Elections: How Should We Encourage and Safeguard Voting? - Issue Advisory (Downloadable PDF)
Many Americans are concerned about the US election system although we don’t always agree on the main problem or how best to fix it. Is it too hard to vote? Is the system too easy to manipulate? Do we have rules that make voting fair and accessible to all? Are we doing enough to ensure accuracy and credibility?
This issue advisory presents three options for moving forward, each reflecting a different view of the problem and each suggesting a different set of ideas about what should be done. Most people will find something to agree with in all three approaches, but each also has trade-offs, risks, or drawbacks that need to be taken into account and worked through.
In thinking about different approaches, we will consider these questions:
- Would having uniform national standards for voting, instead of having state and local officials continue to set the rules, give us more confidence?
- Do ID requirements for voting, in order to help maintain the system’s integrity, merely discourage voters by placing hurdles in their way?
- Would Americans see the voting system as more legitimate if the Electoral College were eliminated in favor of a national popular vote?
- Could some of the changes proposed here have unintended consequences? Could they fix some problems but cause new ones we haven’t anticipated?
These are not the only possible options, nor the only questions. They are starting points for weighing alternatives and reaching a sound judgment.