers of unaccountable power in the American political-economic system today — places where decisions that significantly affect large numbers of Americans are made in secret, and are unchecked either by effective democratic oversight or by market competition.
One goes by the name of the “intelligence community” and … More >
Recent efforts to purge voter rolls, impose new restrictions on voter registration drives, and require new levels of identification in order to cast a ballot threaten to limit participation in the upcoming election, especially among low-income and minority voters. One study estimated that as many as 700,000 minority voters under … More >
The biggest question in America these days is how to revive the economy.
The biggest question among activists now occupying Wall Street and dozens of other cities is how to strike back against the nation’s almost unprecedented concentration of income, wealth, and political power in the top 1 … More >
I was asked weeks ago by some in the Occupy Wall Street movement to make suggestions for how to frame the movement. I have hesitated so far, because I think the movement should be framing itself. It’s a general principle: Unless you frame yourself, others will frame … More >