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August 4, 2013

Research, Research, Research!


No A/C + heat wave = research by the pool

No A/C + heat wave = research by the pool

Whether we’re in a coffee shop, in our apartment or by the pool, Keela and I have been scouring every nook and cranny of the Internet for its information on election design this summer. Through our contacts and mentors, we’ve gathered a never-ending pile of documents, reports and papers to pour over. While the physical evidence of strong design in elections in this country may be limited, we have certainly been kept more than busy with all of the literature surrounding it.

The organization, legislature and history of elections is so full of intricacies; it is difficult not to get sucked down every rabbit hole we stumble upon. Each article we read points to other papers, each paper points to more studies, and on and on. We have to tread a fine line, as we want to become EXPERTS on everything related to our topic, but we also know our time is limited.

While the sheer amount of material to sift through seems daunting at times, it is comforting to know that we are not the only ones that realize our election systems need improvement. It also seems, however, that there have been countless analyses, surveys, and audits performed without anything to show for the work. Virtually all of the reports Keela and I have read have only recommendations to show for all of the work. Sometimes I feel my engine revving impatiently and want to start designing in response right away. I have to remember, however, that our research, as stagnant and overwhelming as it can seem at times, is crucial to the process and long-term goal. We have to be patient, and have faith in the fact that we will eventually have the opportunity to enact tangible change in Rhode Island, and that this change can possibly serve as a model for other states and their towns and counties. As we think ahead to the designs our research will eventually inform, I know they will only be as successful as the research it stands on. So, for now, we’ll keep on reading 🙂

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