How Voters Eventually Decided 4-Year Terms for Governors were Appropriate

Continuing the discussion of the two-year term for the House, Tyler Yeargain, Associate Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, sent me this graph he created. This shows, first, the strength of the original view that democracy required frequent elections. It also shows that, with the easier amendment of state constitutions, voters were able over time to change views about the appropriate tradeoff between empowering a government with a chance to govern effectively — hence longer terms — versus the value of frequent accountability to voters. By the late 1940s, the median term had become stable at four years. Thanks again to Tyler.

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