A political science professor at UNC-Chapel Hill claimed that North Carolina is “no longer considered to be a fully functioning democracy” in a recent op-ed published by The News & Observer.
Dr. Andrew Reynolds, a London-born career academic who previously taught at the University of Notre Dame, came to this conclusion by citing work done by the Electoral Integrity Project, an Australia-funded group of scholars based at the University of Sydney.
Research published by the EIP hinges on a metric devised in part by Reynolds called the Perceptions of Electoral Integrity Index. This metric ranks territories on a scale of 0 to 100 based on answers to 49 election-oriented questions that are distributed to region-specific political and social scientists whom the EIP regard as “experts.”
The EIP assigned a score of 62 to the US and 58 to North Carolina. Rwanda, a developing country where approximately 800,000 people were killed during the UN-declared genocide of 1994, earned a score of 64. The highest score, 86, was earned by Denmark and Finland.
Reynolds’ claim is based on the notion that congressional boundaries in North Carolina were drawn in such a way as to limit competition. He suggested that the state can improve its standing with the EIP by revising district lines to minimize political polarization, thereby encouraging candidates to appeal to moderate voters.
The EIP was founded in 2012 by Dr. Pippa Norris, whose publications include Politics and Sexual Equality and Radical Right: Voters and Parties in the Electoral Market. The majority of the group’s funding came from a five-year grant of over $2 million that was awarded to Norris by the Australian Research Council in 2011.
You can hear the full interview with Reynolds and WCHL’s Blake Hodge below: