Measuring Democracy in America (2022-2023)

Free and fair elections are the fundamental building block of democracy. In the U.S.’s federal system, the 50 states have widely different procedures for managing all aspects of the voting system. These divergent practices have long been a matter of controversy, and disputes over the integrity of the 2020 presidential election only exacerbated such concerns. However, there are no studies, reports or scorecards available to provide an objective analysis comparing the fairness and integrity of the electoral systems across the U.S. 

This project team aimed to create a quantitative method for evaluating inequality in democracy across states. They analyzed disparities in voter turnout during the 2020 election for four demographic categories — race, disability status, age and educational attainment — and compared the election policies of states with the disparities between advantaged and disadvantaged groups in these categories. The team then modeled a series of logistic regressions using weighted survey data across six election cycles (2010-2020).


Summer 2022 – Summer 2023 

Team Outputs

Elections and Inequality in the U.S. (2023 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Digital Showcase)

Measuring Democracy (poster by David Schanzer, Asher Hildebrand, Deondra Rose, Kristin Goss, Alicia Blanco, Allyson Barkley, James Gao, Paul Finkelstein, Mac Hoeve, Clara Bonzi Teixeira, Olivia Smith, Saralyn Carcy, Yadira Paz-Martinez, Victoria Hernandez, Darshan Vijaykumar, Karam Oubari and Eric Gim, presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 19, 2023)

This Team in the News

Democracy in America: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of How To Strengthen Democracy

"I Voted" stickers.

Team Leaders

  • Kristin Goss, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Asher Hildebrand, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Deondra Rose, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • David Schanzer, Sanford School of Public Policy

/graduate Team Members

  • Allyson Barkley, Juris Doctor, Masters of Public Policy
  • Alicia Blanco, PPS Non-degree
  • Paul Finkelstein, Juris Doctor

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Samia Batchelor, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Clara Bonzi Teixeira, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Saralyn Carcy, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • James Gao, Statistical Science (BS)
  • Min Gim, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Victoria Hernandez, Political Science (AB)
  • Mia Hoeve, Economics (BS)
  • Karam Oubari, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Yadira Paz-Martinez, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Olivia Smith, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Darshan Vijaykumar, Public Policy Studies (AB)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Michael Smeltzer, Freedom House