Press release

New report on the state of our democracy

Thu, 04/16/2020 - 10:30am

Democracy Maine just released a new report that assesses the health of the state’s democracy. The report uses indicators based on publicly-available data, published reports, and research.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Maine’s government, with the early conclusion of the second session of the 129th legislature. The state faces challenges of conducting elections while practicing social distancing. Even in the midst of a crisis, our democracy remains vital. The report offers a timely, objective, and informative portrait of Maine’s government.

Maine has a solid democracy, with high voter participation, strong voting rights, and healthy freedom of information laws. Nonetheless, Maine falls short on key measures. This includes aspects of representative government, the influence of money in politics, and the conduct of elections.

Mainers’ experience of democracy also varies widely based on location, age, race, gender and income. The most marginalized communities often face obstacles to full participation. The Maine: State of our Democracy report offers a perspective in several areas: representative government, voter and civic participation, money in politics, voting rights and barriers to voting, election methods, conduct of elections, freedom of information, newspapers and media access, and the impact of poverty on voting.

In each chapter, key indicators study whether certain trends in Maine are positive or negative. Where possible, the report compares Maine with other states to provide a larger context. Each topic includes an overview of why the subject matters to democracy, analysis, visuals, summary, methodology, future research, and reference and resource materials.

Research was conducted by Democracy Maine, a collaboration between the League of Women Voters of Maine and Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. Democracy Maine will publish updated reports in odd-numbered years beginning in 2021.