All posts in tag: democracy

Brian Carver Citizens Appeal to the Courts: Free Your Documents

Several federal judges across the country will be receiving some unusual mail on Friday. Piles of postcards will arrive on their desks written not by litigants before their courts or by lawyers working on someone else’s behalf, but written by ordinary citizens concerned about PACER, the electronic system intended to … More >

Thomas Mann Polarization, policymaking, & public service: A review of Barney Frank’s memoir

It is not obvious that the memoir of a recently-retired, sixteen-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives is a promising candidate for a book review on government reform.  Vivid narrative, compelling personal stories, passionate advocacy, and lacerating wit may make for a great read.  And Barney Frank’s Frank: A … More >

Bruce Newsome Unaccountability is bad for public health and democracy

The British Parliament’s Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) has reported that the authorities for investigating healthcare failures in Britain are too numerous and unaccountable.

I am pleased that at least one committee has criticized the structure of British healthcare, but the PASC airily follows all previous inquiries by recommending a lot … More >

Karin Mac Donald When a polling place is someone’s garage, is a ‘redesign’ realistic?

I read with interest a recent opinion piece for WIRED magazine titled “America’s polling places desperately need a redesign.” In it, author Ted Selker — an inventor, design consultant and member of the Accessible Voting Team at UC Berkeley — describes the physical limitations of many polling places across the … More >

Karin Mac Donald Pollworker 101: How a few crazy hats can make our democracy stronger

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 >

Camille Crittenden Cyberphysical democracy: online platforms and offline action

“The more digital the world becomes, the more appetite people have for real things.” (Alan Rusbriger of  The Guardian, in a  NY Times Magazine interview, March 7, 2014)

New platforms for civic engagement are leveraging the power of the Internet to bring constituents’ opinions to the doorstep of the politicians who … More >

Ethan Elkind The perils of rail transit and democracy

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 >

Dan Farber The filibuster and the environment

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 >

Philip Stark Leave election integrity to chance

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 >

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