Introducing the ElexDex

A question: How well is your state prepared and able to hold a free and fair election?

And how do you know? What do you think is important?

Are you focused on polling places? Or on registration? On digital security? On the impact of gerrymandering? There are dozens of factors, and we all have familiarities and favorites.

We know in granular detail how well the stock market did today. We have data on schools, nonprofits, businesses, places of worship. Even – or especially – our favorite sports teams.

This is normal: We analyze and measure what we care about, to set priorities, make decisions, organize our work. We standardize data, give it language, evaluate it.

So, back to our initial question: How well is your state prepared and able to conduct a fair election?

Our reality, sadly, is we don't have a shared view of our electoral health as citizens, even among people dedicated to the issue.

Dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals are working on this. How is all that is going? What is the cumulative impact? We don't have a number to chart our progress day to day, election to election.

That's what the ElexDex aims to provide: A measurement of each state's preparation and ability to hold free and fair elections, rolled up into one national pulse check. It's a "Dow Jones Industrial Average" for our electoral landscape. Except instead of tracking stocks, we're measuring social and political health.

Our first draft of The Fair Elections Index, or ElexDex, is rough. We're organizing major areas of activity, but we don't have state level scores yet.

We're building that now. The numbers will be determined through objective measures, and where appropriate, subjective observations. An advisory board of experts will ensure accuracy, validity, and relevance.

The numbers will rise and fall with progress and problems in each state.

Let's use Michigan as an example. Right now we rank Michigan's readiness as 42, below average for the rest of the nation. How will that shift as the state performs in November? Where are the biggest leverage points?

Are you from Michigan? Do you disagree? Good. ElexDex is working when it evokes constructive conversations among people of shared values and similar goals.

Want to help us? Contact ElexDex chief coordinator Matt Kayhoe at

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