How to End the Vicious Cycle of Dysfunctional California Governance

Real Change Means Integrating Our Direct Democracy Into the State's Entire System

California lawmakers and civic leaders are debating changes to our state’s direct democracy. But not one of the proposed changes is bold enough to reach the heart of what’s wrong with our system of initiatives, referenda, and recalls.

When Californians use their direct democracy to qualify proposals for the ballot, and vote to turn those proposals into laws or constitutional amendments, the actions they take don’t have to fit within existing institutions, agencies, laws, regulations, or practices. Our direct democracy exists in its own weird world apart from the rest of …

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 …

I’ll Vote, But First, Let Me Take A Selfie

Snapping and Sharing a Photo of Your Ballot Is Good for Democracy

Voting, James Madison once wrote, is fundamental in a constitutional republic like America. Yet “at the same time,” he noted, its “regulation” is “a task of peculiar delicacy.”

Madison was talking …

Take It From a Poll Worker, the System Isn’t Rigged

The People Who Staff Voting Precincts Put Aside Their Opinions So That You Can Express Yours

Recently, Donald Trump issued a typically bombastic call for supporters to go to polling stations and watch for voter fraud, strongly suggesting that the only way he would lose the …

The Philippines Election was Corrupt—and a Victory for Democracy

In the New President, Some See a Demagogue but Others See a Much-Needed Reformer

The Philippines is a sports-loving nation—from boxing to basketball. Seven years ago, the government even named the martial art known as Modern Arnis as our national sport.

But the country’s actual …

The Pain Behind the Pennsylvania Primary

Trump's Working-Class Supporters Are Reeling From Job Losses, Drugs, and a Spike in Suicides

What’s driving disaffected voters to political outsiders like Donald Trump? One big factor is America’s abandonment of labor-intensive manufacturing, and its rush toward a hi-tech, eco-friendly, creative economy that excludes …