This introductory chapter begins with a brief discussion of the pervasive problems in the American electoral process. It then describes the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP). Established in 2012, the EIP is an independent project with a research team based at Harvard and Sydney universities that provides independent evidence from a rolling expert survey to document these problems and monitor how elections vary worldwide. According to expert estimates developed by EIP, the 2012 and 2014 elections in the United States were the worst among all Western democracies. Without reform, these problems risk damaging the legitimacy of American elections—further weakening public confidence in the major political parties, Congress, and the US government, depressing voter turnout, and exacerbating the risks of contentious outcomes fought through court appeals and public protests. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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