Who gets to vote and who doesn’t

As our country approaches a presidential election in 2024, access to voting is changing at the state level.  A 2022 investigation from The Center for Public Integrity found over half the states in the United States of America had made access to voting worse than it had been previously.  Slightly less than half of the states had improved access to voting for their citizens. A handful of states remained unchanged.

The map below show which states changed which way.  Clicking on a state will open a state report on The Center for Public Integrity‘s web site.


The tactics to limit access range from removing voters from the rolls, to closing polling places in some areas, to gerrymandering. Gerrymander has negative connotations, and gerrymandering is almost always considered a corruption of the democratic process.  The Princeton’s Gerrymandering Project gave Florida an F grade on their 2022 congressional redistricting.

Gerrymandering Project map
Gerrymandering Project’s Report Card map

Democracy requires people voting to function well, but some people want to wipe out your vote! Find out what is happening in your state and make sure you vote counts.

2023 Denver Democracy Summit

The Josef Korbel School of International Studies is pleased to announce that the 3rd Annual Denver Democracy Summit will be held October 25-26, 2023 on the University of Denver campus with proceedings streamed to a worldwide virtual audience. The Denver Democracy Summit will serve as a platform for the DU community and the world’s leading thought leaders on democracy to evaluate ongoing efforts to strengthen democratic norms, values, and institutions. The Summit will include discussions on democratic backsliding, political communication and misinformation, polarization and civil discourse, technology and democracy, and other topics.

More information at Denver Democracy Summit website.

Update 11/2/2023

If you did not have a chance to attend the Denver Democracy Summit you can watch the presentations on their YouTube channel playlist.

What is Liquid Democracy?

Liquid democracy is a hybrid form of democracy that combines elements of direct and representative democracy. It allows citizens to have a more dynamic and flexible role in the decision-making process. In a traditional representative democracy, people vote for elected officials who make decisions on their behalf. In a direct democracy, individuals vote directly on specific issues or policies. Liquid democracy seeks to bridge the gap between these two approaches.

In a liquid democracy, citizens have the option to either vote on issues directly or delegate their votes to someone they trust. Delegating votes means that an individual can choose another person, often referred to as a proxy or delegate, to vote on their behalf. The key feature of liquid democracy is that delegation can be temporary and can be reassigned at any time. This means that individuals can delegate their votes on specific issues to different people based on their expertise, trust, or personal preferences. For example, if you trust someone’s judgment on environmental issues, you can delegate your vote to them for those matters, while delegating your vote to someone else for economic policy decisions.

The goal of liquid democracy is to increase citizen participation and engagement in the decision-making process, while also benefiting from the expertise and knowledge of individuals who are well-versed in certain areas. It offers more flexibility and adaptability compared to traditional democratic models. Digital technology and online platforms have made it easier to implement liquid democracy by allowing for secure and efficient voting and delegation.

Liquid democracy is still a relatively new concept and has been experimented with in various contexts, such as political parties (German Pirate Party, Partido de la Red), organizations, and even some governments (Argentina). Its success and practicality can vary depending on the specific implementation and the cultural and political context in which it is used. Some current open-source software implementations are LiquidFeedback and DemocracyOS.

Ranked-choice Voting

Ranked-choice ballotRanked-choice voting is a method of voting in which the voters rank their options, giving their preference of first, second, third, fourth, etc. choice on their ballot. Depending on which ranked-choice method is used, the votes are tabulated in different ways based on the ranking of each ballot.  In a traditional “first-past-the-post” (FPTP) system, the candidate with the most votes wins. If they do not receive a majority of the votes, in a  two-round system (TRS),  a separate run-off election is required at additional cost and effort.

There are several variations of ranked-choice voting (RCV), each with its own specific rules and procedures. Some of the most commonly used RCV methods include:

  • IRV flowchartInstant Runoff Voting (IRV): This is the most common form of RCV used in the United States, as well as in Australia and Ireland. Under IRV, voters rank candidates in order of preference, and the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated in each round until one candidate has a majority of the votes.  The ballots of the eliminated candidate are allocated based on the second choice (in the second round) and continuing until a candidate receives a majority of the votes.
  • Single Transferable Vote (STV): This is a form of proportional representation that is used in several countries, including Ireland and Malta. Voters rank candidates in order of preference, and seats are allocated to candidates based on a formula that takes into account the total number of votes received by each candidate.
  • Contingent Vote (CV): Under the contingent vote, voters cast a single vote for their preferred candidate, but also indicate their second-choice candidate. If no candidate wins a majority of the first-choice votes, the two candidates with the most votes proceed to a runoff, and the second-choice votes of the eliminated candidates are redistributed to the remaining candidates.
  • Supplementary Vote (SV): This method is used in the mayoral elections in London, England. Voters cast a first-choice and second-choice vote, and if no candidate wins a majority of the first-choice votes, the two candidates with the most votes proceed to a runoff, and the second-choice votes of the eliminated candidates are redistributed to the remaining candidates.
  • Borda Count: In the Borda Count method, voters rank candidates in order of preference, and each candidate is assigned points based on their ranking. The candidate with the most points at the end of the voting process is declared the winner.

There are other variations of ranked-choice voting, as well as different names for the same methods, but these are some of the most commonly used. The exact number of variations of RCV depends on how narrowly or broadly one defines the concept, but these methods represent the main types of RCV that are used around the world.

Currently ranked-choice voting is used in the United States for state primary, congressional, and presidential elections in Alaska and Maine and for local elections in more than 20 US cities including New York City, Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; Oakland, California; Berkeley, California; St. Paul, Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota.  For details on what method is used where see FairVote.org.

To see a demonstration of RCV, vote for your Favorite Fruit on  app.rankedvote.co.