Successful democracies depend not only on governmental units, but also nongovernmental organizations and practices that enable citizens to organize, that allow political opposition to form and challenge incumbent governments, and that foster innovation and societal well-being. Modern authoritarian systems commonly have official elections, but these elections can occur in worlds in which electoral opposition is suppressed, the media is censored, and dissidents punished. An important component of the theme of organizations and democratic practice will be to support work that relates directly to the health of elections, including on election administration, the media, and free speech. Additionally, this theme will encompass organizations that provide alternatives to the state for information and innovation, such as universities, philanthropic organizations, and corporations, in terms of understanding their functioning within the context of a democratic society.    

Key questions include: 

  • In what ways have freedoms of speech, expression, and assembly and other individual liberties been curtailed or expanded across US history? How has individual autonomy and freedom to make social, political, and economic choices evolved, and how have these influences impacted public trust and the efficacy of American institutions? 
  • What are the most effective policies and practices for ensuring integrity of and participation in American elections and other forms of democratic self-governance? 
  • How have developments in the media shaped public discourse and the political system? What are the sources of the decline in trust in media sources? How might different types of media organizations rebuild this trust?  
  • How has political polarization shaped corporate and economic governance?  
  • What role do universities have in creating and sustaining a healthy democracy? What are a set of best practices for universities in promoting an informed citizenry that understands the values of democratic institutions?  
Projects within this theme

Improving American Elections


Impact of Bipartisan Endorsements on Trust in Elections and Partisan Animosity (Coming Soon)

Featured Research and Reports
How Election Rules Affect Who Wins
June 29, 2023 By Justin Grimmer , Eitan Hersh

via Eitan Hersh

US Ballot Box Image
Who Governs? Emergency Powers in the Time of COVID
Who Governs? Emergency Powers in the Time of COVID
Local Interests: Politics, Policy, and Interest Groups in US City Governments
May 6, 2022 By Sarah F. Anzia

via The University of Chicago Press

Local Interests: Politics, Policy, and Interest Groups in US City Governments by Sarah F. Anzia
Reinvigorating Economic Governance: Advancing a New Framework for American Prosperity
Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election
July 1, 2022 By Benjamin Ginsberg

via Analysis

bidengettyimages  image
No Evidence For Voter Fraud: A Guide To Statistical Claims About The 2020 Election
February 3, 2021 By Justin Grimmer

via Analysis

Volokh's The First Amendment and Related Statutes: Problems, Cases and Policy Arguments, 7th
July 13, 2020 By Eugene Volokh

via Books by Hoover Fellows

The First Amendment and Related Statutes
Featured Commentary
overlay image