The flaws in the American election system are deep and widespread, extending beyond isolated voting issues in a few locations and flaring up in states rich and poor, according to a major new study from the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The group ranked 50 states based on more than 15 criteria, including wait times, lost votes and problems with absentee and provisional ballots, and the order often confounds the conventional wisdom.
In 2010, for instance, Mississippi ranked last overall. But it was preceded by two surprises: New York and California.
“Poor Southern states perform well, and they perform badly,” said Heather K. Gerken, a law professor at Yale and a Pew adviser. “Rich New England states perform well and badly — mostly badly.”
A main aim of the exercise, which grew out of Professor’s Gerken’s 2009 book, “The Democracy Index,” was to shame poor performers into doing better, she said.
“Peer pressure produces horrible things like Britney Spears and Justin Bieber and tongue rings,” she said. “But it also produces professional peer pressure.”
I will be writing more about the Pew study in coming days in light of my consideration and critique of Heather Gerken’s earlier proposal. Heather will also be guest blogging here about the study.