Why A Vote on Establishing an Independent Sikh State in Punjab Is Coming to California

A Novel Referendum Tests Whether Democracy Can Quell Violence—and Go Global

On January 28, Californians will finally get to cast ballots in a historic vote on whether to create a new independent country.

Why is this the first you’re hearing of this election? Because the only Californians who can vote in the election are Sikhs. The proposed independent country would be in Punjab, a state in northern India.

But that’s no reason to overlook what might be the most important election in the Golden State next year.

Indeed, the Khalistan referendum, as this ballot measure is known, is worthy of your attention for two …

More In: Democracy Local

My Ride in a German Time Machine

Virtual Reality Took Me to 1926 Cologne. I Found What a City Had Lost—And What Our Democratic Future Needs

I was more than a little startled when Konrad Adenauer approached me in the Old Market.

Sure, I was visiting Cologne, Germany, Adenauer’s hometown. But I had never imagined I’d lay …

A man in a mask and sunglasses cast a vote into a box. In the background, poll workers wearing masks sit at a blue table.

You Can Find a Lot of Hope in Mexico’s Democracy

The Headlines Are Dire, But the Country’s Citizen-Run Elections Should Remain Trustworthy—And a Model for the Rest of the World

In these times of misinformation and mistrust, where might we find a way to restore trust in our elections and in our democracies?

There are two answers: in Mexico. And in …

How You Can Spot—and Stop—the Next Putin | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How You Can Spot—and Stop—the Next Putin

The Global Fight Against Authoritarianism Should Begin at Your Town Hall

Want to join the global fight against authoritarianism?

Then participate in your community’s local government.

Because authoritarians do not teleport fully formed from Jupiter into the leadership of nations. They have to …