You’d think we would have noticed, quickly, when Barack Obama mentioned Legal Times. But no.
On Thursday the senator introduced a bill, titled the Voter Advocate and Democracy Index Act, to provide voters and state officials with more information about how elections really work—or don’t. You know the litany of complaints. Obama’s bill (S. 737) would create a state-by-state scorecard on the amount of time voters spend waiting in line, the number of voters directed to the wrong polling place, the rate of ballots discarded, the rate of provisional votes, etc.
If the phrase “democracy index” rings a bell, perhaps you read it here first. As Obama’s press release and introductory remarks graciously note, the index idea was proposed by Yale law professor Heather Gerken in a Jan. 1 commentary in Legal Times. Gerken explains why real election reform must start with hard numbers.
Obama proposes a pilot program in 2008.