Category Archives: Voting Rights

2016 Election Turnout: What You Should Know

Ash Center Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy Miles Rapoport shares important take-aways from “America Goes to the Polls,” the first 2016 election turnout report released by the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida and Nonprofit VOTE. This is the second article in the American Prospect series, where we post Miles’ biweekly column in the American Prospect on democracy issues. Read other posts in the series here. 

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under American Prospect Series, Elections, Voting Rights

Elections: State Progress, Federal Train Wreck

This is the first post in a new series in which we cross-post a biweekly column written by Ash Center Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy Miles Rapoport for The American Prospect on democracy issues. In this article, originally published here, Rapoport comments on election administration from the perspective of Secretaries of State after attending the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Conference in February. 

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under American Prospect Series, Elections, Voting Rights

Voter Fraud, Redux et Redux

In this post, the Ash Center’s Senior Practice Fellow in American Democracy Miles Rapoport shares thoughts on how President Donald Trump is taking right wing voter fraud allegations to the next level. Laying out the recent attacks on voting rights and the response by advocates, Rapoport calls for a renewed intellectual and political effort to protect voting rights from the fraudulent fraud allegations.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Elections, Voting Rights

Spotlight on Organizing and Immigration at Democratic National Convention

brownIn light of this week’s Democratic National Convention, Heath Brown, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at City University of New York, shares research findings from his forthcoming book Immigrants and Electoral Politics: Nonprofit Organizing in a Time of Demographic Change which explores the role of nonprofits that represent immigrant communities in U.S. politics. Below, Brown presents some highlights of what he has learned about the work of Dreamer and DNC speaker Astrid Silva, and the work of leaders at similar organizations, which often reflects “a vision for democracy that is consistent with full and active participation of all Americans, citizens and non-citizens, those in the country with documentation and those without.”

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Elections, Immigration & Citizenship, Participation, Representation, Voting Rights

First Chapter: Why Elections Fail by Pippa Norris

9781107679023Below is an excerpt from Pippa Norris’s book, Why Elections Fail. Paul. F. McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at HKS, Pippa Norris is a long-time friend and Faculty Affiliate of the Ash Center, where she gave a book-talk last fall.

Electoral integrity, the set of international norms governing the appropriate conduct of elections, is more complex than the popular focus on ballot stuffing and vote buying. In Why Elections Fail, Norris argues that the rules preventing political actors from manipulating electoral governance are needed to secure integrity, although at the same time, officials need sufficient resources and capacities to manage elections effectively.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Democracy in Hard Places, Elections, First Chapter, Participation, Voting Rights

The Challenges of Ensuring Credible Elections

KeeleyIn this post, HKS student Juliette Keeley, MPP ‘17 delves into the challenges of election monitoring and highlights innovations designed to address different aspects of this complex problem. She lays out the advantages and shortcomings of using technology in various capacities to improve election-reporting mechanisms, to report and limit violence and intimidation, and to map community-based organizations. Keeley finds that widespread on-the-ground mobilization and citizen participation are common themes running throughout the most successful election monitoring initiatives.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Corruption, Democracy in Hard Places, Elections, Innovation, Participation, Representation, Technology, Voting Rights

Breaking Congo’s Glass Ceiling

Tom O'Bryan_smallThe following is an excerpt from “Breaking Congo’s Glass Ceiling: Gender Politics in the DRC” published in a recent edition of Foreign Affairs by HKS student Tom O’Bryan. The Ash Center is supporting O’Bryan’s work in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he is working with a group of partner nonprofits to launch the Congo Democracy Project: a series of interactive maps of the DRC, focused on elections and democratic governance in the country.

This article profiles the women leading the fight for gender equality in Congolese politics as the country approaches critical national elections later this year. From the streets to the Constitutional Court, DRC’s activists, advocates, and candidates are making important progress in the face of growing resistance.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Corruption, Elections, Participation, Students, Voting Rights

America’s Struggle for Voting Rights

Give us the ballotIn October 2015, the Ash Center hosted the inaugural session of its Race and American Politics Seminar Series featuring an author’s talk with The Nation’s Ari Berman. Berman discussed his new book Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America with Lani Guinier, the Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School and chair of the Race and American Politics Seminar Series, and Alex Keyssar, Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.

The Ash Center’s Race and American Politics Series is a multidisciplinary series of seminars and round-table conversations led by Leah Wright Rigueur. Co-sponsored by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research and Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, the series features academic, practitioner, and journalistic perspectives from across the nation on the most pressing political and social issues related to race in the United States. See other events and read more about the series here.

Read posts about other events in this seminar series here.

Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Inequality vs Democracy, Race and American Politics, Representation, Voting Rights

Ash Center’s 10th Anniversary Series Provides Direction for the Next Ten Years

200x200logoFBshareIn May, the Ash Center concluded its Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series with presentations by the 2015 Innovations in American Government Award finalists. Local government officials, students, and scholars gathered with the Innovation Award finalists for a nuts and bolts conversation on fostering innovation in government. This model of conversation—one that brings together people and ideas unlikely to otherwise connect, in an environment that encourages candid conversation on important yet difficult issues, with an emphasis on finding a way forward—was a true reflection of the Challenges to Democracy series. This post explores some of the series’ highlights and how it will carry forth in the Ash Center’s upcoming work. Read more about all events in the series including associated multimedia such as podcasts, media coverage, photos, and video recordings.
Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under #Hack4Congress, All Checks, No Balance, All the King's Men, All The Way, Cities, Dollarocracy, Expansion of Presidential Power, Future of Social Movements, Heart of Robin Hood, Immigration & Citizenship, Inequality vs Democracy, Innovation, Launch Event with On Point, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Nation of Devils, Participation, Technology, Voting Rights

Making Ballot Initiatives More Voter-Friendly and Deliberative


Sam 2In this post Sam Feigenbaum, Legislative Aide to Massachusetts State Representative Jonathan Hecht, offers a first-person account of local efforts to bring Citizens’ Initiative Review to Massachusetts. First developed in Oregon, Citizens’ Initiative Review combines the benefits of both democratic deliberation and direct democracy. “It is critical,” Feigenbaum notes, “that voters are able to access reliable and helpful information to help them understand ballot questions before they head to the polls.” In April 2015, the Ash Center hosted a workshop and panel discussion on Citizens’ Initiative Review as part of its Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series. See photos and listen to an audio recording of Getting to Yes (or No): Making Ballot Initiatives More Voter-Friendly and Deliberative here. We look forward to following the development of Citizens’ Initiative Review in Massachusetts—check back here for updates! Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Citizens Initiative Review, Innovation, Participation, Voting Rights

First Chapter: Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy by Darryl Pinckney

blackballedBelow is an excerpt from the introduction to Darryl Pinckney’s 2014 book, Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy. On November 3, 2014, Pinckney spoke about Blackballed at the Ash Center as part of its Challenges to Democracy public dialogue series.

Blackballed is a masterfully-crafted study of American democracy and the changing role of the black vote within it, from Reconstruction to the election of Barack Obama. It is insightful, personal, informative, and remarkably timely. The book not only speaks to current questions about race within the social and political arenas, but to broader issues of the health and legitimacy of a democracy in which some voices are kept from entering the dialogue. Blackballed is one of those special works that effortlessly transports readers to another time while subtly drawing thematic ties to the present day. One leaves the experience not only appreciating the work done by generations past, but contemplating one’s own role in the historical arc. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under First Chapter, Inequality vs Democracy, Participation, Voting Rights