PROTECTING FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS: AN ANALYSIS OF SYSTEMIC BARRIERS PREVENTING PARTICIPATION IN AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
AuthorKaplan, Rachel Leah
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractFollowing the 2020 Presidential election, impassioned supporters of former President Trump repeatedly claimed that nonexistent fraud cost him the election. In response, Republican legislators across the country introduced bills purported to curb voter fraud. In contrary to that supposed goal, the legislation often exacerbates existing barriers preventing sensitive groups, including racial minorities, from exercising their right to vote. This thesis examines the underlying ideas and principles that should determine how American elections should be conceived through asserting that elections must be equally accessible and properly representative of popular opinion. These ideas are then analyzed through the lens of several issues currently interfering with the fairness of elections, including the Electoral College, barriers to ballot access, and limited choice in candidates due to gerrymandering. Finally, several solutions to those problems are introduced, including universal early voting, automatic voter registration, and alternatives to the Electoral College. While partisan bickering has clouded discussions about how best to address election reform, it is clear that disproportionate barriers to access perpetuated through anti-fraud efforts are the greatest threat to the legitimacy of American elections.
Degree ProgramPolitical Science