Two different organizations released reports in July rating New Hampshire's democracy.
First, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a national issue advocacy organization that describes itself as "progressive," graded New Hampshire as follows:
• D+ for "Accessibility" (for example, the availability of online and early voting)
• B+ for "Representation" (for example, the representation of women and minorities in elected positions)
• D+ for "Influence" (for example, campaign donation limits and campaign finance disclosure laws)
New Hampshire ranked 14th overall compared to the other forty-nine states, indicating a relatively healthy democracy in the Granite State.
However, the report may be criticized for giving states good grades for certain policies favored by the Democratic Party. For example, the report penalized states with strict voter ID laws and rewarded states that allow early voting.
Open Democracy, a New Hampshire organization that aims to "stop the corrupting influence of special interest money in politics," graded the state on 21 measures of democracy. Here are some of Open Democracy's grades for New Hampshire:
• B for "Voter Registration"
• C for "Gender Representation"
• F for "Minority Representation"
• D for "Out of State PAC Spending"
• F for "Donor Share of Population"
Open Democracy did not compare New Hampshire to any other state, and said, "The purpose of the report is not to compare New Hampshire to other states, many of which earn similarly low or even lower grades, but to establish straightforward and objective measures of democratic health tailored to the Granite State."
Open Democracy's report may face criticism for grading NH on a scale that has no relation to the norms across the U.S. For example, the report gave NH a "D" for Presidential Primary turnout, but turnout for NH's 2012 Presidential Primary was roughly double the national average. New Hampshire's poor grade on voter turnout may therefore be viewed as subjective.
Interestingly, the Center for American Progress Action Fund and Open Democracy used almost none of the same measures. For example, the Center for American Progress Action Fund did not include voter turnout or overall voter registration. Open Democracy, in turn, did not consider voter ID laws or campaign contribution limits.
How would you grade the health of New Hampshire's democracy? CLICK HERE to answer the question on our Facebook page.
CLICK HERE to see the full Center for American Progress Action Fund report.
CLICK HERE to see the full Open Democracy report.