Making the California Legislature 50 Percent Female Should Be Easy

The Gender Quotas Used in European Countries Offer a Straightforward Path to Parity—and More Democracy

A few months ago, the new mayor of South Pasadena appointed 18 people to the voluntary local commissions that advise the council in the San Gabriel Valley city.

Routine? Yes, except for one thing. All 18 appointees were women.

The appointments by Mayor Marina Khubesrian might have seemed like a small-town stroke for gender parity in representation. Before the appointments about one-third of all appointees on South Pasadena commissions had been women; after, slightly more than half of all commissioners were women, just like the population of the city itself.

But the …

Why Democracies Need the Right to Vote “No”

To Boost Participation and Promote Compromise, Taiwan and Berkeley May Let Citizens Cast Ballots Against Candidates

If we want our civic life to be more positive, we might need to vote in the negative.

That’s the compelling case that Sam Chang, a retired banker who lives in …

From Voting to Tech Innovation, California Ranks First at Second Best

Whether in Sacramento, Silicon Valley, or El Segundo, Golden Staters Now Prefer to Follow the Leader

The world over, people long to finish first. But in California, it’s better to be second best.

This is the larger truth at the center of the Golden State’s June 5 …

What Authoritarian Voters Really Want

Aggression, Not Submission to Authority, May Be the Psychological Key to Supporters of Strongmen

Authoritarianism isn’t just a word. When the landmark study The Authoritarian Personality first gave the concept psychological depth in 1950, the memory of authoritarian movements was fresh and indelible. The …

Why Hand Counting Votes Makes Every Vote Count

From Maine to Alaska, Manual Tallies Bring Trust and Transparency to Nerve-Racking Elections

Just before the polls closed on election night, I met with 12 of my townspeople at our town hall in Maine, raised my right hand, and took an oath to …

It Takes More Than a Naked Katy Perry to Get Out the Vote

Ranking Candidates Gives People What They Want: a Choice, a Party, and Tighter Elections

Katy Perry’s new Rock the Vote video offers a great strategy for encouraging engagement in democracy—prurient interest. She tries to vote naked, and ends up being arrested and taken away. …