How democratic is Delaware? This year Common Cause begins an in-depth study of this question, that will include both a literature review of existing studies and interviews with key leaders across the state. We are interested in four categories:
1. Electoral Participation by Citizens. This category focuses on the degree to which a wide range of citizens are registered to vote, vote in primaries and general elections, participate and contribute to campaigns, and generally are engaged in the electoral process. It also includes any barriers to voting or to voter registration.
2. Elections and Representation. This category includes the degree to which elections are fair, competitive, open to those who want to participate, and free from domination by moneyed interests or political elites. It also includes the degree to which our elected representatives compare demographically to the people they represent.
3. Citizen Efficacy and Transparency. This category includes the ability of citizens to access information about state government (transparency), opportunities for citizens to be heard at hearings, the ability of citizens to impact legislation, and the power of the average citizen versus interest groups and lobbyists.
4. Civic Health. This category encompasses the community, civic, and political participation of citizens outside of electoral politics – more specifically, service and volunteering, membership in groups within civil society (the realm between state and market), organized opportunities for citizens to discuss issues with each other, political activism beyond voting or campaigning, and trust in government and the political process.